European Festival Report 2017

After questioning 19,000 festivalgoers in Oct. 2016, the team behind the UK Festival Awards published its European Festival Report.  

Some Highlights. Just under 55 percent of respondents were male. The majority of them (60.1 percent) were between 18 and 30 years old; 38.3 percent of festivalgoers identified as single, while 26 percent said they were in a long-term relationship.

Of those interviewed, 86.5 percent were childless. 17.5 percent said they went to a festival with three others, 15.2 percent took along four people.

Nearly half of respondents, 44.7 percent to be precise, said they earned less than €10,000 per year. Almost half (49.6 per cent) said the economic climate did not impact their festival plans.

Asked how far in advance they booked their tickets, 18.2 percent replied nine months, 26.5 percent said six months and 21.5 percent made the purchase three months in advance. Only 5 percent waited until one week before the event. 44.5 percent said their ticket buying experience was “good,” 23.2 percent said it was “excellent,” only 1 percent had a “poor” experience and 0.2 per cent ticked “awful.”

Another question was about the worst parts of the festival experience. The top five responses were wet and muddy conditions, queues and overcrowding, no showers or clean toilets, the price of food and drink and ticket prices . Just like in the UK Festival Report, the home comfort people missed the most was clean, flushable toilets. For 28 percent, the start of the onsale was enough to buy their ticket, while 22.1 percent waited for friends to make a purchase first.

Some 49.8 percent said they took advantage of an early-bird ticket offer. Just under one third (29.2 percent) bought their ticket at Europe’s market leader Eventim, followed by Ticketmaster (24 percent) and Ticketline (10.7 percent).

Others named Ticketweb (4.4 percent), which is owned by Ticketmaster, Eventbrite (3.2 percent), See Tickets and (both 2.4 percent). Two percent went to Viagogo and 1.9 percent used eBay. Just under 20 percent got their tickets at the gate, with 89 percent going for the general ticket and 4.3 percent choosing a VIP offer.

About 29 percent said if less high-profile headline artists appeared on the bill it would put the off buying tickets next time; 18.7 percent said a 5 percent increase in ticket prices would stop them from buying a ticket again. Just over 50 percent went to a festival for the music, while 23.3 percent wanted to escape from normal life.

Cashless was the most common form of payment for drinks at the bar (40.7 percent), followed by hard cash (28.4 percent), cards (13.7 percent) and tokens (12.7 percent). Overall, however, most festivalgoers still used cash at festivals, though no specific number was given. One-fourth said they preferred the big events with more than 30,000 people, followed by 10.6 percent who preferred a size between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors.

Roughly 9 percent preferred capacities between 15,000 and 20,000 (8.9 percent), 10,000 to 15,000 (9.4 percent) and 5,000 to 10,000 (9.1 percent).

As for frequency attending, 30.5 percent said they went to two festival in 2016, 25.9 percent went to one, 19.8 percent visited three and 1.2 percent attended six festivals.

Premium lager unsurprisingly turned out to be the most popular alcoholic beverage, followed by cocktails and vodka. About 46 percent thought drink prices were “a little steep” (47.4 percent thought €3 was a fair price for a pint) and 40.8 percent said the same about the food prices.

18.2 percent admitted taking illicit drugs.

Respondents said they’d most likely notice a festival ad on Facebook (16.83 percent on desktop, 14.85 percent on mobile), followed by traditional posters (14.53 percent).

When replying to where they got their music, 45.4 percent replied they downloaded it for free, 35.7 percent bought physical formats in shops, 35 percent used Spotify and 24.5 percent iTunes.

86.3 percent said their most-used online service was YouTube, and it would be interesting to know how many free downloads were actual YouTube rips. 91.6 per cent of respondents have a smartphone, which they take to the festival. Most (70 percent) use it to text people at the event or call them (62.6 percent). 52.4 per cent thought more festivals should be offering a recharge service for phones.

Excluding tickets, 27.1 percent spent €50 to €100 at each festival, 21.8 percent spent €10 to €50, 18.8 percent spent €100 to €150 and 14.6 percent disburdened themselves of €150 to €200. 31.9 percent bought festival merch, while 21.1 percent went for an artist-branded shirt or other merchandise.

40.6 percent of festivalgoers brought their own tent, of which 79 percent took it back home with them. 2.5 percent purchase a glamping or VIP camping option, with 69.7 percent considering doing it again.

The entire report can be downloaded here.