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The struggle of selling tickets in 2022

Following the news of festival cancellations in the UK – most recently Leighton Live and Fife’s Breakout Festival – festival and events marketing agency Mustard Media senior strategist Rory Palmer-Rowe has said that the events industry needs to concentrate on its branding, so that people are more likely to buy into why event organisers do what they do, rather than solely what they do.

Leighton Live in Lancashire was cancelled due to the spirally costs of hosting a mass event, while Breakout Festival in Fife, Scotland, was cancelled due to low ticket sales.

But why aren’t tickets selling?

Palmer-Rowe said: “After two years of empty dance floors we predicted that people would be tripping over themselves to buy tickets to events across the globe. Those promoters that were lucky enough to weather the storm, were buoyed on by thoughts of a less crowded market. How wrong we all were.”

The International Music Summit’s latest business report says that festival tickets are currently selling at 176% of 2019 levels. However, using the UK as an example, with the cost-of-living crisis, there has been difficulty in holding events –  as shown by the cancellations of Leighton Live and Breakout Festival.

Image: Rory Palmer-Rowe, senior strategist, Mustard Media 

Outlook Festival, which is set to make its UK debut, also recently announced that it would be offering discounted tickets for those that could not afford the full price of a ticket, due to the current economic climate.

Palmer-Rowe said: “The Adeles and Ed Sheerans of this world have continued to sell out but for events on the rungs below, it’s been a hard slog. Throw into the mix the recent cost-of-living hikes and it’s a little grim out there.

“Events that were seemingly ‘sold out’ thanks to payment plans have now found themselves with a mountain left to climb, as people happily default on these plans. Forced to choose between keeping the lights on at home versus three days dancing in a field.”

To perhaps provide an uplift to ticketing sales, Palmer-Rowe said that past strategies no longer make sense from a “sociological standpoint” and that branding is “the only game left in town”.

“Brands create a sense of ‘self’,” said Palmer-Rowe. “By choosing to buy into a particular brand, people reaffirm both their own and their tribe’s perception about their desired identity. In short, the brands we choose send a message about who we are, and often more importantly, who we are not.”

Image: Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash