The UK’s major flagship festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds have already sold out, but smaller festivals are struggling amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Newcastle’s This Is Tomorrow, Brainchild in Bentley, East Sussex and Summerfest in Wood Park, Blackburn, have all been cancelled after struggling to sell tickets.
Other smaller festivals have also been cancelled – Leighton Live in Lancashire was cancelled due to the increasing costs of holding an event, and Breakout Festival in Fife, Scotland, was cancelled due to low ticket sales.
Senior strategist of festival and events marketing agency Mustard Media Rory Palmer-Rowe said recently: “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 lack of demand has been felt by organisers, with Marina Blake, creative director of Brainchild, telling the Guardian: “We normally sell out but when we went on sale in December we knew something was wrong. It was so much slower than normal and there just wasn’t the demand. We’ve recently made the decision to cancel.”
She added: “Artist fees are higher as people are trying to make up for income lost during the pandemic, production costs have increased and even just getting the labour to put the tents up was an issue.”
Even after a period of time without major live events, an explanation for the struggling ticket sales could be that the market is saturated.
Edinburgh-based promoter Nick Checketts also told the Guardian: “There’s too much choice. A lot of festivals are getting cancelled and organisers are really struggling to sell tickets.”
Weekend tickets for festivals are also pricy, regularly coming in at upwards of £250 for an adult.
With the current cost-of-living crisis in the UK, festival-goers and live music lovers have to be selective with which events to attend.
Ahead of its debut UK event in Cheshire in June and July, Outlook Festival offered a ‘pay-what-you-can’ scheme.
Organisers have given fans the chance to apply for discounted tickets at varying rates, so they can enjoy live music even if they can’t afford a full-price ticket in the current economic climate.