Glastonbury Festival report demonstrates positive economic impact

Featured Image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

UK flagship festival Glastonbury has released a report into its 2023 economic impact on the local area and the wider economic environment. 

Glastonbury Festival was founded in 1970 and takes place at Worthy Farm in Somerset, where it now welcomes over 210,000 attendees to each edition.

Commissioned by festival organisers, and carried out by research specialists and business management consultancy Fourth Street, the report found that Glastonbury had a significant positive economic impact both nationally and the county of Somerset. The event generated roughly £168m ($212m/€196m) in income for UK businesses, including £32m for businesses based in Somerset.

The report also revealed that the cost of staging the 2023 edition of Glastonbury Festival amounted to approximately £62m, distributed to 922 organisations that provide services to the event. This figure also included the materials and infrastructure, the crew that build and manage the stages, and the costs of staff that work for the festival year-round.

Of the £62m figure, some £12m was paid to 258 companies in Somerset.

Attendees and workers’ spending

In 2023, festival-goers spent an estimated £1.6m in the wider Somerset community, with a quarter of this going to businesses providing food and drink. Some 50% was spent in local shops and supermarkets for provisions and supplies for the event.

Outside of the festival site, businesses also enjoyed the influx of potential customers. Around 900 attendees stayed at local hotels and B&Bs during the festival, spending roughly £450,000. Additionally, some even stayed at hotels during their journey to the festival.

Landowners close by also benefited, either as B&Bs or campsites unaffiliated with the festival, or renting their land. An estimated 4,000 festival-goers stayed in privately run, offsite campsites, spending almost £6.5m.

Crew working for Glastonbury spent around £900,000 with local businesses outside of the festival, while those volunteering at the event spent a further £500,000.

The size of the festival means that it relies heavily on professionals across numerous industries, including IT services, plumbing, sign-writing, caravan rentals, securing and catering and many more. Last year, Glastonbury Festival sustained over 1,100 UK jobs in total, 325 of which were based in Somerset.

Of this figure, organisers paid for work itself equivalent to 255 full-time jobs, with around 80 people working for the office in planning and administration. An additional 1,750 people worked directly for Glastonbury in 2023, over shorter periods of time, making up the equivalent of 200 full-time jobs.

Additionally, there were 918 trading stalls, including 56 units that provided food and drink to crew members. The majority of stalls were operated by independent businesses, and were staged by 9,500 people working for roughly 314,000 hours – the equivalent of 170 full-time jobs. There were also more than 10,000 volunteers at the 2023 festival.

The report was based on a survey of 643 festival-goers, which were interviewed in person at the 2023 event. An additional online survey was conducted featuring 354 festival staff and 148 volunteers, as well as 30 telephone interviews with local businesses.

Organisers announced the first swathe of acts as part of this year’s line-up earlier this month, with headliners set to include Dua Lipa, SZA and Coldplay. The festival will take place June 26-30.