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Indie festivals contribute £1bn to UK economy

AIF reveals its members added £1bn to UK plc in 2014–17 – and at a faster rate than the last billion, which took four years – demonstrating the health of the sector

By IQ on 06 Nov 2018

AIF's Festival Congress 2018 takes place in Cardiff today and tomorrow

AIF's Festival Congress 2018 takes place in Sheffield 6–7 Nov

image © Festival Congress

The UK’s independent festival sector contributed an estimated £1 billion in revenue to the British economy in the three years ending 2017, according to research presented at AIF’s Festival Congress event today.

The research, carried out by the 65-strong Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and also published in its just-released ten-year report, shows that audiences at AIF member festivals spent more than £386 million in 2017, with £34.7m of that spent in the local area of the festival they attended.

AIF says the £1bn figure over three years – based on an audience of 800,000 people across 65 AIF member festivals in 2017, with an average spend of £483.14 per head – shows growth in AIF members’ contribution to the national economy; in 2015, the trade body reported its members has contributed an estimated £1bn to the UK economy over a four-year period, between 2010 and 2014.

Other insights from the ten-year report include:

  • Since 2009, when AIF’s spend tracking began, audience spend per head has increased by around one third: from £364.17 in 2009 to £483.14 in 2017
  • Over that period, the amount spent on festival tickets has increased by just 20.9%, from £154.09 in 2009 to £185.89 in 2017
  • Spending on accommodation has more than doubled from £24.23 per head in 2009 to £54.59 in 2017; spending on food and drink has risen 40.5%; and off-site spending (ie money spent by festivalgoers getting read for the event) has risen from £19.93 per head in 2009 to £32.61 in 2017
  • Across the ten year period, when asked about the single most important factor influencing ticket  purchases, 53% of people said it was the “atmosphere, vibe, character and quality of event”

“That AIF member festivals have contributed another £1 billion to the UK economy – and at a much faster rate than the last billion – shows just how healthy the independent festival market is right now and how quickly it is growing,” comments AIF CEO Paul Reed.

“Not only are these independent festivals providing music fans with fantastic experiences, they are thriving businesses that the country can be proud of, and they are helping support the many other businesses around their sites that festivalgoers make use of every year.

“We’re are very proud to be celebrating AIF’s tenth anniversary this year. Our special ten-year report is full of insightful statistics, trends and information that show how far our community has come and where we need to aim our lights on the road ahead.”

Read the report in full on the AIF website.


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