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Female fans drive strong 2018 for Yourope festivals

Yourope's 2018 member survey found a majority of its events were satisfied with the 2018 festival season, with young women the largest audience demographic

By Jon Chapple on 22 Mar 2019

Fans at OpenAir St Gallen 2019

Fans at OpenAir St Gallen 2019

image © OpenAir St Gallen/Incognito Productions AG

European music festival association Yourope has published the results of its 2018 members’ survey, outlining trends in booking, accommodation, audience spread and ticket sales among its nearly 100 member events.

The survey, compiled between September and December 2018, reveals, among other things, that:

  • The audience for European festivals is young, with the majority of festivalgoers in 2018 between 15–24 (25%) and 25–29 (48%) years old
  • An average of 97 artists performed at Yourope events, with a median value of 70 performers
  • More EU artists (54%) performed at Yourope festivals than non-EU (46%)
  • 27% of events spent more than €100,000 on marketing, with a further 25% spending in excess of €250,000
  • A majority (53%) of surveyed festivals received public funding
  • Ticket sales are increasing, rising to an average of 4.8m – up 22% compared to 2014

This consistent increase in ticket sales (a further 100,000 tickets were sold in 2018 compared to the previous year, when the figure was 4.7m) among Yourope members contrasts with IQ’s European Festival Report 2018, which showed a slight fall in attendances accompanied by rising ticket prices – indicating that Yourope’s members are faring better than the European market as a whole.

Tallying with the results of a recent study by UK ticketing platform Skiddle, the Yourope survey also found that just 25% of festivals had more male visitors than female, with a majority of events attracting more women than men:

Yourope gender split 2018

According to the report, the majority of festival promoters who are members of Yourope considered the 2018 festival season to be ‘good’, with only a minority of festivals below 80% capacity.

However, challenges remain, including increased competition, a lack of headliners, competition and severe weather, with artist fees and security expenses of particular concern, according to an internal opinion poll, as well as the challenging economic situation in much of Europe.

“Festivals have become a very meaningful cultural phenomenon in Europe”

Christof Huber, general secretary of the association, says the survey underlines the importance of music festivals to European cultural life. “In particular reference to the overall development in the number of events, festivals have become a very meaningful cultural phenomenon in Europe,” he says.

“Taking into consideration the fact that the main age group for festival attendees is between 25 and 29 years, it is clear that popular music festivals are supporting cultural exchange between young Europeans by providing essential stages and performance spaces for artists and their audiences.”

Yourope represents nearly 100 music festivals and associated members in 26 European countries, including Wacken Open Air (Germany), Sziget (Hungary), Rock Werchter (Belgium), Rock en Seine (France), Exit (Serbia), OpenAir St Gallen (Switzerland), Bilbao BBK Life (Spain) and Northside (Denmark).

The full report is available from


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