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Social issues top festivalgoers’ concerns

Results from TM’s festival-focused State of Play report show that 48% of Britons have attended a festival in their lifetime

By Anna Grace on 24 Jun 2019

Social issues top festivalgoers concerns

Leeds Festival 2018

image © Matt Eachus

Sustainability and gender diversity are among the main concerns for UK festivalgoers, new data released by Ticketmaster has revealed.

The findings come from the ticketing giant’s annual State of Play report, which this year focuses on festivals. Previous reports have concentrated on grime, theatre, comedy and dance music.

Of the 4,000 festivalgoers that participated in the survey, 62% state that waste reduction at events, along with better recycling facilities, is their number one concern this festival season.

Despite growing awareness of environmental issues, the Ticketmaster survey shows that more than a third of fans (38%) admit to leaving their tents behind at a festival, with 36% saying they do so assuming tents will be recycled.

A recent campaign by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) revealed that abandoned tents result in almost 900 tonnes of plastic waste every festival season.

Victoria Chapman, head of sustainability at Festival Republic, says it is “a huge positive” that sustainability is festivalgoers’ number one concern.

“It is imperative that festival organisers look at how they can minimise the environmental impact of their events and work together with fans to enjoy an amazing festival experience whilst respecting the planet,” comments Chapman.

Several initiatives have been set up to make festivals more eco-friendly, including Live Nation’s Green Nation coalition and Glastonbury Festival’s single use plastic bottle ban.

“British summer wouldn’t be what it is without festivals and these findings give us an insight into what festival fans really want”

Gender representation in festival line-ups is another concern for festivalgoers, with 41% of those surveyed saying that want more diversity in line-ups and almost a third (29%) saying they take the gender parity of a line-up into account before buying a ticket.

Primavera Sound this year presented its first-ever gender-equal billing, but elsewhere festival bookers remain divided on the merits of curating balanced bills.

According to Ticketmaster, more traditional festival gripes are down, with 37% of respondents stating that festival toilet facilities need improving, compared to 66% in 2012.

The survey also highlighted the importance of festivals for emerging artists, showing that three in five festivalgoers find new artists by attending festivals. On the headliner side, fans of BTS stated they would pay up to four figures to see the K-Pop band head up a festival.

The numbers are also in on festival romance. Two fifths of people (37%) have hooked up at a festival, with a fifth doing so with someone they met at the event. Those who shower at a festival are more likely to find love (45%), than those who opt not to (36%).

Almost one in ten festivalgoers (7%) have carried on a relationship with a fellow attendee after the event. Location-based dating app Tinder is tapping into the romantic potential of festivals, rolling out its specialised Festival Mode at events across the UK, United States and Australia.

“British summer wouldn’t be what it is without festivals and these findings give us an insight into what festival fans really want,” says Ticketmaster UK managing director Andrew Parsons.

“While it’s mostly all about the music and having a great time, I’m not surprised and encouraged to see fans wanting more action on sustainability issues and line-up equality.

“Festivals have always been a microcosm of wider society and with the continued rise of social consciousness we expect fans will only become more demanding of festivals to get it right,” adds Parsons.

The full report is available to read online here.


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