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Digital destiny, delivered!

Ticketmaster VP of music & festivals Sarah Slater contends that a record 2022 is just a taster of what to expect in 2023

11 Nov 2022

2022 was always going to be something special. And boy, was it. Special and busy. Record-breaking busy. 2019 was an unparalleled year for summer events, then 2022 came along and blew that out of the water with 67% more events taking place. Massive thanks go to all our clients for partnering with us through such an incredible year.

While 2022 presented its challenges, we still scanned more than 1.5m people into events this summer. I am super proud of the whole team at Ticketmaster; getting fans into these events is just the grand finale of a huge undertaking. First up – our marketing team finally got to stretch their muscles and put our 23m-strong fan database to work. From growing audiences for new clients such as Trentham Live to reaching as many fans as possible for the more established festivals – particularly those like Creamfields South, which added new venues.

The team not only used their skills to reach the right fan with the right event but also got creative with campaigns like highlighting the payment options to give ticket buyers more options.

Our heroic Fan Experience team was our backbone throughout the entire summer, dealing with over 200,000 fan enquiries. The recent enhancements to our digital customer service solutions meant that more than 50% of these were successfully dealt with using automated responses, ensuring a speedy resolution for fans.

“This record-breaking summer is a testament to the fact that live music and festivals remain essential to everyone”

Then it was our onsite teams who made it all happen, working over 25,000 hours in box offices across hundreds of events up and down the UK. This year, we invited local students studying event courses to work with us for the summer, giving them great relevant experience. We met some amazing people and, as a bonus, discovered new talent with two of them joining the team full-time.

Looking back on this summer, we can’t ignore the endless benefits going digital has had. We’ve seen a 120% increase in the use of digital tickets across the business since 2019, and the majority of tickets this summer were fulfilled through our digital ticketing solutions. My personal highlight was the Ed Sheeran tour – the first call with the promoters took place back in March 2021, so it was more than 12 months in the making. The goal of the artist’s camp was to lock down the tickets so they stayed with real fans, and our digital ticketing technology did exactly that. Job done.

Being back in the field was a great relief for me. I’m first and foremost a people person. Sitting behind a desk and looking at a screen all day lost its appeal three days into lockdown. And it was not just me who missed being out and about in this amazing business. My son, Henry, has been going to festivals since he was six weeks old, and this year, I took him to everything possible. From BBC Big Weekend to Standon Calling, then to his first stadium show with Ed, and two Camp Bestivals, making it an action-packed summer. Finally, to the new Camp Bestival site in Shropshire, which, I have to say, was way more civilised than our pre-kid Bestival days!

This record-breaking summer is a testament to the fact that live music and festivals remain essential to everyone. It’s a time to reconnect with friends and family, try things you haven’t done before, explore and find new music, have time away from the 9-5 and the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. It’s all about the experience, which is why VIP sales are through the roof, with new concepts continuing to come through. The Ned Club at The Cambridge Club was another level, the Chef’s tables at Connect Festival booked up like the very best restaurants in town, and events like Wilderness continue to knock it out of the park year after year.

Strap yourselves in… 2023 is going to be another record-breaker. I’ll see you there.


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