90% of UK fans feel confident attending a show in 2021
A new survey of 140,000 British festivalgoers has found that nine out of ten would be confident attending at least one live event this year.
The survey, carried out by Festicket, discovered that 79% of respondents would feel comfortable attending an event this summer (defined as June to August), with that number rising to 90% when including events in the final four months of the year.
Additionally, 82% of fans said they are planning to attend two or more festivals or live events this year, reflecting the huge demand for tickets since prime minister Boris Johnson’s reopening ‘roadmap’ was unveiled in February.
More than half of respondents said they would also be happy to book tickets for overseas events, while just 8% reported they would only feel comfortable attending an event if they had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Elsewhere, the biggest demand for changes on site is for extra cleaning and hygiene measures, with 58.5% deeming this essential, followed closely by a desire for to be able to pay and enter the festival contactlessly.
“It’s clear there has been a shift in perspective in the UK over the past month”
Over 52% said contactless ticketing, contactless access control at the door and reduced queues would be key in their decision to attend, while 70% of people said they would be more encouraged to attend a festival/event if it were to implement a Covid-secure cashless system on site for bars, food vendors and other payments.
Zack Sabban, CEO of Festicket, whose Event Genius platform has invested heavily in Covid-compliant cashless and contactless entry systems, says: “It’s clear there has been a shift in perspective in the UK over the past month. Following the prime minister’s announcement in February, stories of 2021 events selling out have become common, but we wanted to dig a little deeper.”
“Coupling customer opinion with ongoing event partner conversations puts us in a strong position to help the industry bounce back successfully,” continues Sabban. “It’s important that the industry works within all government guidance available, but, more specifically, listening to your fans is essential and delivering events in the way they now demand is critical for success.”
Event Genius expands with new ticketing deals
Ibiza superclub Amnesia and German festival promoter Cosmopop have signed primary ticketing deals with UK-based Event Genius.
Amnesia, one of the island’s most established clubbing destinations, will use Event Genius’s egTicketing, egMarketing and egTravel products from its 2021 season onwards, while while Cosmopop – whose events include Love Family Park and Time Warp (both 20,000-cap.) – will utilise the company’s entire end-to-end solution, including egTicketing, egMarketing, egTravel and egAccess.
Festicket and Event Genius CCO Yonas Blay says: “Cosmopop and Amnesia are both huge organisations in Europe’s clubbing community and it’s an honour to be working alongside them both. It’s been a tough year for everyone across the events industry, which makes it all the more encouraging when promoters of this nature put their faith in us to help them in the return to live events.”
“Cosmopop and Amnesia are both huge organisations … and it’s an honour to be working alongside them both”
“Ibiza has always been a melting pot for clubbers across the world. For that reason, we need a ticketing provider who is as equally at home in Ibiza and Spain as they are in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and beyond,” comments Sergi Blaya Cutillas, brand manager for Amnesia. “Having the ability to sell and promote our events to clubbers all across the world in their native language, currency and payment method through Event Genius’s egTicketing, egTravel and egMarketing solutions is a great bonus for us.”
Robin Ebinger, director of Cosmopop adds: “We’ve been working with Festicket for some time as a ticketing allocation and travel partner, so we always trusted their ability to deliver great results. As soon as they partnered with Event Genius and explained their new tailored, end-to-end primary product that we could use across all our events and venues to help streamline our operations, we knew it was the right decision to take our relationship to the next level.”
There’s no better time than now to go on sale for 2021
It’s been a turbulent year, to say the least, for the events industry. Mass cancellations, followed by huge uncertainty and financial turmoil, has caused a huge strain on what is one of the world’s most exciting sectors.
Despite all this, we’ve always been confident the industry will bounce back strongly. There’s a reason why the global events industry was valued at $1,100 billion in 2018, with the expectation of reaching $2,330bn by 2026, but its influence goes way beyond a monetary value and into the very fabric of who we are as people.
Back in the summer of 2020, we ran a survey of over 100,000 festivalgoers to find out what they were thinking about the future of live events. We were surprised even ourselves to find out that a huge 83% would feel confident booking an event for 2021, indicative of the pent-up demand that has soared following a year starved of live events.
We’ve already seen this heightened demand turn into sales selling over 90,000 tickets thanks to some extremely impactful launches from the likes of Afro Nation, Rolling Loud, EDC Portugal, BST Hyde Park, Mad Cool and El Dorado Festival. What’s maybe even more encouraging is that 60% of those sales have come from international travellers – nearly double the amount of overseas buyers from the same period in 2019, and from a much smaller pool of festivals.
All those above have benefited from little to no competition. In an industry notoriously saturated, their bravery has effectively turned into a competitive edge. It’s never been so easy to get your message across and take advantage of the strong demand before others like it is possible to do now.
It’s never been so easy to get your message across and take advantage of the strong demand before others
As the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines continues to gather pace and we gradually return to normality, we believe more and more events will look to go on sale. That’s obviously great news, but of course makes it harder to cut through the noise compared to launching now.
Whereas a few months ago the question over if live events would be able to take place in 2021 was still very much hovering over us, we feel this mindset has now shifted to how these events will take place.
We’ve been working hard on this to unveil our new Covid-secure offering through Event Genius, which allows promoters to operate a robust track-and-trace system and self-scan ticket entry and go completely cashless.
If there’s one thing that’s always struck me about the events industry it’s its resilience and optimism. It’s been a tough past year, but despite all that’s been thrown at us we’re confident that with innovation and positivity we’ll return with a hugely successful 2021. It’ll be worth the wait!
Click the image below to view the Festicket infographic accompanying this piece:
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Luis Sousa is marketing director for Festicket.
Event Genius unveils Covid-secure product suite
Event Genius has launched a new range of products – egTicketing, egMarketing, egTravel, egAccess and egPay – designed to offer event organisers an end-to-end, Covid-secure ticketing, travel, access control, marketing and payments solution.
The launch comes amid a rebrand that brings the ticketing and event management platform, along with consumer-facing brand Ticket Arena, in line with parent company Festicket, including new logos and a new design for B2B websites, self-service platforms and user interfaces. Festival travel specialist Festicket acquired both brands last summer.
“The pandemic made us stop and really think about what we could offer to the industry. It made us realise that the Event Genius acquisition came at just the right time,” explains Festicket CEO Zack Sabban. “The feedback we’ve had from clients is that organisers have so much more to contend with at present, and that being able to streamline their ticketing, travel, access, marketing and onsite payment processes with one provider gives them the time and freedom to overcome the challenges of organising events during a pandemic.”
A video, which can be watched above, outlines the new Covid-secure product updates for fans and promoters.
“It’s clear that 2020 has been a tough time to be in the events industry, but it’s been amazing to be able to strike up high-profile partnerships alongside the likes of AEG Presents, Rolling Loud, Rock in Rio and Afro Nation, and more recently EDC Portugal, the USA’s Revibe Wellness Retreat Festival and Amnesia Ibiza. Seeing organisers of this nature putting their faith in what we’re doing to help fans and promoters get back to the events they love is both encouraging and extremely rewarding.”
82% of festivalgoers ready to return to live events
A recent survey carried out by music festival marketplace Festicket has shown that the demand for live events post-coronavirus is high, with over 80% of 110,000 festivalgoers surveyed saying they would attend an event within six months of lockdown being lifted.
A third of respondents, which include music fans in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, say they would feel confident to attend a festival “immediately” after lockdown is lifted, with a further 35% saying they would return to events between two to three months after easing. An additional 16% would attend events within six months of lockdown being lifted.
Festivalgoers displayed high hopes for the 2021 season, too, with over three quarters saying they would feel confident booking tickets for next year within the next two months.
The lasting impact of Covid-19 is plain to see, however, as the option for free cancellation of tickets and health and safety measures are now among the most important factor for fans, coming second only to an event’s line-up when choosing which festivals to attend.
Day festivals and weekend festivals proved the most popular choices for fans to return to first, with 83% and 68% saying they would happily attend each. Respondents seemed more reluctant to return to indoor events, with 45% saying they would feel comfortable attending a gig and 43% a club night after lockdown.
“Despite all the current uncertainty, it’s reassuring to see a high percentage of festivalgoers have a positive outlook for the live events industry”
Six out of ten respondents also said they would be up for attending international music events in the next year.
Despite concerns about the economic impact of coronavirus, fans surveyed by Festicket still appear willing to spend big on their festival trip, with 34% saying they’ll spend between €250 to €500 on future trips, while another 24% said they’ll spend more than €500.
Meanwhile, 60% of fans are getting their live event fix via livestreams, with almost the same number (58%) saying they are happy to pay to watch live events this way. Festicket is among companies to launch a livestreaming service, creating Festicket Live, which gives promoters and artists the ability to host both free and ticketed live streams on YouTube or Vimeo.
“Despite all the current uncertainty, it’s reassuring to see a high percentage of festivalgoers have a positive outlook for the live events industry, backed up by over 75% saying they’d feel comfortable booking events for 2021,” comments Festicket marketing director Luis Sousa.
“Unsurprisingly, we are of course entering the beginning of a ‘new normal’ for events where festival-goers – in the short term at least – will expect promoters and venues to adapt their offering to ease anxieties. We’ve already seen this in some venues that have begun opening their doors again, with measures such as reduced capacity and compulsory table service being part of the deal of reopening.”
Find out what leading festival professionals have to say about the future of the sector here.
Ticketing companies gear up for post-Covid-19 future
Ticket agencies and technology companies are preparing for the return of live entertainment by introducing new features and functionalities tailored to the post-Covid-19 world.
UK-headquartered See Tickets, which is also active in the US, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and, most recently, Switzerland, has developed a contactless access-control system that uses a standalone scanning point requiring no physical interaction from fans or staff.
Once the customer scans their ticket, venue staff can view the results from a distance, providing event organisers with “the safest possible way to manage entry”, says See.
Rob Wilmshurst, See Tickets’ global CEO, comments: “Like our clients, See are adapting to the challenges in the market and looking at safe ways to operate going forward. We’re already well equipped to build features like time-slot entry to limit event capacity, and our ‘zero-contact’ access control solution will complement this.”
Smaller venues and promoters will also be able to benefit from the technology via an upgrade to the See Tickets Access Control app that increases the range from which their device can scan tickets (when used with a stand).
“We are adapting to the challenges in the market and looking at safe ways to operate going forward”
Other companies offering contactless solutions include New York-based mobile computing firm Janam, whose GT1 device uses tap-and-go technology from Google and Apple to eliminate direct contact between fan and ticket-taker, and Texas’s SimpleTix, which is capitalising on the boom in drive-in concerts by providing its digital ticketing platform to venues experimenting with drive-in shows.
“With a viable vaccine for Covid-19 likely a minimum of 18 months away, we expect drive-in theatres to be big for at least the next two-to-three years,” says Lauren Javors, SimpleTix’s business development manager. “We look forward to being part of that growth.”
Down under, ticketing technology company Intix has developing a contact-tracing add-on for its platform that aims to help the Australian government with tracking the spread of the disease.
Alex Grant, the company’s CEO, explains: “We developed this add-on in the hopes that by assisting the government with contact tracing we may be able to cautiously help our customers open their doors and get events and gigs back up and running.”
“It’s clear that mass gatherings will not go ahead without some way to track who’s turning up in case they are later diagnosed with Covid-19,” Grant adds, explaining that the stems from the government’s own COVIDSafe App, which is intended to speed up contacting people exposed to coronavirus.
“This ticketing add-on we have developed should assist the government to reach more people”
“From what I understand, not everyone has downloaded the government app; however, this ticketing add-on we have developed should assist the government to reach more people.”
Festicket, meanwhile, is getting in on livestreaming, having announced the launch of Festicket Live, which gives promoters and artists the ability to host both free and ticketed live streams on YouTube or Vimeo.
The new platform allow artists or event organisers to set up their own customisable and unique streaming page, which will include the embedded live stream, webchat, links to social media profiles and the option to include a shop for donations, merchandise and more.
Festicket’s marketing director, Luis Sousa, says: “The past weeks and months have seen a dramatic shift to online streaming, with over 60% of our customers saying they had watched a live stream since the lockdown began.
“We see this trend continuing, and possibly even remaining once physical festivals and events begin to return. We therefore wanted to offer music fans a platform that allows them to engage with the artists and festivals they love, while also providing artists and promoters with a new revenue stream, considering the pressures the industry is currently under.”
Why fan engagement is now more important than ever
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to gather pace, each day represents a step further into the unknown for the global population. Stock markets, industries and nations have been rocked by the all-too-necessary measures taken to contain, delay and ultimately eliminate the outbreak.
The events industry has been particularly hard hit, with globally famous festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella proving they are not immune to postponement or cancellation. Each new revelation that forces promoters to change their plans understandably deals a blow to consumer confidence.
Many social media posts from music festivals, club nights, gigs, sports events and beyond are now littered with posts from concerned customers questioning whether the event will go ahead, asking for refunds or criticising the lack of clarity or communication.
Now, more than ever, fan engagement ought to be topping priority lists for promoters, event organisers and anyone else whose activities are affected by the fluctuations and permutations of coronavirus. Fans need promoters to provide clarity and peace of mind and raising morale through positive messaging is a valuable skill to have.
Here at Festicket, we are on the front lines witnessing cancellations unfold daily. We are seeing a desire for immediate information. Customers want to know whether festivals that are postponed will have the same line-up at the rearranged date, whether they are entitled to a refund if they can’t make the new date, and whether travel and accommodation will be refunded or valid for the rescheduled date.
There is, however, a great deal of support from fans for those promoters and ticket agents communicating openly and honestly, particularly those offering candid advice on whether the event plans to go ahead as normal, will be postponed until later in the year or is cancelled. Customers should be aware of their options for refunds or alternative arrangements.
We are seeing that there is more understanding from the general public than in normal situations
While the scale of cancellations and postponements recently is unprecedented, it’s worth remembering and learning from the summer of 2019, when severe weather forced the hands of several festivals including Boardmasters and Houghton. The Houghton team communicated as best as they could at short notice and later released merchandise and a commemorative book for the festival that never happened. What was clear from Houghton’s social media profiles was that their fans were a community – one that understood and appreciated the team’s heart wrenching decision to pull the event, even at the last minute, because they did so with their fans’ best interests at heart.
We are seeing now that there is more understanding from the general public than in normal situations. People are rallying around their local businesses and this goodwill is likely to extend to promoters if a strong bond has been formed and communication is handled well.
We are witnessing several practical steps from promoters and the industry which we believe will help to maintain or increase fan engagement and foster demand once we return to normality. Annie Mac Presents’ Lost and Found Festival recently fell victim to Malta’s travel restrictions and was forced to postpone the event. The organisers developed a goodwill incentive policy for fans happy to attend the new September date, whereby ticket holders can keep their ticket and receive €40 drinks vouchers on arrival, exchange their ticket for the 2021 edition of Lost and Found with a complimentary €40 drinks credit, or obtain a refund for their ticket money. The festival’s flexible and compassionate approach has been well received amongst fans.
The #SaveTheSummer campaign from Yourope, which we took part in alongside several artists and festival partners, asks people to stay home, stay safe and look out for one another so that we can hopefully enjoy a summer full of festivals. The campaign received a lot of positive feedback because it recognises the importance of staying safe at a time when it would be irresponsible to encourage people to go to large gatherings.
Festicket’s new FlexTicket is an initiative intended to give customers peace of mind when booking festival tickets; they can cancel their order for any reason while also having something on the horizon to look forward to. We have signed up more than 150 promoters to date and this number is growing every day.
This is a time to show our humanity and reach out to connect as best as we can
The festival season is slowly reshaping itself later in the year, towards the end of summer and into autumn. As the situation clears there is likely to be a huge jump in demand for people seeking to blow off some steam. There will also be a very busy schedule of events, with everybody playing catch-up for lost time, so maintaining a strong presence now in interesting ways will stand promoters in good stead amid increased competition.
Artists and labels are leveraging technology to reach their fans in new and innovative ways, including Chris Martin, who started the #TogetherAtHome hashtag by livestreaming a mini-concert via Instagram. This was picked up by John Legend shortly afterwards, and looks set to become a viral phenomenon. Artists as diverse as country singer Keith Urban and Yungblud have also livestreamed concerts from their homes.
Meanwhile, an initiative originating from Portugal – Festival #EuFicoEmCasa – promised to bring fans 40 hours of music from almost 80 artists, all livestreamed direct to fans from the artists’ homes, again via Instagram. The concept has proved immensely successful, with the new Instagram page garnering more than 225,000 followers in a few short days, demonstrating the huge appetite for interesting content.
Bringing fans artist statements, curated playlists, articles and, most importantly, news regularly over the next few weeks is a vital means of maintaining a strong presence and fan following; with so many stuck at home they will likely appreciate a distraction.
Above all else, however, the crisis has demonstrated the power of community. From videos of people in Italy gathering on balconies for mass singalongs to people leaving notes with offers of help for their neighbours, this is a time to show our humanity and reach out to connect as best as we can.
Luis Sousa is marketing director of festival ticketing and travel platform Festicket.
FlexTicket aims to give festivalgoers peace of mind
With the coronavirus outbreak threatening to disrupt the summer festival season, Festicket has launched FlexTicket, a flexible cancellation policy that aims to give music fans “the confidence to book their next festival experience today”.
The initiative, says Festicket, enables its customers to take advantage of reduced prices for advance and earlybird tickets and packages while retaining peace of mind that they are protected against any changes in circumstance.
FlexTicket has the backing of more than 150 promoters and events worldwide, including Tomorrowland, Mad Cool, Bilbao BBK Live, Montreux Jazz Festival and Rock in Rio Lisbon, and runs until 30 April.
“We hope the FlexTicket policy will give festivalgoers the confidence and peace of mind to continue about their lives”
“This is a difficult time for people, communities and businesses all over the world,” says Festicket’s founder and CEO, Zack Sabban. “As uncertainty continues to grow, we wanted to find a way to ease these feelings among our fans and the wider festival-going community.
“We hope the FlexTicket policy will give festivalgoers the confidence and peace of mind to continue about their lives, planning the types of experiences they look forward to this summer.”
VMS Live expands team in new London office
UK-based promoter and venue operator VMS Live has hired three new team members in its London office, which opened late last year.
Former Mean Fiddler general manager James Gall is joining VMS Live as southern manager and acting head of venues, taking responsibility for all VMS Live venue operations and venue management teams.
Gall states his aim is “to improve efficiency of management systems”, “ensure health and safety compliance”, and create “bespoke marketing to help drive shows”.
Also joining the London office is graphic designer Filippos Saltsidis, who brings experience from working for agencies, media companies and as a freelance designer in countries including Greece and Germany. Saltsidis will act as the main graphic designer in the VMS Live marketing department.
The final addition to the team is Yara Magarino, who joins as a marketing executive, having previously worked for festival discovery and travel platform Festicket.
“Establishing a central team in London is a key part for VMS Live in supporting our nationwide network of venues”
Magarino has also worked as an assistant brand and product manager at PlayStation, Pernod Ricard and Grupo Planeta.
“Establishing a central team in London is a key part for VMS Live in supporting our nationwide network of venues,” comments CEO Bert Van Horck.
“These three people combine experience and youthful talent and I’m confident we are well positioned to provide our clients with enhanced promotional, operational and marketing support.”
Founded in 2007 by the late Steve Forster, VMS Live operates and/or books mid-size UK venues including Eventim Olympia Liverpool (1,960-cap.), Asylum in Hull (1,100-cap.) and the William Aston Hall in Wrexham (1,200-cap.), and counts Eventim UK, the local arm of Germany’s CTS Eventim, among its clients.
The company is promoting upcoming tours by 808 State and Grand Magnus, as well as promoting dates by Jools Holland and Milton Jones.
A year in the life: Festicket Q&A
As the 2010s draw to a close the music industry landscape has morphed significantly with advancements in technology and the changing aspirations of the millennial generation.
Physical sales have fallen away to be replaced by streaming services and music is more accessible than ever before. Fans’ tastes have diversified, artists have hit the road more and the advent of music tourism resulted in an appetite for a superior method of discovering and booking experiences.
But where should music fans turn when seeking an experience which is new, meets their taste and enforces their own sense of identity? Founders Zack Sabban and Jonathan Younes created Festicket to do just this, and in 2019 the company took its greatest strides to date.
IQ catches up with CEO, Zack Sabban, to find out more about its defining year…
IQ: Discoverability of events is key to the live events market succeeding. With huge volumes of tickets going unsold each year, what did you do in 2019 to improve users’ ability to discover new events?
Zack Sabban: Our dedication to discoverability is epitomised by the fact that 68% of Festicket customers are attending a festival for the first time. We want our customers to feel empowered and informed. The internet has brought about some amazing things, but it has also created an information overload.
Festicket now boasts the most comprehensive festival discovery platform in the ticketing industry. We have 75k+ artist pages with biographies and tour dates and over 16k festival guides featuring lineups, photos, video footage, FAQs and more. Our approach to high quality content has seen our online magazine grow to become the world’s biggest festival publication with 99m unique visits in 2019.
Last year we also wanted to pay attention to how our customers consume music and use this to help them discover festivals. Everybody saw Spotify’s End of the Decade listening stats all over social media in December, and that really underscores people’s love of sharing and discovering new music through streaming. Fans can now link their Spotify accounts to Festicket, which in turn matches their tastes in artists with festival suggestions around the globe. To date, our Festival Finder has been used more than two million times and that’s something we’re very proud of.
Beyond discovery. What makes Festicket a different proposition to other ticketing platforms?
In short, our global approach to music tourism. More than 40% of our orders are international and we pride ourselves on offering a wealth of choice above and beyond standard ticket options, simplifying the logistics of travel and accommodation for our customers from around the world, whilst in turn giving an average uplift in revenues for organisers of 15%.
We now operate from 7 international offices worldwide, and Festicket is available in more than 25 countries. Fans can browse in 8 different languages, pay in 41 different currencies and with 29 different payment methods. We’re really trying to connect all the dots of the global festival and live event network.
With more than 2,500 music festival partners worldwide, including the likes of Coachella, Mad Cool, Rock In Rio and BST Hyde Park, and 5,000 travel and accommodation partners, we can offer fans a truly holistic and international experience.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to understand how fans book festival experiences”
In the past year are there any specific initiatives you’ve launched to further add to this offering?
We’ve gone to great lengths to understand how fans book festival experiences and the challenges they meet in getting there. Something that came up time and again was the financial burden of group bookings. Friends love to discover, book and attend festivals in groups, but more often than not the responsibility of booking tickets fell on one member of the group who was then required to pay the full value for everyone’s tickets and recoup the cost later. We developed Pay with Friends to meet this problem.
Using this feature, one person can book for the whole group and pay only their share. Once the booking is made, a secure link is sent to each remaining member of the group to pay their balance. Tickets are held for 48 hours to allow everyone the time to make their payment. This feature has also been popular with fans, with 12,000 travellers making their payments this way in the first couple of weeks after release.
Last August Festicket acquired Event Genius and Ticket Arena. How has the deal changed the Festicket offering?
Our new venture – Event Genius by Festicket – revolutionises our offering to both customers and promoters by combining tech and expertise across ticketing, accommodation, travel and packages, a strong in-house team of marketing specialists, data insights and analytics, access control, POS and cashless payment services, fan engagement tools and more to create the most complete end-to-end offering in live events.
We brought everything the two businesses were doing so well separately under one roof to ensure the best possible value add for organisers and this is something we’re really excited about going into 2020.
2019 for instance saw lots of growth for our multi-award winning cashless solution – Event Genius Pay – with over 50 events delivered, more than a million transactions completed and an average uplift in revenues of +25% for organisers. Our team of operational experts are set to be very busy in 2020 with a raft of new clients set to enjoy Event Genius Pay and all its benefits for the first time.
Best of all has been the response we’ve had from the industry to our new offering. We’ve signed over 50 primary ticketing deals since the acquisition in August with the likes of Afro Nation (Portugal), Southport Weekender (UK), Rolling Loud (Europe) and American Tours Festival (France) as well as being nominated for the Golden Ticket at the ILMC Arthur Awards 2020. To have such well esteemed promoters and organisations putting their faith in us and our vision is incredible.
Things show no sign of letting up in 2020 and we can’t wait!