The Association of Independent Festivals, which represents 50 of the UK’s independent music festivals, has released new figures showing that its members’ events have contributed an estimated £1 billion to the UK economy over a four-year period.
Extensive audience research conducted by AIF has also revealed that over 635,000 music fans attended AIF member events in 2014, which ranged from 1,500 capacity Barn On The Farm to 75,000 capacity Isle of Wight Festival, and that last year £296 million was generated by independent festival goers.
The estimated £1bn figure from 2010-2014 was calculated by taking the average audience spend for a particular year and multiplying it by the collective capacity for AIF members in that year. Over £80m of this came from audience spend along the supply chain including local businesses.
In 2014, an average audience spend of £466.01 per person multiplied by a collective capacity of 635,000 for AIF member events equalled £296m. That average £466.01 spend per person includes both spending on the festival itself and in the local area.
AIF has launched a new initiative titled Festival Fever, with the aim of highlighting the cultural and economic impact of independent festivals.
AIF members participating in the campaign will wear a digital badge across social media stating ‘Proudly independent’. Another key component is the launch of AIF TV, a dedicated YouTube channel, which will host a competition for the best festival fan footage shot at an AIF member festival in 2014.
“Our extensive research clearly shows that the independent music festival sector is thriving and enjoying an extended period of fantastic growth,” said AIF general manager Paul Reed (pictured). “Over the last four years our members’ events have contributed an estimated £1bn to the UK economy, primarily through audience spend, which has benefited the entire country, particularly local businesses in the areas where these festivals take place. To celebrate that success we have launched Festival Fever to highlight the importance of independent music festivals and to illustrate the huge diversity of wonderful events and experiences our members stage throughout the year.“
AIF co-founder Rob da Bank added: “Who’d have thought our little organisation, which started off with five festivals meeting in a broom cupboard, would grow to be a economic powerhouse generating over a billion quid in four years for the economy?”
UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “These results published by the AIF continue to show the tremendous success of the flourishing festival and live music market in the UK, and offer up a healthy picture of the scale of impact and growth that music continues to have in the UK; economically, socially and culturally.
“Their success is a tribute to the independent entrepreneurial spirit that has helped make the UK a world leader in offering music fans truly unique and unmatchable live experiences, and in bolstering tourism income for the country as a whole.
“UK Music will publish our second Wish You Were Here report in June, highlighting the full economic impact that music tourism brings to the UK. We will continue to lobby the next government for support to help stimulate the UK music market at home and abroad.”