Worthy break? UK festival bosses on how Glastonbury's absence could impact the 2018 circuit

Worthy break? UK festival bosses on how Glastonbury's absence could impact the 2018 circuit

UK festival bosses have weighed in on how Glastonbury's absence from the 2018 calendar will impact on the wider market.

Glastonbury is taking its first fallow year since 2012 to give the Worthy Farm site a break, but promoters are divided on whether that represents an opportunity or a threat for the rest of the sector. 

Glastonbury booker Martin Elbourne, who also organises The Great Escape new music festival and conference, predicted its year off could even have negative knock-on effects for other events. 

"I don't think you suddenly get a rise in other festivals' ticket sales," he told Music Week's latest edition. "If anything, I think it might weaken the market because it doesn't really affect it in terms of headliners. One of the problems at the moment is people saying there aren't enough headliners, but most of the bands who headline Glastonbury are actually doing something else because we don't suffer from exclusivity clauses.

"Generally speaking, other festivals get a sales push after Glastonbury. So I really don't think it makes much difference. If anything, it's slightly negative for the other festivals."

Live Nation's Andy Copping, of Download Festival, agreed. "I don’t see a huge difference to our festivals with Glastonbury taking a year off," he said. "When they have taken a break before, everything remained pretty normal - business as usual."

Isle Of Wight Festival producer John Giddings added: "I think there’s an audience that only goes to Glastonbury and if Glastonbury doesn’t happen, I don’t think they’re going somewhere else."

Standon Calling's Alex Trenchard accentuated the positives. "People who go to Glastonbury will be looking for other festivals to attend and that gives the rest of the market a bit more of a shop window," he noted. "That’s exciting for us, but that doesn’t mean it’s a less competitive market because Glastonbury isn’t the only big player out there."

Slam Dunk Festival promoter Ben Ray predicted new festivals might pop up. "Some festivals will do better, certainly, but if people think festivals are selling out again, they will try and add more and then they will take a step back because there are too many festivals," he said.

Elbourne also contested off-repeated claims that Glastonbury sells out regardless of its line-up. "We could spend hardly anything on acts one year and not have a great line-up, but would people then come back the next year?," he argued.

"There's also an obligation to the BBC to provide a good line-up, which is an important part of our event. We are able to pay significantly lower fees than other festivals of our size - partly because of the history of the event, but also the media coverage, so we would never put on a bad line-up."

Subscribers can read Music Week's full 2017 Festival Roundtable here. Read Music Week's report on the star acts of festival season 2018 here.




For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to receive our daily Morning Briefing newsletter

subscribe link free-trial link

follow us...