There could be a summer of discontent ahead for some UK festivals, as heavyweight promoter Vince Power concedes that tickets to his Hop Farm festival are “slower than last year” despite offering an exclusive UK headline appearance by Bob Dylan.
Speaking with the London Evening Standard this week, Power suggested that the economic climate was the cause. The Hop Farm was started up by Power in 2008 with a ‘back to basics’ policy of no sponsorship, branding or booking fees The line-up for this year also features Suede, Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra alongside Patti Smith and her band.
Power’s company ‘Music Festivals’ issued a statement saying: “The festivals market in general has been affected by the continued depressed economic climate and the availability of strong revenue-generating acts”.
Various reports are also suggesting sluggish sales for Benicassim in Spain this year, also promoted by Power’s company. The festival has typically attracted crowds from across Europe with its eclectic line-ups, warm location (it isn’t Leeds!) and relatively reasonably priced tickets.
In a descent not quite as rapid as Facebook’s plunging prices this week, Power floated his latest company on the Alternative Investment Market last year but shares are now 42.5p having opened at 65p last summer.
Generate debate: Way back in 2010, The Gen asked if the festival boom could keep it up- Has the bubble finally burst? If so, what is the cause? An over saturated market? The amount of smaller so-called ‘boutique’ festivals around now has rendered the word almost meaningless.
Or has it to do more with the limited amount of viable headline acts that will shift serious amounts of tickets? The smaller festivals that seem to do best have a strong non-musical selling points, with film programmes, theatre, comedy and quality food on offer- is this the key to sustainability for up and coming festival promoters? Or, do audiences simply feel like they have seen it all before, as Michael Eavis suggested last year?