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Independent Festivals Put £Millions Into UK Economies September 20, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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The huge value and contribution of UK festivals to the British economy has been quantified in an overreaching survey of 3,300 festival goers undertaken by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

AIF member festivals alone, which include Secret Garden Party, WOMAD and Glade, attracted around 340,000 people this summer. Spending an average £408 per person, they contributed in excess of £135 million into the UK economy.

With 60% of festival goers staying for 3-4 days in the area surrounding the festival, spending on average £48 each, an additional £16.3 million was directly inputted into local economies.

Ranging in size from Glasgowbury at just 1,000 people to Creamfields with over 40,000, AIF’s 19 member festivals generate on average £1million each for local towns and businesses. Bestival making £600,000 for ferry companies alone each year, and the non camping festival Evolution estimated to boost the economy of the twin cities of Newcastle and Gateshead by £2.9 million.

With over 300 festivals having taken place in the UK this summer, the total amount of revenue generated across the whole festival landscape for local businesses is projected to be staggering.

The survey also highlighted the types of people who go to festivals and the diversity of entertainment on offer. Often perceived as just being for music aficionados, over 60% of festival goers said that the main reason they attended festivals is for the atmosphere, with 42% spending less than half of their time at the festival watching music, a percentage that rises to 70% in the case of the Secret Garden Party.

With audience travel being the greatest source of festivals’ greenhouse gas emissions, attention was also paid to the modes of transport used by festival goers. 60% of respondents travelled by car, of which 44% travelling with 3 or more people per vehicle.

Claire O’Neill, AIF general manager and co-founder of A Greener Festival said: “It is clear that independent festivals make a significant contribution not only culturally, but also to the local and UK economy. It is also good to see the positive steps being taken by events to minimise the environmental impact of events. We adhere to keep stepping in the right direction.”

Hugh Phillimore, founder of the Cornbury Festival said “Not only do we fill every B&B, pub and hotel within a 10 mile radius; lots of local shops stay open to benefit from the extra custom. Cornbury not only makes a huge contribution to the local economy but also supports fundraising for local schools, brownies, and scouts.”