Economic Impact of UK Live Music Festivals

Music is Great - Great Britain Music FestivalsI was honoured to act as an expert industry adviser to the FdA in Festival Management today.  This Foundation of Arts Degree will launch in September at Hugh Baird University Centre in Liverpool, accredited by UCLan (subject to approval).

Liverpool is the perfect host for this new course as a city that truly recognises and values the importance of festivals and events.

Festivals make a huge contribution to the UK economy, here are some key facts specifically about tourism and the economic impact of live music festivals:

  • £2.2 billion was the total direct and indirect spend generated by music tourism in 2012
  • There were 6.5 million music tourists to the UK in 2012
  • In 2012 41% of live music audiences were domestic or foreign music tourists (despite the absence of Glastonbury Festival which attracts 170k people alone).  The report classified domestic tourists as resident in the UK but travelling a significant distance for the event (more than 3 times the average commuting distance of that region).  Foreign music tourists were those that travelled to the UK from overseas.  This definition probably means that the actual contribution to the economy is actually under-estimated, especially coupled with the fact that Glastonbury was on a scheduled break, it was the second wettest summer on record, the recession still had a hold and the Olympics took place, perhaps competing for peoples disposable income.  Only ticketed events of over 1500 people with music as the primary draw were included in the data
  • Festivals accounted for 17% of all live music attendances, concerts and gigs accounted for 83%
  • Three quarters of music tourists attended concerts whilst the remainder attended festivals
  • Over 24k full time jobs sustained by music tourism
  • £657 is the average spent by overseas music tourists whilst in the UK
  • VisitBritain would like to grow the number of music tourists to attract a total of 40 million overseas visitors by 2020
  • 44% of incoming tourists to the UK believe music was one of Britains key cultural activities
  • The capital accounted for 28% of all music tourism visits to the UK with 1.8 m coming to visit London
  • The North West dominated music tourism outside of the capital, accounting for 17% of all music tourist visits in the UK in 2012 and with 45k from overseas
  • Glastonbury contributes over £100m to the economy annually
  • The Notting Hill Carnival wasn’t included in the above data as music isn’t the only focus of the Festival, however it is Europe’s biggest and the Worlds second largest celebration of Caribbean culture attracting over 1 million visitors, with an estimated economic impact of over £90m

The study by UK Music and Visit Britain revealed that tourists at live music events not only add billions to the UK economy but also benefit the regions and local economies.

The report were the above stats are taken from is interesting reading.  Follow this link to download the full report “Wish You Were Here: Music Tourism’s Contribution to the UK Economy” (published October 2013).