The return of UK Music Festivals: the positive economic impact on local economies

The UK is looking forward to welcoming back music festivals this summer after much disruption during the pandemic

Peter Campbell of Snowshock, a UK fizzy slush machines business, explores the economic contribution of four typical UK music festivals

MUSIC festivals help mark the beginning of spring and summer. They allow us to retreat from society, entering a world teeming with melodies and (hopefully) sunshine. In other words, whether you’re searching for a family retreat or a weekend away with friends, music festivals are escapism at its finest. 

These events are also highly beneficial for the economy. In 2019, music festivals in the UK amassed a staggering £1.76 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy. Unfortunately, many festivals throughout the nation were cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2020. Now, as we enter the warmer months of 2022, we hope to see a continuation of the contributions in 2021.

Money made within festivals can have a positive impact on local economies, whether this is from through sales of food and drinks from local vendors, donations made in wellness tents and employment of people from the local community.

Highest Point Festival (Lancaster, England)

Highest Point Festival – a music festival tucked away in the heart of Lancaster – is a relatively new festival. The first event took place in 2018 and featured some notable artists, such as the Manchester Camerata Orchestra and Peter Hook from New Order. 

Fast forward to 2021, and Highest Point is estimated to have hosted 35,000 guests, welcoming performances from Clean Bandit and Rudimental. The festival contributed an estimated £4.68 million to the Lancashire economy. This amounts to £4.26 return of investment for every £1 spent.

Behind the scenes, Highest Point provided jobs to 280 people. This included local workers from in and around Lancaster. We’re excited to see what September 2022 has in store for Lancashire’s largest open-air festival. Will you be buying a ticket?

Victorious Festival (Portsmouth, England)

On the other end of the country, Victorious Festival continues to thrive. In 2012, the first event attracted 35,000 people, with headliners such as the Lightning Seeds and Mark Morris. The number of attendees then jumped to 100,000 in the next year alone.

Victorious Festival 2021 welcomed 161,612 attendees, and excited crowds gathered to see performances by international headliners Royal Blood. The festival had an economic impact of £15,525,675, a 25% increase in contributions since 2019. 

We can only imagine the impact of Victorious Festival 2022, a decade after the music destination began. Indeed, this is an encouraging sign for up-and-coming festivals around the nation, such as Highest Point.

TRNSMT (Glasgow, Scotland)

In 2021, Scotland enforced tougher restrictions than England. This led to the cancellations of multiple music festivals. TRNSMT, however, was given the green light to go ahead. The festival allowed up to 50,000 guests each day, providing a negative lateral flow test was provided. 

TRNSMT 2021, which welcomed trailblazing headliners Paulo Nutini and Sam Fender, was predicted to contribute £20 million to the Scottish economy. This will have provided countless jobs to locals in Glasgow. Do you think we will see the return of Scottish festivals in 2022? 

Green Man (Brecon Beacons, Wales)

Green Man, a music festival like no other, is nestled in between soaring valleys in the Brecon Beacons. Can you think of anything more beautiful? The line-up in 2021 was nothing short of exciting, with performances by Caribou and Kokoroko on the Mountain Stage.

The economic impact of Green Man is impressive. It provided the Welsh economy with £15 million. In addition to this, the return on investment is also impressive. For every £10 spent towards the festival, £17 is funnelled back into the economy.

Indeed, plans for Green Man 2022 seem to be just as promising. The previous event employed 5,000 people, and this will no doubt continue to benefit the Welsh community this summer. 

The economic impact of UK music festivals cannot be denied. Their value, however, goes beyond financial gain. They provide respite for music lovers across the nation, whether the sun deigns to shine or not.

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