Eventbrite has released new research that unveils key drivers of music festival attendance and spend. The company partnered with independent research firm, MusicWatch, Inc., to survey over 2,000 18-49 year olds across Australia, US, UK and Canada that attended at least one music festival in the past 12 months.
Key insights from the Eventbrite Australian report include:
Festivals Continue to Capture Hearts and Wallets
Despite industry speculation, attendance at festivals is holding strong with 65 per cent of Australian respondents attending the same number or more music festivals this year compared to last year, and almost half (49 per cent) planning to attend even more festivals next year.
On average, they attend two to three per year and spend about $150 per ticket. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) say they plan to attend festivals for at least a few more years and 59 per cent of Australian respondents report that music festivals give them a feeling of community.
But it’s not all about community – half (50 per cent) of festival goers admitted that they would go to a music festival alone if they really wanted to attend.
Headliners Are the Single Top Reason to Attend
A variety of factors including which friends are going, cost and location impact their decisions to attend; however, the music lineup was listed as the primary reason attendees decide to go to a music festival, with nearly one in three (31 per cent) of festival-goers reporting headlining artists as the absolute most important factor.
Festival-Goers Have Appetite for New & Niche
Groovin the Moo, Falls Festivals and Splendour in the Grass were mentioned as the top festivals attended by survey respondents in 2015.
However, in-line with trends recently observed amongst Australian music festivals, almost half of festival-goers (48 per cent) reported they would rather attend smaller, niche festivals catering to their specific interests over mainstream festivals. The Eventbrite research also shows 41 per cent revealed they would rather go to a new festival they haven’t been to before over one they’ve attended in the past.
“Affinity for the music, community, and social experiences of festivals is incredibly powerful, but with more festivals in the market than ever before, it’s become increasingly harder for those in the industry to differentiate themselves and ultimately turn a profit,” said Russ Crupnick, managing partner, MusicWatch Inc.
“Our research identified a key segment of valuable festival attendees who drive the lion’s share of the business. These hardcore fans are consistently outranking casual festival-goers in virtually all aspects of spending, attending, influence, and engagement.”
Australian Festival-Goers are Willing to Travel
One in four festival attendees have travelled interstate to attend a festival, and more than a third have left their city. This is reflected in the popularity of destination festivals such as Groovin The Moo, Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass.
When it comes to hardcore festival-goers, 40 per cent have left their state to attend a festival, with 16 per cent travelling outside of Australia. In fact, Coachella festival in Southern California sneaks in at number ten on the top festivals that Aussie hardcore festival fans attended in 2015. Given the expense of international travel from Australia, it proves hardcore festival fans are more than willing to invest in a great festival experience.
Coachella is also one of the most widely broadcast festivals in the world, with every act available to livestream on YouTube — showing that taking your music festival to the global stage can drive attendance from outside of your target region.
Hardcore Festival-Goers make up only 14 per cent of attendees, but drive 80 per cent of spend
This group of frequent festival-goers (14 per cent) are incredibly valuable attendees, driving 80 per cent of the total annual spend at festivals. Hardcore festival-goers (those that average 4 music festivals each year) spend on average $752 per year compared to “casual festival goers” who spend $151, on average. And the fun doesn’t look to be slowing – well over half (59 per cent) of the hardcore festival-goers plan to attend even more festivals next year.
Hardcore festival-goers are much more than just diehard music fans — they love experiences. This social active group are more likely to attend other events around town and are happy to spend their hard-earned cash on great live experiences. Around one in two (45 per cent) of hardcore music lovers attend beer/wine/spirit, arts and entertainment events compared to around one in five (17 per cent and 20 per cent respectively) of casual music goers.
“Being ingrained in this business for the past decade, we’ve witnessed consolidation of key industry players alongside the entrance of new niche festivals and a consistent theme from festival producers and fans alike has been the desire to preserve the authentic atmosphere that makes these experiences so transformational,” said Laura Huddle, head of marketing at Eventbrite Australia.
“Our research indicates that not all festival-goers are created equal and that perhaps the best way for those in the industry to continue to thrive is by tapping into this core group of hardcore fans and what ultimately keeps them coming back for more.”