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AIF celebrates five years, publishes some stats

By | Published on Friday 28 June 2013


Perhaps unsurprisingly, given 2012 was a rocky year for the UK festival sector, new research by the Association Of Independent Festivals says that – according to a survey of people who visited one of the independent festivals allied to the trade body last year – the average spend per event by a UK festival-goer in 2012 was down on 2011, from £461.58 to £382.49.

Though, perversely perhaps, surveyed festival fans said they felt the recession affected their spending on entertainment less in 2012 than it did in 2011, with 72% saying economic uncertainty affected their entertainment consumption in 2011 versus 69% in 2012. On festival spending specifically, 56% said the recession had an impact in 2011, and 53% in 2012.

Either way, and despite the slip in average spend, AIF reckons that patrons of independent music festivals still contributed over £213 million to the British economy. And the trade body adds that half of those surveyed said they chose to attend a festival instead of taking a trip abroad, meaning the festival helped keep that spending within the UK. Though the majority of independent festival-goers prefer to travel a little when taking in a festival, rather than just going to whichever event they live nearest to.

The new survey comes as AIF celebrates its fifth anniversary. The trade body now represents 44 events, with a collected capacity in 2012 of 557,000. Commenting on the group’s first five years, the organisation’s General Manager Claire O’Neill told CMU: “It is a pleasure to see AIF grow and evolve since its launch, not least for the inspiration gained from the individuals who are putting their heart and soul in to delivering great experiences year after year. It is by no means easy and is getting no easier to organise festivals and survive, AIF strives to help organisers on that journey, and with such a creative industry I look forward to seeing what the next five years will bring!”

Meanwhile AIF co-founder and Bestival chief Rob da Bank added: “Time flies when you’re having fun, and the last five years of running AIF have gone by in the blink of an eye. Growing from our first tiny meeting with a handful of festivals, we’re now very proud to have over 40 festivals under our banner as well as numerous friends of AIF and festival suppliers hanging out with us. Our monthly meetings are a hotbed of technical advice, heated debate and the odd bit of festi-gossip. Of course there’s no doubt we’re all learning how to run better, greener and more efficient festivals all the time. Here’s to the next five!”

AIF published its research as one of the issues on which it has been particularly vocal was discussed in parliament this week – that of secondary ticketing. According to Music Week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music has agreed to put pressure on relevant select committees in parliament to reconsider the rules (or lack of) around ticket touting, in part as a result of continued pressure from Sharon Hodgson MP, who has been lobbying on the secondary ticketing topic for sometime.