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UK festival fans want more recycling, more women and less booze, Ticketmaster report finds

By | Published on Monday 24 June 2019


Environmental sustainability is the number one concern for people attending UK festivals this summer, according to new research published by Ticketmaster.

Around two thirds of people asked said that they wanted to see reduced waste and better recycling facilities at this year’s festivals. Despite this, more than a third admitted to leaving their tents behind at events, which is a major issue for festivals seeking to reduce their environmental impact. Most excused this hypocrisy by saying that they believed (mainly incorrectly) that their discarded tent would be collected by a charity and recycled.

There have been various moves by various music festivals to make major music events more environmentally sustainable, of course. The Association Of Independent Festivals recently called on retailers to stop selling single-use tents in a bid to tackle the discarded tents problem. Meanwhile, many UK festivals have now banned, or pledged to ban, single-use plastics from their sites, which this study suggests is supported by attendees.

“It’s impossible to ignore the effects of climate change, so it’s a huge positive to see that sustainability came out as the number one concern for festival-goers this year”, says Victoria Chapman, Head Of Sustainability at Ticketmaster sister company Festival Republic. “It is imperative that festival organisers look at how they can minimise the environmental impact of their events, to give fans the peace of mind that they can enjoy an amazing festival experience without adversely affecting the planet”.

Gender diversity in line-ups was also a key concern raised in the research, with 41% saying that they want to see a more even balance of male and female acts performing at festivals. 29% said that they consider this before buying a ticket to an event. Festival line-ups wholly dominated by male artists has become a much bigger talking point in recent years, of course, with the PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative putting the problem very much in the spotlight and calling on festival organisers to book a more diverse range of artists.

People are also drinking less alcohol at festivals, according to the new study. Ticketmaster reckons that about 30% of people don’t drink at all, and the number of people who say they drink more than ten units a day while at festivals is down to 25% (compared to 30% when Ticketmaster last asked this question in 2012). The report doesn’t give any indication on how this relates to drug use, however.

Commenting on the report, Andrew Parsons, UK MD of Ticketmaster, says: “British summer wouldn’t be what it is without festivals and these findings give us an insight into what festival fans really want. While it’s mostly all about the music and having a great time, I’m not surprised and [am] encouraged to see fans wanting more action on sustainability issues and line-up equality. Festivals have always been a microcosm of wider society and with the continued rise of social consciousness we expect fans will only become more demanding of festivals to get it right”.

Find more stats on the Ticketmaster website here.