With music festivals being the highlight of many people’s summer plans, the cancellation of such events saddened a lot of the population. Unlike other events which, throughout the pandemic could take place virtually, music festivals seemed to be a distance memory for people during the pandemic.
Music festivals bring groups of people together who wouldn’t normally mix in day-to-day life. It opposes the idea of social isolation, segregation and celebrates humanity as a whole and the beauty of diversity. A wide variety of people attend and are brought together in the celebration of music.
Despite many different industries being poorly affected by COVID, the festival sector was one of the worst affected. Due to the event industry’s large size it’s one of the biggest global economies, with millions made in revenue each year from ticket sales. Hence the huge impact that the fall of the events industry, had on the global economy. In the UK alone, music events contribute £17.6 billion to the UK economy, and attendance at UK music festivals increased by some 22% from 2017-2019.
Festivals also massively contribute to the tourism business in an area. The Association of Independent Festivals estimated that the average festival goer spent £483 while attending a festival. Therefore, local economies of cancelled festivals suffered without this financial support.
Festivals suffering naturally leads to the music industry suffering and all the artists within that industry. The UK Parliament Committee stated in 2020, 80% of music creators’ income will be lost, and three quarters of musicians may leave the sector.
An alternative digital solution used by many artists throughout the pandemic was live-streaming. Both fans and artists enjoy live-streaming for different reasons. The Live Streaming Music project states 90% of musicians and 92% of fans agreed live streaming will be a good way to reach audiences unable or unwilling to go to venues. Dua Lipa performed an online concert in December 2020 with 5 million people virtually attending.
A UK leisure analyst from 2019 states there was an increase spike in usage of contactless wristbands at music events as some 37% of music event-goers have used a wristband for purchasing at a music concert or festival in the last year, up from 27% in 2018. Both event organisers and event attendees are benefiting from this increased RFID use. It encourages better security as it removes the need for vendors and people to carry round physical money, therefore reducing likelihood of theft and danger. Cashless payment methods also speed up queues, improving festival goers’ experiences as their waiting times will be shorter. The UK is moving towards being a cashless society with the UK Finance study showing a 35% drop in cash transactions in 2020.
After the majority of festivals were cancelled in 2020, many people had hope for their re-introduction in 2021. Previously cancelled festivals are going to be made up for in the next few years with events being bigger and better than ever before. 2022 is looking like the year for upcoming excitement regarding the music festival industry, with ticket sales being higher this year than usual. With news of most festivals going ahead at last, there’s been a surge of growth and positivity for the sector and its finally returning to normality.