If you missed the 02 Wireless Festival or Lovebox, there’s always the Ben and Jerry’s thing on Clapham Common this weekend, or Forever Heavenly in September. The festival explosion is obvious, but there’s been less attention given to the big businesses that have sprung up inside the gates.
We’ll leave aside the debate over whether the festival circuit has become too commercial and simply say that it’s... very commercial.
Take Live Nation, the American organisers of Wireless and a number of other festivals and gigs all around the world. Last year they took in $4.2 billion in revenues (though they did fail to make a profit).
Lest we come over all Glasto hippy, let’s consider some of the upside of all that cash. Festivals create a multiplier effect, with knock-on effects spreading out to t-shirt hawkers, beer sellers, food stalls, bong makers — and it could be argued that this effect is even greater in London.
Festivals out in the sticks draw crowds who spend most of their money on site. In London though, people tend to hang out in the neighbourhood after those early curfews. (anyone listening over in Victoria Park?)
Plus, a festival ticket is a pretty good guarantee of a great time — which nowadays sounds like a much better investment than the stock market.
Image taken from pauljmuk's Flickr photostream