British music festivals in tune with older, cashed-up fans

Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:49pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's summer music festival season kicks off this week with a line-up ranging from the Rolling Stones to Beyonce to exiled Tibetan monks designed to attract the modern festival-goer - a 36-year-old with a well-padded wallet.

Music festivals have become an integral part of summer for British music fans with Bon Jovi and Blondie at the Isle of Wight festival this weekend, Slipknot and Iron Maiden at metal-fest Download, and Iggy Pop at Yoko Ono's Meltdown in London.

But figures show a shift in the type of fans attending music festivals with research by website MSN this year finding the average festival-goer is aged 36 and expects to spend about 425 pounds ($665) on a ticket, transport, and food to attend the event.

This comes as ticket prices have surged with the UK's biggest festival, Glastonbury, charging over 200 pounds ($315) for the first time this year, 95 percent up on the 2003 price of 105 pounds - more than 2.5 times the rate of inflation.

Catering for the older crowd are older acts with musicians in the 10 top headline acts an average age of 39. British folk-rockers Mumford & Sons are the only top act this year to have released a debut album in the past five years.

Research director James McCoy from market researcher YouGov said the costs had changed the crowd at big festivals with a survey finding 22 percent of festival-goers from last year planned to go on a holiday instead of paying for a festival.

"People have less money to spend and many of the festival-goers we surveyed were turned off by poor weather and long queues," said McCoy, joking about the annual photos of Glastonbury festival-goers in raincoats and covered in mud.

"There is clearly some backlash to higher prices and also to the commercialization of festivals. This won't significantly impact the industry although we might see some smaller, more alternative festivals emerge on the side."   Continued...