Summer Music Festivals going strong, despite economy

04.10.09 8 years ago

AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

Despite the recession, tickets for this summer’s many music festivals are holding steady, according to a story in Billboard.

“We’re not feeling it yet,” AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, tells Billboard. AEG produces a number of festivals including Coachella, Stagecoach, Rothbury the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Mile High and All Points West. “I’m not saying we won’t eventually, but the festival business is tremendous value for the money in terms of the show and what you get.”

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The one exception has been Rothbury, which takes place in especially hard-hit Michigan. While Coachella sales are on par with last year and Stagecoach tickets are actually up, Rothbury tickets are down 25% for the July festival.

Many of the festivals are offering layaway plans so ticket buyers can pay in installment plans. Additionally, a number of acts are offering low concert prices or bargains. We just did a story for the Washington Post about some of the great discounts available. We’ll link to that as soon as it runs.

Only two festivals have succumbed to the recession: the Langerado Music Festival in Miami and the Hydro Connect Festival in Scotland. Despite the guarded optimism expressed in the Billboard report, I have a feeling overall attendance will be down at least 10% at most of the major festivals and that merchandise sales will really take a hit. Beer sales, as always, will be strong-people may think twice about taking home a t-shirt, but no one thinks about plunking down the money for a beer when it’s 90 degrees out.

However, I could be wrong. Merchandisers are even predicting that sales of T-shirts and caps will hold up-if the quality remains high. “It would be foolish to take it for granted and think there won’t be an impact,” says Neil Boote, managing director of London-based merchandising company Firebrand Live. “Everybody will have to work harder to deliver value for money. You have to make sure you have good products, that they’re compelling and what people want.”

We’ll be watching closely throughout the season but would love to know what festivals, if any, you’re attending.

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