Study finds that major UK festivals are booking fewer new acts

Smaller festivals, on the other hand, are supporting new artists more than ever

UK festival stock image

Image: Karl Weatherly/Getty

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Major UK festivals are becoming less inclined to book new artists and more likely to repeat previous lineups, a study has found.

If you’ve ever experienced Deja-vu when looking at the latest festival announcements, it may be because popular events are increasingly eager to repeat lineups from previous years.

These were the results of a new study conducted by Pirate Studios which analysed 32 of the most popular festivals across the past decade – excluding Glastonbury – and looked for emerging trends.

Events taken into consideration for the study included Download, Reading and Leeds, Parklife, Isle of Wight, Boomtown and Latitude.

According to the results, large festivals – meaning those with over 50,000 capacity – have consistently booked fewer new, emerging artists over the past ten years. In turn, they’ve also become increasingly reliant on booking the same acts, year after year.

Smaller events, on the other hand, have seemingly gone in the opposite direction.

This comes as the study proved that festivals holding fewer attendees – such as The Secret Garden Party, Cross The Tracks and All Points East – have increased their percentage of new acts over the same time frame. In fact, the top ten festivals to come out on top when booking new acts were all small to medium-sized.

Discussing the latest findings, a representative from the jazz, funk and soul festival, Cross The Tracks, said:

“We’re lucky enough to work in music and it’s our responsibility to help bring passionate and talented people through. Every year we work with […] local bodies to support emerging artists.”

They continued: “It’s not just about putting on an event; it’s about being part of the community both locally and musically. There’s so much music out there. It’s not hard to keep things fresh if you love music…”

Check out further findings from the study on Pirate Studio’s website.


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