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Outdoor music festivals 2019: what’s the secret for success?

Music festival entertainment

Over the summer, the UK countryside will be alive to the sound of music, as the festival season gets into full swing.

Music festivals have come a long way from their ‘rock’ and ‘pop’ predecessors of the 60s and 70s. Long-standing festivals such as Glastonbury, Isle of Wight and Reading have evolved into major events with international headline acts, whilst newer festivals have fused traditional elements with their own style, such as Boomtown, Latitude and Creamfields.

Others have gone out on a limb to appeal to specific audiences, such as Boardmasters, which according to

“Mixes the best boarders in the world – whether they’re surfers or skaters – with BMX kings, and soundtracks the action with dance dons, folk stars, and pop favourites.”

For those with children, Camp Bestival is a family-friendly event at Lulworth Castle with classic acts such as Sister Sledge, Chic, Grandmaster Flash and The Human league, plus fun events from jousting to face-painting.

if you’re in any doubt about the popularity of festivals, look at the sales. Despite three figure ticket prices for many, most tickets sell out in a matter of days, months in advance. 

Why are festivals booming?

The answer is (we think) the sheer diversity of music on offer. The most successful festivals don’t just offer one genre, on one stage. perhaps the most famous festival is Glastonbury, back again this year with an incredible range of music and poerformances. On the Pyramid Stage on Sunday you’ll find a real mix of acts including cult punk band The Cure, queen of pop Kylie, and the Langa Methodist Church Choir. 

On other stages you’ll find DJs, international blues artists, new artists backed by BBC Music, plus political discussions and debate, and so much more. In total, 3,000 performances across more than 100 stages, and the sold out tickets cost £248 + £5 booking fee each. 

Create your own festival

Many of the UK”s best festivals started small; even Glastonbury started life as the Pilton Pop, Folk & Blues Festival for an audience of 1,500 people, back in 1970. So, if you fancy creating your own music festival, why not go for it! 

You’ll need to answer one crucial question before you start: what is the reason for holding your festival? You might be a fan of a particular genre of music, or have spotted a gap in a niche musical market. Once you know why you’re doing it, the rest should begin to fall into place, such as:

  • what kind of venue
  • what size of festival
  • who you need to sell to
  • what to offer in terms of attractions
  • the types of bands and acts you want to perform
How Matters Musical can help

That’s where we come in. Our roster of bands and musicians span a wide range of world music and performance, from African acrobats to Cossack dancers via skiffle bands and taiko drummers, swing bands and saxophone quartets, DJs and party bands. 

Your festival doesn’t need to have expensive headline acts,: most festivals feature more unknowns than known artists anyway. Part of the fun of a festival is the joy of discovering something new for the first time. However, the risk for the organiser is that the new acts might also not be good enough. 

At Matters Musical we vet all our artists. So we know just how good they are, and where their strengths lie. We can curate a list of artists including musicians, bands, dance acts and workshops for your festival that will add the wow factor without busting the budget. 

Want more information on how to start your own outdoor music festival?

Take a look at this article by Balance Small Business which is reassuringly realistic!

And some surprising stats around music festivals from Time Out magazine: