According to information posted by Sky News, festival fans are increasingly coming from overseas to see their favourite bands perform at not only festivals, but also their own shows as well. Not only is this an impressive show of dedication, it is also giving a nice boost to the British economy.
Music tourism has grown more than 34% since 2011, with 9.5 million people journeying from all across the UK and overseas, which has generated £3.1bn.
About half a million of that impressive number came over from other countries, which each person giving UK businesses about £750.
For example, Aytunc Demirkaya and his girlfriend travelled all the way from Turkey, alongside three other couples to enjoy Suffolk’s Latitude Festival.
“This is my first time going overseas for a festival. Normally I have been to festivals in Turkey. A friend of ours recommended this festival and we just organised ourselves in December and bought tickets. We were so excited to come here. Everything is perfect.”
They also intended to enjoy some of London for a few days afterwards, as well.
Rob da Bank, who is the DJ and music producer who set up Bestival in the Isle of Wight, said that making a festival part of a larger holiday is happening more often: “They come a couple of days early and they enjoy the island.”
He then went on to say that many Bestival attendees come from Austria or France, with some travelling down from Scotland: “The head of the Isle of Wight tourism said it’s so amazing for them, as we bring millions into the economy. Taxis, shops, restaurants … the whole economy benefits from these festivals, so I’m glad we can pass that on.”
A recent report by UK music revealed that travel from abroad for festivals or other music events has increased since 39% since 2011. This is a great boost to an economy that direly needs it, and it would be very interesting to get information from the big names in festivals such as Download, Reading, or Sonisphere. However, not everyone is pleased by this influx.
Suzannah Platt is concerned about the impact it has on traffic, for example: “People from all directions are heading to Latitude so it’s absolutely chock-a-block.”
Naturally, as well, there was also concern expressed about how the festival attendees clean out the local businesses of their stock: “It’s very busy here and the supermarkets are very empty by the evening, so when I finish work and try to get something to eat, there’s nothing left in the shops.”
Despite these minor grumblings, there’s not much argument against these large festivals and the positive impact they must have on the local economy. Hotels, restuarants, even motorway rest stops en route all must see a huge influx of cash from UK citizens and foreigners alike, as they all head towards their favourite festival.