London-based music-merchandise and licensing company Firebrand Live says its booming business confirms that U.K. festivals continue to offer a strong market for associated products despite the credit crunch.

Following analysis of sales in the first half of 2008, the company says revenues jumped 15% compared with the same period last year.

Its business includes the rights to manufacture and sell T-shirts, programmes, camping equipment, and other branded items for festivals like the Isle of Wight, Rock Ness, T in the Park, Latitude and Camp Bestival, which have already been held this year.

Additionally, the company has contracts with individual acts such as indie rock acts Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys, plus revived boy band Take That.

By the time sales from the still pending Reading and Leeds Festivals (Aug. 22-24), Connect (Aug. 29-31), Creamfields (Aug. 23-24), and Bestival (Camp Bestival’s sister event during Sept. 5-7) are added, Firebrand managing director Neil Boote says the company expects to generate an estimated £2.5 million ($4.8 million) more than last year.

“Revenues are up on last year,” he says. “Festival economics will not be immune to the credit crunch and the rising fuel and food prices. But judging by these figures, [festival goers] clearly value a souvenir of the festival experience and want to be associated with the event brands.”

Boote says its strategies include keeping merchandise design innovative. For example, the program for this year’s Latitude Festival in July was published in a 258-page glossy magazine made from “organic recycled paper,” he says.

“Because the event features not only musicians, but other entertainers like comedians and poets, we had to take a different approach. It sold at the event for £8 ($15.40), and sold an extra 25% (in unit terms) compared with last year’s programme.”

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