Sustainability and equal gender balance line-ups top the list of priorities for British festival-goers, according to the latest edition of Ticketmaster’s annual State of Play report.
The Live Nation-owned ticketing giant surveyed 4,000 people for the study with two in three respondents (62%) saying that the environmental impact of festivals is their number one concern for the summer.
The findings are not just limited to young socially conscious music fans. Of those surveyed, 63% of over 55-year olds saying they want to see waste at festivals reduced, compared to 40% of 16 to 19-year olds.
The most important sustainability initiatives identified are better recycling facilities, no single-use plastics, tent recycling and digital ticketing.
Despite green issues being top of the list for British music fans, more than a third of people (38%) admitted leaving their tents behind at a festival, the majority believing they would be recycled.
Last month, Live Nation announced that it was committing to the elimination of single use plastics at all Live Nation festivals by 2021 as part of its Green Nation global sustainability charter. The company has also pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.
“Millennials, in particular, want to be associated with brands that reflect their world view and sustainability is definitely one of the things that crops up time and time again,” Andrew Parsons, managing director of Ticketmaster UK tells Billboard. “Festivals and live events are driven by what fans want, so [whilst sustainability] is something that the industry is already aware of, hopefully this report puts it front and centre once again and supports that work.”
Also high on the agenda for ticket buyers was security and inclusivity of festival line-ups. 61% of those survey identified improved security as being very important, while 41% of festival-goers say they want more diversity in line-ups, with almost a third (29%) saying they consider the gender parity of line-ups before buying a ticket.
When it comes to performers, 29% of people said music was the main reason why they attend festivals with 31% citing the overall experience. Headline acts unsurprisingly remain a huge pull for ticket buyers, but 6% of respondents said they book tickets before a line-up is announced.
Topping the list of dream festival headliners is Coldplay, followed by Ed Sheeran, Drake, Oasis and Beyoncé. Also in the top 10 are the Rolling Stones, Eminem, Foo Fighters, U2 and Pink, while BTS — who recently performed two sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium — was chosen as the No. 1 act fans would spend the most to see.
Ticketmaster’s research also revealed that half of Brits (48%) have been to a festival at least once in their life and 37% of respondents had attended a festival since 2016. A fifth of those surveyed (20%) said they would also rather go to a festival than on a holiday.
Significantly, three in five festival-goers (62%) identified festivals as providing an important introduction to new music acts. “While it might be the headliner that gets them through the door, people really use festivals as physical search and discovery sites for new acts. That’s hugely positive for the industry,” says Parsons.
Reflecting on the start of the European festival season, he predicts another bumper year for Ticketmaster UK following a record breaking 2018.
“We’ve had over 2 million people that we’ve scanned through the doors at outdoor shows already, so all the early indications are that we’re going to be at least at that same sort of level,” says Parsons. “It’s always difficult to be able to tell which part of the secret sauce has driven the sales, but there’s a certainly a depth and breadth in the line-ups this year, which is having a very positive impact on sales. There’s a long way to go yet, but we think it’s going to be a really good summer.”