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UK festivals are booking less new and upcoming acts, according to a new study

today03/03/2023 11

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New research from Pirate shows that large UK festivals are booking fewer new acts each year.

Analysing 32 of the UK’s biggest festivals – excluding Glastonbury – Pirate claim that line-ups have become “homogeneous” with popular names recurring.

In 2016, festivals with over a 50,000 capacity had 80% of new artists booked whilst in 2021 this dropped down to 60%.

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On the other hand, smaller festivals – with a capacity between 20,000 and 50,000 – have been consistently showcasing new artists taking up 80% to 90% of their roster.

In 2022 artists Yung Singh, Self Esteem and Keg played at seven of these festivals and Yard Act, Nuha Ruby Ra, HAAi, ENNY and GROVE each played at six.

A representative from Cross The Tracks told Pirate that: “There’s so much music out there, it’s not hard to keep things fresh if you love music and keep listening to new music, old music, good music.”

“I think I could count the amount of festivals in the country when we started. Now there seems to be 10–15 music festivals a weekend during the summer to cater for anything from cheese lovers to model railways enthusiasts,” Simon Taffe, founder and programmer of End Of The Road since 2005, commented.

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Taffe added: “I certainly wouldn’t want to become one of these indie landfill festivals where you always see the same bands on every bill.”

Pirate has also discovered the top ten small UK festivals for new artists with Shambala taking the top spot followed by Bluedot, Love Supreme and Secret Garden Party.

The best large festivals for new acts were Boomtown, Wireless and Lovebox.

Pirate will be launching a residency scheme for emerging acts on March 6 in collaboration with Cross The Tracks, El Dorado, Festival People, Truck Festival and more. Sign-up here.

Check out the full report by Pirate here.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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