A study conducted by Pirate has revealed that British summer festivals are allotting fewer slots to fresh talent annually.
Pirate has conducted an analysis of 32 of the UK’s major festivals – not including Glastonbury – and has concluded that the lineups are becoming “similar”, and the same popular artists appear again and again.
In 2016, festivals with over 50,000 attendees had 80% of their bookings made up of new artists, whereas in 2021, this declined to 60%.
In contrast, festivals with between 20,000 and 50,000 attendees have tended to devote 80% to 90% of their lineup to new performers.
In 2022, Yung Singh, Self Esteem, and Keg were featured at seven festivals, and Yard Act, Nuha Ruby Ra, HAAi, ENNY, and GROVE had each been featured at six.
When Pirate spoke to a representative from Cross The Tracks, they advised that if they have a passion for music, it is easy to stay up-to-date by listening to various new and old songs.
Simon Taffe, founder and programmer of End Of The Road since 2005, noted that when they first began, he could count the number of festivals in the country. However, during the summer, there are 10-15 music festivals each weekend, catering to various interests, from cheese lovers to model railway enthusiasts.
Taffe remarked: “I certainly wouldn’t want to become one of these indie landfill festivals where you always see the same bands on every bill.”
Ranking first among small UK festivals for new artists is Shambala, followed by Bluedot, Love Supreme, and Secret Garden Party, which boasts an impressive lineup of performers.
New acts have their pick of some of the biggest festivals out there, such as Boomtown, Wireless and Lovebox.
On the 6th of March, Pirate launched a residency program for up-and-coming performers in cooperation with Cross The Tracks, El Dorado, Festival People, Truck Festival and more. Interested applicants can sign-up here.
Pirate has a comprehensive report available here on festivals booking fewer new acts.