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AIF calls for festival sector investigation

News
18 September 2018

THE ASSOCIATION of Independent Festivals (AIF) has again called on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate what it sees as the Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) domination of the UK festival market.

AIF has published a festival ownership map suggests that LNE owns or majority owns more than 25 per cent of the country’s festivals over 5,000-capacity, and has a “stranglehold” on talent via exclusivity deals.

That map shows LNE being way ahead of its closest rival radio station giant Global, which has eight per cent of the sector – via promoter Broadwick Live. AEG Presents is third largest with five per cent.

“Our festival ownership map paints a stark picture of the sector,” says AIF chief executive Paul Reed.

“Allowing a single company to dominate festivals, and the live music sector in general, through vertical integration reduces the amount of choice and value-for-money for music fans.

“It can block new entrants to market, result in strangleholds on talent through [performance] exclusivity deals and stifle competition throughout the entire live music business.”

Among AIF’s 65 member festivals are Boomtown Fair (cap. 60,000), Bestival (35,000), 2000Trees (5,000) and Truck Festival (5,000).

Drastic follow-up

Meanwhile, following its Drastic on Plastic campaign this summer (see LIVE UK, Issue. 220), AIF has invited marine ecologist Dr Kerry Howell to speak at its annual Festival Congress in November.

Moving to Sheffield after four years in Cardiff, the event is hosted in two venues – Day 1 in the Crucible Theatre and Day 2 at the Showroom Cinema.

Howell will cover the impact of plastics on the deep sea environment, while other speakers include blogger Zoe London on The Instagrammable Festival, Kaye Dunnings of Shangri-La – the 40,000-capacity theme zine at  Glastonbury – on the creative process, and Fabien Riggal of Secret Cinema on immersive events.

“Lots of industry events have similar speakers so, at Festival Congress, we like to look outside the festival world for inspiration,” says AIF CEO Paul Reed. “We will be monitoring the Drastic on Plastic campaign, which was a three-year pledge for members taking part.

“We want to see what tangible change they’ve made. While Shambala [15,000] is already plastics free, Cropredy [17,000] has made dramatic progress in eliminating single-use plastics backstage..”

Festival Congress takes place from 6-7 November. AIF has 65 festival members.

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