Fans snub costly UK music festivals

FestivalThe soaring cost of tickets for music festivals is leading to fans travelling overseas to cheaper events, according to research by a money saving website.

A poll found that nearly a third (32%) of music fans now attend fewer festivals than they did in the past, while more than two-thirds admitted they would consider going to a European festival rather than one in the UK, with more than half (58%) of these citing ticket prices as their main reason while nearly a quarter (24%) also said the greater chance of good weather was a major factor.
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The mother of all festivals, Glastonbury, cost just £105 in 2003 compared with this year's fee of £205 before booking and postage costs - representing a 95% increase, website www.watchmywallet.co.uk said.

But the Somerset extravaganza actually fared better than some of its rivals such as Bestival, which it said saw a massive 124% price hike since it first launched in 2004, when a weekend camping ticket was just £85.
Meanwhile, Reading Festival and its Leeds counterpart have shot up from costing £95 a ticket in 2003 to £202.50, representing a 113% increase, the website said.

In contrast, overseas festivals can work out cheaper for revellers even when travel costs are taken into account.

This year Poland's Open'er Festival costs just £112 for a weekend ticket while early-bird deals meant it was possible to pick up a ticket for just £77 and super-early bird tickets for Soundwave in Croatia cost just £65.

Sean O'Meara, of Watch My Wallet, said: "While the economy has been in decline and people struggle with their finances, festivals have been consistently raising their prices year-on-year, normally by around £10 each time.

"When you add extortionate 'handling' or 'booking' fees, travel and expensive food and drink on site, festivals are quickly becoming as expensive as an all-inclusive holiday abroad in the sunshine. There are more and more festivals cropping up each year, which means there is more competition to get the big acts - and that often means having to fork out big payments, which are passed on to the festival-goer.

"Many of the music fans we polled admitted that they now look at European festivals as a real alternative to UK events. With cheap airfares and lower prices for accommodation and food in many European countries, it's possible to enjoy a festival experience abroad with a little sightseeing thrown in, all for less than the cost of going to Reading Festival."
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