Festivals inject £213m into UK economy in 2012

AIF and Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank
AIF and Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank

A survey by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has found festival-goers spent £213m in 2012, with an average festival spend of £382.49 per person.

The average spend is a drop per capita compared to the last two years – in 2011 it was £461.58 – however, fans claimed the recession isn’t affecting their spending as much as in past years.

Two thirds felt the recession affected their spending on general entertainment in 2012, compared to the 72% in 2011. Purely on festival spending, 53% felt the pinch in 2012, down from 56% in 2011.

According to the AIF, half of respondents said that they chose to go to a festival in the UK rather than overseas, while almost all travelled away from home for their festivals, with only 12% of patrons local to their festivals.

The AIF, which turned five this week, was created by BBC Radio 1 DJ and Bestival founder Rob da Bank and his manager and Bestival director, Ben Turner.

The association now has 44 members, and has been a vocal opponent of secondary ticketing. Last October it issued a charter calling for transparency in the secondary ticketing market, welcoming signatories such as Radiohead. It also developed an ethical ticket exchange system with Sandbag called the Ticket Trust.

Claire O’Neill, general manager of AIF, said: "It is a pleasure to see AIF grow and evolve since its launch, not least for the inspiration gained from the individuals who are putting their heart and soul in to delivering great experiences year after year."

Rob da Bank added: "Growing from our first tiny meeting with a handful of festivals, we're now very proud to have more than 40 festivals under our banner as well as numerous friends of AIF and festival suppliers. There’s no doubt we're all learning how to run better, greener and more efficient festivals all the time."

AIF is partnering with BBC Introducing this year, giving young acts a chance to gain exposure at their festivals.

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