An investigation into the motivations and trends affecting festivals: A case study on Glastonbury Festival
(2015) An investigation into the motivations and trends affecting festivals: A case study on Glastonbury Festival, no. 131.
The aim of the study is to investigate the motivations and trends of festival attendees, the effect these are having on the atmosphere and the way the festival is produced. Furthermore, it will investigate if the current trends in the UK are having an impact on festivals, the type of people they now attract, and if that audience has changed over recent years. The study will focus specifically on Glastonbury Festival, looking at the changing culture of its audience, and the strategy that the festival is using to cope with such changes. The events industry has regularly carried out extensive research within visitor motivations for events, and more recently, there has been an increase in the research being done specifically on music festivals. The number of festivals occurring year on year is increasing, which is making it one of the fastest growing areas of the leisure industry (Nicholson and Pearce 2001). However, there is a noticeable gap in the qualitative area of the research; therefore, for this study, qualitative data was collected through semi structured interviews and online questionnaires. Two research methods were chosen in order to collect data from both the organizers and the attendees of Glastonbury Festival. From the research, it was found that music was the key motivation for attending a festival. However, the majority of questionnaire respondents had more than one reason for their motivation to attend. The majority of attendees also agreed that Glastonbury Festival offered something different to most other festivals, through its wide range of music and activities, appealing to all ages and all musical tastes. As a result, a very different atmosphere is created at Glastonbury Festival, showing that the motivations relate to a specific festival. This indicates that, more in-depth research, by individual festivals, would benefit the industry to reveal the variance in motivations between one festival and another. The research showed that trends are affecting festivals more than before, with the introduction of social media, technology and more identifiable social classes, although from the results it was found that the attendees have recognized these changes more than the organizers. The organizers may wish to carry out further research to find out how important maintaining the original ethos of the festival is, in retaining its devoted audience. Moreover, both sample groups agreed that the culture of the festival has changed since the festival's inception. The audience has become more diverse, moving the festival away from its initial hippy and green image into something that appeals to all generations, but also noticeably more towards middle class, because of the rising ticket prices and trends such as 'glamping'. Finally, the Festival aims to stay ahead of the trends in order to maintain their current position at the top of the UK festival market. Glastonbury needs to control the size of the festival, but also needs to have an awareness of the motivations of its clientele, so that any change accommodates its faithful attendees, whilst also attracting a new audience.