An exploratory study into T in the Park recent venue change, and the effect this has specifically on the visitor loyalty and festival resilience.
(2016) An exploratory study into T in the Park recent venue change, and the effect this has specifically on the visitor loyalty and festival resilience., no. 80.
The aim of this study is to investigate if festival visitors' loyalty may be tested by change, in this case, the change of venue for Scotland's music festival T in the Park (TITP) and to what extent this change in surroundings may impact their decision to return. TITP is the largest scale music event in Scotland, and has the highest local resident attendance compared to all major festivals in the UK. An extensive array of research has been carried out in event and festival loyalty, and also festival resilience; no such study has been conducted towards T in the Park from a visitor point of view since the recent venue change. Henceforth, the term used for TITP's home of 18 years, Balado, will be known as the 'old venue' and the newest venue of Strathallan will be referred to as the 'new venue'. As a qualitative study, seven semi-structured interviews were designed, implemented and assessed against emergent themes from the literature review in order to explore and evaluate the relationship between how environment influences visitor experience and ultimately the effect this has on loyalty. Ethics were taken into consideration, and all seven participants were made aware of the purpose of study and were given anonymity. The results were researched and defined on the basis of visitor loyalty. Initially, the participants were all loyal and regular attenders of the T in the Park festival. The research revealed that four of the seven participants said they would now not automatically return to the new venue, but would consider returning under different or changed circumstances. The remaining three said they would return to the festival regardless of any change. These statistics indicate that the majority of participants feel less loyal to T in the Park since experiencing the festival at the new venue; clearly emphasising the impact that the festival environment can have on visitor loyalty. Findings suggest that more than half of participants would not return, this highlights the festival's lack of resilience against change and the clear relationship between resilience and visitor loyalty, particularly when festivals are subject to physical change such as the festival's location. The majority of respondents understood that as this was the first year of T in the Park hosted at the new venue, the organisers deserve the chance to reconfigure the organisation and structure of the festival in an effort to meet pre-existing expectations, recreating the 'buzz' in atmosphere the participants felt that it had lost in 2015.