Festivals in figures

With the UK festival season now well and truly underway, creative design and manufacture company Scruffy Dog Ltd (scruffydogltd.com)—who design themes and construct sets for large scale events—have created a fascinating infographic showing how the main UK fests have grown over the years, in terms of their ticket price, number of people attending, and the number of acts that play there, from the year they launched to this year. It’s hard to believe that many of the UK’s festivals have been going strong for 20 years and more, but things were on a much smaller scale when they all started out…

Appropriately, original hippy-fest Glastonbury has the most impressive rises of all: their ticket price has gone from a paltry £1 in 1970 (which included a free carton of milk from the farm!), to a pretty purse-walloping £228—a phenomenal rise of 22,700%.

However, the number of acts performing has gone up even more: from just 13 bands or singers then (including a little-known T-Rex), to over 3,000 this year, a rise of 22,978%—so you’re still getting your money’s worth! And those who got muddy and rained on this summer have gone from 1,500 to over 120,000, a rise of 7,900%—we must be gluttons for punishment!

By Scruffy Dog Ltd.

Not far behind is rock festival Reading, which launched in 1971, with tickets going for the princely sum of £2. This attracted 1,200 festivalgoers, who listened to 38 acts; today, the ticket price is £213 (a 10,500% rise), with 90,000 people (a 7,400% rise) paying to hear 189 acts (a 398% rise). Nowadays over 50,000 burgers and 2 million pints of lager are consumed over the festival weekend… well, all that moshing must make you hungry!

The oldest festival, Isle of Wight, started in 1968, with ticket prices rising 15,500%, from £1.25 to £195.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the newer festivals don’t show such impressive increases; Creamfields, for example, was established in 1998, and this club-offshoot dance festival has only seen a 100% rise in performers (from over 100 to over 200) while attendance has swelled by 220% (from 25,000 to 80,000). They’re still making money on the tickets though, with the original price of £37.50 now on a healthy 540% markup to £240!

Top Tips