<< Back to articles

How Big is a Music Festival.

Andy Robertson

Music festivals are often referred to by their size or genre but a big festival can mean very different things to different people. What are the common factors and metrics used to determine the size of a music festival and why is this important when selling the event to potential sponsors and vendors.

Quantifying a music festival by size is important for organisers and owner entities as this can impact on the media coverage achieved and supports any claims about growth along with where the event fits in the overall festival sector. Demonstrable data strengthens key messages to potential investors, ticket buyers, artists, sponsors and vendors for example. What are the most common metrics used to determine size?

Visitor Attendance.
Often the most common metrics used to determine a festival size is the number of attendees or visitors, not to be confused with numbers of tickets sold because many events are free to attend. The number of visitors is a good measure of the festival’s popularity and to some extent will be determined by the venue capacity. Small scale festivals typically have 5,000 or less visitors, medium festivals between 5,000 and 25,000 visitors and large festivals attract up to 100,000 visitors. A handful of festivals are often called ‘mega events’ where several hundred thousand visitors are in attendance.

Line-up and Headliners.
A music festival that presents hundreds of artists can attract large numbers of visitors but it’s not just about the quantity of artists booked, it can be the headliner acts and their respective popularity. A smaller line-up with a higher ratio of popular headline acts can be considered as bigger because the artists have a larger media presence and following for example. It is not unusual for a festival featuring large numbers of artists will need multiple stages and a larger venue area which can also be used a measure of the event size.

Venue size and Duration.
The physical size of a venue can be used as a measure of the festival size but this calculation doesn’t always work. A festival on a 400-acre site can still attract 50% more visitors than a festival on a 900-acre site for example. However, there is usually a correlation between physical venue size, capacity and the number of attendees. Music festivals on such large venue sites usually have hundreds of artists performing on multiple stages and will require 3 or more days to complete their artist's programming.

Revenue and Profitability.
The revenue earnt by a festival entity is often used as measure of size because the economic impact can be significantly greater. A festival organiser is always looking to maximise their revenue which usually comes from ticket sales, vendor pitch sales and sponsorship deals. The higher the charges the more revenue is earnt along with greater profitability. The financial numbers may not necessarily correlate to other size metrics like venue size or number of artists booked.

Festival organisers will usually default to the size metric that has the greatest benefit to them and these are often used in media announcements. Public statements where an entity claims to be the largest or most popular festival in a region or for a specific genre are used to increase sales revenue but should always be supported with accurate metrics. The size of a music festival can be open to interpretation and is often subjective and completely dependent on the metric chosen.

For festival organisers planning their events, whatever their size, using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by
Wendy Wei via Pexels

Andy Robertson
Share To:

<< Back to articles

Contact us

Get in touch to discuss your requirements.

US: +1 424 485 0220 (USA)

UK: +44 207 060 2666 (United Kingdom)

AU: +61 (2) 8357 0793 (Australia)

NZ: +64 (0)9887 8005 (New Zealand)

Or use our contact form here.