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Can Music Festivals Going with Niche Genres Improve Survival Chances.

Andy Robertson

The music festival sector continues to face ongoing challenges from rising costs and low ticket sales making the chances of long-term survival difficult. Should organisers consider a move away from generic mixed genres to niche ones? What are the key benefits to organisers in pursuing this route and what challenges will they face in doing so.

Many music festivals have seen great growth over the years as a result of curating mixed genre artists. This approach has broadened the target audience resulting in increased ticket volumes and revenue. However, the rise in artist's fees and the costs of putting on a festival have not been balanced with a corresponding rise in ticket sales. Any organiser faced with cancelling their event may wish to consider converting to a smaller more niche genre festival to increase their chances of survival.

The competition between mixed genre festivals can be intense with so many events taking place in the summer months many on the same weekend dates. Shifting to a more niche genre theme will inevitably mean facing less competition making it easier to attract audiences looking for that unique experience. There will still be competing festivals but with sensible scheduling a clash of dates can be achieved. 

Artist Curation. 
Finding and booking artists for a particular niche can present its own challenges with potentially limited choice. Curation managers will need to have experience in the chosen genre knowing which artists are likely to draw the intended audience. Focussing on a specific niche allows organisers to concentrate on producing a high-quality line-up that more closely aligns with festival-goer expectations. A niche focus can also be extended to other festival features like workshops, art, and activities related to the chosen genre. 

Audience Engagement. 
When considering making a music festival with more niche genres it is essential to fully understand the target audience and the artists driving that scene. Fans of niche genres are likely to have higher loyalty to their chosen music and a festival that focusses on this can expect a higher rate of returning customer. Engagement with relevant artists and channels that promote the chosen niche genre can increase reach to a target audience. Being actively involved in all aspects of a niche music genre can help build a loyal community of followers over time. 

Challenges in Going Niche. 
The most obvious difference for a niche music festival is the lower audience numbers which inevitably will result in lower overall sales revenue. However, costs can be drastically reduced so profitability may increase. Securing a headline act for a particular genre can be difficult because of their availability and the reduced overall number of artists to choose from. 

Specialist Vendors and Sponsors. 
By having a niche genre music festival organisers will need to consider who their target sponsors and vendors are likely to be. Organisers may be able to offer better deals because of their reduced costs. With very specific demographics organisers can offer access to specialist markets which can be very attractive to companies wishing to target that niche with their products and services. 

Switching from a mixed genre to a niche genre theme for music festivals can increase festival-goer loyalty and result in a stronger audience community. There is less competition and costs can be lower increasing the chances for longer term survival. 

For festival organisers planning their events 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.

Image by bbolender via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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