Supermarkets are coming to a festival near you, but is this a convenience too far?
Festivals are increasingly becoming a home away from home, with event sites resembling your home city, but with more grass.
Popping down to the local Co-op is the latest everyday occurrence to translate into your festival life. But is this a fridge too far for festivals?
Co-op last month announced an exclusive partnership with Live Nation to become the first UK food retailer to have a supermarket at four major summer music festivals.
Download, Latitude, and Reading and Leeds festivals will all welcome the convenience retailer into their grounds for the first time. The deal will see Co-op operate a 560sqm shop at each of the four festivals to cater for 200,000 festival goers.
Each store will stock a wide range of items, including food, water, beer and wine, toiletries including medicines and, to cover all eventualities, both sun cream and rain ponchos.
Amanda Jennings, director of marketing communications, Co-op says: “This industry-first deal puts Co-op at the heart of festival communities this summer. It shows our ambition to reach out to new and younger customers, providing essential and quality products. Co-op is all about being close to the customer and it doesn’t get much closer than being right outside your tent.”
Melvin Benn, MD Festival Republic says: “We want festival-goers to have the best possible experience while at our events and are always looking for partnerships that enhance this. Having an environmentally-conscious food retailer like Co-op onsite will give fans easy access to all the products they need while at our festival campsites, while reinforcing our green principles. We look forward to working closely with Co-op throughout the summer.”
However, the wider industry has been sceptical of having such builds at their own events. Alun Mainwaring, head of events and filming, The Royal Parks tells Access he’s not received an approach from supermarkets to appear on site, but adds that guidelines within each event vary, but make such a venture unlikely to be green-lighted.
“At Winter Wonderland, for example, there might be one retail outlet there, due to the sponsor, but we wouldn’t put in a supermarket. We try to make event sites as pretty as possible. It’s amazing what food options are out there now, with really unique suppliers catering for every requirement. And that’s all part of coming to events. My initial thought is that having a supermarket doesn’t feel that special.”
Luke Huxham, Portmeirion’s Festival No 6 organiser, says the idea might suit some festivals. He tells Access: “At Festival No.6 we pride ourselves on introducing things you’d never see anywhere else. We’re trying to do something different. But, there’s two sides of fence with festivals. Many are very anti corporate, others will see the value. If a brand has a reason to be there and adds value, giving something new to audience that they wouldn’t have, then there’s a strong argument for having it. The cost of festivals is high and brand money is important. Some brands work at some festivals, others not so much.