The AIF’s latest UK festival ownership map has revealed that just under 30% (29.03%) of the market is controlled by two major companies, Live Nation and AEG presents. Live Nation controls 22.81% of the sector, with a gap of 16.29% between the major and its closest competitor.

AIF members now represent 19.49% of UK festivals over 5,000 capacity. James Barton’s Superstruct is a new entry and the second largest UK festival operator with 6.52% of the market having acquired a number of festivals earlier this year including Boardmasters, Tramlines, Victorious, and Truck Festival.

The Association of Independent Festivals has today launched an updated festival ownership map at its annual Festival Congress event in Sheffield.

The map shows several shifts in the sector in 2019, revealing that almost 30% of the UK market is controlled by transnational companies Live Nation and AEG presents.

AIF’s 2019 ownership map illustrates that Live Nation owns or controls 22.81% of the sector. Due to the overall growth of the market, more data becoming available and the cancellation of Rize festival (90,000 cap), Live Nation’s overall share by capacity has decreased from 25.26% in 2018 – despite the major company making further festival acquisitions in 2018 and 2019 including Camp Bestival and Rewind.

The gap between Live Nation and its nearest competitor, Superstruct Entertainment, is now 16.29% after Global exited the festival business earlier this year, with its events being split between Broadwick Live and Superstruct.

Superstruct is now the second biggest operator in the field, with its share of UK festivals over 5,000 capacity at 6.52%. The company entered the UK market through taking majority ownership of a number of festivals formerly owned by Global Festivals including Boardmasters, Victorious, Tramlines, Kendal Calling and Truck Festival.

Superstruct is followed by AEG Presents, which has increased its market share to 6.22% (up from 5.00% last year).

29.03% of the market is owned by AEG and Live Nation, both US headquartered transnational companies.

Live Nation also owns Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketing company, and promoted 35,000 concerts globally in 2018.

Meanwhile, AEG owns ticketing company AXS, produces or supports more than 25 music festivals and owns, manages or books more than 90 clubs and theaters around the world hosting more than 10,000 shows annually.

By comparison, AIF members (which includes some but not all UK Superstruct festivals in its membership) account for 19.49% of the market over 5,000 capacity. The remaining 49.53% consists of festivals not major owned and non-AIF members.

The map is based on a capacity survey of 210 UK festivals over 5,000 capacity, with an overall capacity of four million three hundred seventy-one thousand one hundred and eighty-three.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “Despite some significant shifts in the UK festival market over the past year, the dominance of Live Nation remains hugely concerning. It’s our intention to carry out this competition health check for our sector annually to track the industry and in order to keep attention on this important issue.

“AIF is a growing community now representing almost 20% of festivals over 5,000 capacity in the UK, and the independent sector is in a strong place despite the encroaching and unrelenting dominance of the major companies and the restrictions that can arise from this.

“However, we repeat our warning: Allowing a single company to dominate festivals, and the live music sector in general through vertical integration results in a stranglehold that stifles competition throughout the sector.”

 About AIF

National trade organisation The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is the UK’s leading festival representative body. Founded in 2008, the combined attendance of AIF’s 65-member events exceeds 785,000, with members contributing over £200m to the UK economy annually. AIF provides a vital support network for independent festivals promoters through members meetings, public facing campaigns and lobbying, producing conferences and training events and providing business support services to members. AIF member festivals include some of the most successful and innovative festivals in the UK including the likes of Boomtown Fair, Shambala, Boardmasters, End of the Road, Bluedot and many more.

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