As the UK gears up for festival season, figures from Eventbrite reveal that the number of niche / boutique festivals on the ticketing and event technology platform has increased by nearly 400% over the past four years, as Brits crave the cool and quirky underground subcultures.

Key findings:

Eventbrite reveals weird and wonderful micro gatherings – from toe wrestling and Chinese dragon boat festivals – are increasing YoY

The number of events on Eventbrite that describe themselves as “festival” has risen by nearly 400 percent from 2014-2018

The number of festivals on Eventbrite celebrating all things food, with everything from cheese to oysters, has risen by over 600 percent over the last four years.

In 2018 alone, Eventbrite listed more than 200 gin festivals in the UK

The number of boutique music festivals on Eventbrite has grown to over 1000 events last year

The number of beer related festivals on Eventbrite has quadrupled from 2014 to 2018

The numbers suggest that more and more event-goers are choosing niche themed events which celebrate their passions and hone in on their personal interests.

Festivals dedicated to gin, food, Prosecco and beer have soared in popularity with the number of food festivals on Eventbrite rising by more than 600% since 2014.

The number of beer festivals listed on Eventbrite has more than quadrupled across the UK from 2014 to 2018, and last year alone, Eventbrite listed more than 200 gin festivals in Great Britain.

According to Eventbrite, more than 18,000 ‘festival’ events have been listed on the site in the last three years. And there’s now a festival for just about every weird and wonderful interest, from happiness and wellness celebrations, to cheese festivals, knitting festivals and even toe wrestling.

Another quirky event, the UK’s first Catfest returns for a second year running this June. Its tickets sold-out in less than two days of going on sale.

Britt Collins, founder of London cat festival Catfest, commented on the success of the feline boutique festival: “The beauty of boutique festivals is that they really bring like-minded groups of people together and offer an escape from some of the big, corporate rivals that don’t always have the same sense of community.

“They are also brilliant examples of how you can turn anything into an amazing event. Last summer I created Catfest, a festival that combines cats and pop culture, while helping animals in need. I had no idea that it would become as successful as it now is. The minute I uploaded the festival to Eventbrite, it drew lots of press and sold out very quickly. We’ve had people so passionate about cats that they’ve bought tickets and travelled from all over Europe, America, Japan, the Middle East and even Australia to be at our festival. In fact, tickets have sold out so quickly we’re considering adding a second day to the festival next summer.”

Joel Crouch, VP Europe Eventbrite, said: “Over the past few years, we have seen a strong increase in the number of festivals listed on our ticketing platform. And it’s not just live music driving the scene – it’s striking how many event creators are using the ‘festival’ forum to celebrate their hobbies and passion projects. With many starting as small gatherings, we are now seeing events grow year after year and turn into actual festivals themselves. The rise in local gin and beer festivals is one of the notable trends here.

“Attending a festival used to be a serious expense and required ample planning time. Nowadays, the increasing variety of festival themes and categories means consumers can take a more experimental approach.

“Whether it’s a drag queen festival in London or a Harry Potter festival in Liverpool – boutique festivals allow people to either make money – and even careers – out of their hobbies, or find new things to try where they can meet new people and unearth their hidden passions.”