Words by Scott Jameson, group managing director at GL events

Once again, we’re basking in a summer of outstanding events, with some excellent weather (as I write!) to support it. For us, there is never a better time to be in the events infrastructure business than the summer. Although it’s gruelling work, we get to see the country come alive with great events, festivals, cultural events, and sporting extravaganzas.

As both a business leader, and someone who is intrinsically involved with the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA), I’m constantly on the lookout for new things; trends, products, businesses, and people, that are making waves and doing things differently in this great industry. One of the trends we spotted last year is certainly showing no sign of abating, and that is the move to premium for many consumers that attend events.

This is mostly visible for us in the high-quality structures that we’re being asked to create for corporate hospitality; be it golf, racing or major sporting tournaments that visit the UK. Every year our clients are challenging us to produce more exclusive, luxurious and high-premium designs, both inside and outside, to support the creation of some outstanding hospitality opportunities.

But this trend is not just limited to premium hospitality; it’s also about more value for every ticket sold, and the need for the event organiser to create higher standards of day-to-day service and product offerings for a more discerning consumer. This isn’t a trend across the board – but we are seeing it gradually seeping into most events we’re involved in.

This is well demonstrated with the recent work we undertook for Live Nation and Co-op; a brilliant initiative that saw the creation of temporary stores on site at the company’s key festivals. This is a great innovation from Co-op and Live Nation, and replicated a trend we have seen at festivals on the continent. It’s a move that may disgruntle some of the more hardy festival purists, but it’s a great option for many who attend festivals. Why not have the option to buy home comforts, fresh food, drinks etc. while at a festival, especially if the brand is willing and able to come to meet them on their doorstep.

The early reports on the partnership have been really positive. There is clearly a consumer appetite, and the folks at Co-op have introduced DJ’s and live music into the stores in keeping with the wider festival experience, even the food in the outlet has been tailored to meet the demographics of the festival’s audience.

For us, both the corporate hospitality, and the opportunity to work with amazing brands like Live Nation and the Co-op is great news for our business. But it’s also a great opportunity for the wider events community. Festivals and sporting events are constantly changing and we want every spectator or visitor to have the very best experience and to continue to see value in attending live events. This move to premium gives us all that opportunity.      

We talk a lot in NOEA about value and the need for us to show it, or inject it into the industry. This trend is all about value, and it’s something we should keep an eye on and contribute to where we can.


Which major UK festivals are you planning on attending this year?