“The live music market is flourishing even as sales of recorded music have mouldered. Between 2012 and 2013 it grew by a quarter, according to the Performing Right Society for Music, an industry body. Gig-goers now spend more than £1 billion ($1.7 billion) a year on tickets and almost half that again on food, drink and the like. Festivals make up a large chunk of this. In the early 1990s Britain had few of them, recalls Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, a promoter. Around 450 will take place this year. The festival season, once limited to July and August, now stretches until early autumn. On the first weekend of September four festivals battle it out.
All this is changing the way the music industry works. Festivals are increasingly seen as a way to test whether big-name artists have enough fans to warrant arena tours, says Rebecca Kane of the 02, a large venue in London. Newer names find them essential: Clean Bandit, a British band who brought out their first album this year, are performing at around 20 festivals this summer. And music executives are increasingly taking into account how successfully they think artists will perform at big outdoor gigs before deciding to sign them.”