The Sounds of Data
One thing is certain: if you are planning to go to a festival this summer, Queens of the Stone Age is the one band you will not miss. They are set to appear in 15 major music events across Europe, always as headliners. Boring, right?
This is what 14% of gig-goers think ahead of the new festival season. A third will not attend one this year, and the main reason is that too many events are staging the same acts. Meanwhile, they are getting too expensive.
Your money’s worth
A recent survey by YouGov revealed that, despite high levels of satisfaction with live music events, only one in ten respondents consider festivals as great value for money. For 35% they are simply too pricey.
“Personally, I prefer smaller or foreign festivals now, because they usually are cheaper and you can see a lot of decent bands before they get big,” said Jack Dutton, 22, a music journalist in London. “One of my favourites is the Great Escape Festival in Brighton. For around £50, you get a weekend ticket and a choice of over 400 bands. I see that as a more attractive option than paying £200 for a festival such as Latitude.”
Max Frey, 25, an experienced international festival goer based in Belgium, attended Primavera in Barcelona this year – for a change, because the Belgian offer became too mainstream. “I’ve been to Belgian festivals so often that they automatically seem repetitive to me,” Max said. “Apart from one or two headliners I really want to see, the line-ups are always the same: Arctic Monkeys or Red Hot Chili Peppers – the kind of music to please everyone.”
Tune in and reach out
So where to go, if at all? Our interactive graphic allows you to explore which festivals are best value for money. You can compare countries, specific festivals and search for affordable events by adjusting the ticket price slide on the right.
It is easy to spot that the music festival scene in Europe is varied enough to cater for all budgets.
But while awesome line-ups of Eastern- and Central-European festivals attract with their cheap passes, Nordic countries are simply a rip-off.
Norway, Denmark and Sweden will set you back no less than £100 per event – which is much if you consider that only half of their festivals rank better than an average of 72 on the line-up quality scale. Switzerland is hardly any better with its third most costly Paléo Festival in Nyon (£230). So think twice before booking your tickets.
And maybe look east? Poland’s Off and Coke Live Music Festival, Slovakia’s Pohoda, Latvia’s Positivus as well as Czech Republic’s Colours of Ostrava and Rock for People will all satisfy your music appetite for less than £75. Down south, Serbia and Portugal will keep your expenses under £100, at the same time offering great weather and delicious food.
Ania Lyszcz, 23, attended small music events in Stockholm, Porto and Berlin, but one festival she keeps coming back to is Polish Open’er. “It’s cheaper compared to other European festivals while the line-up is equally good,” she said. Yet she seems bored, too. “It was exciting to see big names when I started going to festivals, but now there’s not much more to see for me. Smaller, independent festivals are usually a good alternative.”
The good news is that there are also plenty of festivals in the middle-range price in Ireland (like the brand-new Longitude Festival), France, Finland, Croatia and the Netherlands. Belgium and Germany host so many that whatever your budget, you will find a festival you can go to (and get to see Queens of the Stone Age) without being too concerned with your wallet’s well-being.
Pick and go
Clearly, it is hard to imagine choosing your summer festival based solely on how much it costs to go. All of you will check the line-ups first to see where your favourite bands go, but it might be useful to see whether you can get the same thing at a much lower price elsewhere. Or what extras are scheduled during the festivals.
That is because the exodus of festival goers puts a lot of pressure on event organisers, who have already started some fine-tuning by adding fashion shows, vinyl sales and poetry readings to the programmes in a bid to attract more audiences. Now the challenge is to make the visitors return for more.
Line-up quality has been calculated based on Metacritic’s score for particular bands in the line-up. Only bands rated on the website contributed to the final score, the remaining ones were excluded from the calculations. If none of the bands performing at a specific festival was rated on the website, the festival was awarded a score of 50.
Ticket price corresponds to an adult’s festival pass covering all days of the festival (or – if unavailable – the latest ticket option available at the time of compiling the data). Where possible, we picked tickets without camping or transport included.