A newly published festival ownership map for 2019 from the Association of Independent Festivals, the national non-profit association and the the UK’s leading festival representative body, shows that more than 30 percent of music festivals across the UK are controlled by just three companies.
The map notes that nearly 30 percent of the UK market is controlled by promoter giants Live Nation and AEG Presents. Live Nation owns or controls 22.81 percent of that sector – although the company’s overall share decreased in 2018 despite its list of festival acquisitions that year. The gap between Live Nation and its next competitor, Superstruct Entertainment, is 16.29 percent, making Superstruct the second biggest operator in the field following Global’s exit from the business this year.
Additionally, Live Nation and AEG control 29.03 percent of the market, and each control their own ticketing company. Live Nation’s Ticketmaster has promoted 35,000 concerts in 2018, followed by AXS, which hosts more than 10,000 shows annually.
This means that AIF members control 19.49 percent of the market and the other 49.53 percent consists of non-AIF members that are not majorly owned. AIF CEO Paul Reed said in a statement that the dominance of Live Nation within the UK festival market is “hugely concerning” and the organization hopes to continue to track the sector annually to bring attention to the stark difference in control.
“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,” Reed said. “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 strangehold that stifles competition throughout the sector.”