New figures from event management platform Eventbrite have revealed a sharp increase in boutique and micro-festivals, with the number of festival events rising by 400 per cent in the last four years.
In 2018, Eventbrite listed more than 200 gin festivals in the UK, while the number of beer-related festivals quadrupled from 2014 to 2018. The number of food festivals, covering everything from cheese to oysters, has risen by 600 per cent in the last four years.
In total, more than 18,000 festival events have been listed on the site in the last three years.
Britt Collins, founder of London cat festival Catfest, commented: “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 at Eventbrite, added: “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.”