Is There A Lot Of Money In Music Festivals?

beginning a music festivalA festival isn’t cheap to organize and yet new music festivals are springing up all the time – so is it worth it for you to start your own music festival?

A love of music and a background in events may be all you need to set up your own festival. Is it the money-spinning career every music-loving entrepreneur should be pursuing, or are the profits not as large as they may seem?

Here’s some advice for anyone looking to enter the world of music festival organisation.

Live Music is Lucrative – For Musicians

With less people buying singles and albums and the likes of Spotify producing few royalties, live music has become the only way for most musicians to make decent pay.

Live music has become the only way for most musicians to make decent pay #musicbiz Click To Tweet

Ticket sales have gone up to make up for this and musicians get a larger cut than before. There’s also the opportunity to sell merchandise at these events. As a result, touring a lot can be very lucrative for musicians. But what does this mean for festival organizers and promoters?

There’s a Ton of Money at the Top

The big festivals already have a name for themselves, so ticket sales are all but guaranteed year-in year-out.

For those looking to enter the festival industry, these can be a good place to start and learn the key skills, whilst being guaranteed a decent wage.

Small Festival Saturation

Unfortunately, small festivals often find it harder to make a profit – with many even having to cancel last minute due to being unable to fund all the expenses involved.

This is largely due to a saturation of small festivals, with more and more cropping up every year. As a result, some festivals aren’t able to drag in the audiences, as there are so many to compete against.

The Importance of a Good Line-up

Quite often, a good line-up with big headliners will attract the ticket sales. Makes sense, right?

Festival talent buying has become a skill and involves knowing where to look and how much to pay musicians. The most popular musicians will often charge the greatest rates, meaning that negotiating skills are key so that there’s enough of a budget left to spend on other things.

Of course, good ticket sales can make up for this and in some cases generate a large profit. It’s a balancing act which requires strong forecasting skills – it’s not as simple as paying more for top talent and selling more tickets, there is a point where paying too much for any talent isn’t worth it.

Every act has a correct cost based on their current drawing ability, pay too much, even for someone as hot as Ariana Grande, and you’ll find yourself in the red.

Seeking Out Sponsorship

Funding a festival costs a lot of money and often getting the sponsors is essential.

With more money to utilize, festival organizers can afford to buy the big names and provide top quality services at the festival that will give it a good reputation to keep the festival running for the next year.

But it’s not as simple as calling up Verizon and asking for 100,000 in sponsorship dollars. Start small, start local, and after a few years of delivering results it’ll be easier to turn to bigger sponsors.

Starting a music festival isn’t easy, but if music and event management is your passion, find an under-served yet popular niche and start to carve out a music festival in support of your idea.

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Is There A Lot Of Money In Music Festivals?
If you love music and event management you may be tempted to start your own music festival...but should you?
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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.