Fans Want More Sustainable Festivals, Major Study From Ticketmaster Finds


– Waste reduction at festivals is the number one concern for fans this summer: two thirds of festival-goers want to see festival waste reduced 

– Over a third of fans admit to leaving their tents behind at a festival, believing they will be recycled

– This study follows the launch of Live Nation Entertainment’s pledge to reduce the environmental impact of festivals

– Findings also show the majority of festival-goers want more gender diversity in line-ups 

Ticketmaster’s study can be found on the Ticketmaster UK blog

Ticketmaster, the leading retailer of festival tickets, has today released its State of Play: Festivals study, which surveyed 4,000 festival-goers across the country to get their thoughts on the UK festival landscape. The report offers insight into fans’ attitudes towards pressing issues like sustainability and gender representation at festivals, as well as their views on food, drink, romance, new music discovery and the overall festival experience. 

In 2019, socially conscious fans are more concerned about the effect festivals have on the environment than anything else. Two in three festival-goers (62%) said that waste reduction, with better recycling facilities, at festivals is their number one priority going into summer 2019.

This is despite the fact that more than a third of fans (38%) admit to leaving their tents behind at a festival. Almost the same number (36%) say they do so assuming they will be recycled.

While the younger generation have been at the forefront of climate change action in recent months with the Extinction Rebellion protests and the global School Strike for Climate, Ticketmaster’s research shows that older festival fans are most concerned with the environmental impact of festivals. 63% of over 55-year olds say they want to see waste at festivals reduced, compared to 40% of 16 to 19-year olds. 

Public awareness of climate change is as high as it’s ever been, with governments and organisations facing mounting pressure to do more to reduce the negative impact society has on the planet. In response to this, Live Nation Entertainment recently announced its own global sustainability coalition, ‘Green Nation,’ whose charter commits to reducing the negative environmental impact often associated with live events including waste generation and single-use plastics, energy and water use, transport and food sourcing. Among the commitments laid out in the charter is the elimination of all single use plastics at Live Nation festivals, which include Reading and Leeds, Download and Latitude Festival, by 2021. 

Gender Representation 
Ticketmaster’s study reveals that the environment is not the only concern for socially conscious festival-goers, with inclusivity of festival line-ups also on the agenda. 41% of festival-goers say they want more diversity in line-ups, with almost a third (29%) saying they consider the gender parity of line-ups before buying a ticket. 

Interestingly, men are more concerned than women when it comes to gender representation (32% of men compared to 28% of women). 

Fan Behaviour
Ticketmaster’s latest findings come as fans flock in the thousands to festivals this summer with half of Brits (48%) having been to a festival at least once in their life and 37% having attended a festival since 2016. A fifth of Brits (20%) would also rather go to a festival than on a holiday. 

While festivals have traditionally been seen as places where fans go to let loose, the findings show that festival-goers are drinking less. Teetotal Brits now account for a substantial amount of festival-goers, with 3 in 10 preferring non-alcoholic drinks. 25% said they drink more than 10 units in a festival day (the equivalent of about five pints), compared to 30% in 2012. 

More than a quarter of fans (28%) also admit they are more likely to socialise with their ‘tent neighbours’ than their neighbours back home, showing that festivals seem to bring out our softer side. 

The Music
Festivals are highly influential when it comes to propelling new talent into stardom; three in five festival-goers (62%) said they begin listening to artists they heard first at a festival.

But while festivals continue to open emerging talent up to new audiences, fans still dream of seeing established acts in headline slots. Respondents were given free rein to choose their dream festival act and previous favourites Coldplay came out on top, having also come first in the same poll seven years ago. 

When asked how much fans are willing to pay to see their dream headliner, South-Korean pop sensation BTS, fresh from their Wembley sell-out gigs, came out on top with fans willing to pay up to four figures.

Festival Gripes
It seems that festivals have paid attention to fans’ calls for the dreaded festival toilet to be improved. In 2012, two thirds of people (66%) said festivals needed to improve toilet facilities, compared to just 37% in 2019. Other gripes include people taking photos at festivals – amusingly though 12% of fans who take and post photos or videos themselves find it annoying when others do. 

Sex and Romance
The findings show that Brits enjoy getting it on at festivals. Two fifths of people (37%) have hooked up at a festival, with a fifth (17%) doing so with someone they met at the event. 

Encouragingly, those who take showers at festivals are more likely to get lucky at a festival (45%) than those who don’t (36%). 

Festivals can also be a place to make longer lasting connections, with nearly one in ten festival-goers (7%) starting a relationship with someone they met at a festival.

Jo Whiley, DJ and broadcaster, said:“It is well known that the UK loves a music festival more than anywhere else in the world – which can be attributed to the incredible music, the atmosphere and the lifelong memories made. I’ve been going to festivals for a long time and in recent years there has been a radical and long overdue rethink in the way they are run. The good news from Ticketmaster’s report is that while we still see festivals as a place where you can let your hair down and enjoy quality time with friends or family, we’re finally thinking harder about (or – we’ve woken up to) the impact festivals have socially and environmentally. It’s so encouraging to see that issues like diversity in line-ups and sustainability are part of the equation when people decide which festival they want to go to, and even more encouraging that organisers are already responding to this.”

Andrew Parsons, UK MD of Ticketmaster, said:British summer wouldn’t be what it is without festivals and these findings give us an insight into what festival fans really want. While it’s mostly all about the music and having a great time, I’m not surprised and encouraged to see fans wanting more action on sustainability issues and line-up equality. Festivals have always been a microcosm of wider society and with the continued rise of social consciousness we expect fans will only become more demanding of festivals to get it right.”

Victoria Chapman, Head of Sustainability at Festival Republic, said:“It’s impossible to ignore the effects of climate change, so it’s a huge positive to see that sustainability came out as the number one concern for festival-goers this year. It is imperative that festival organisers look at how they can minimise the environmental impact of their events and work together with fans to enjoy an amazing festival experience whilst respecting the planet.”

Ticketmaster’s Festival Finder guide is dedicated to everything festivals for 2019. Use the exclusive filtering system to discover the perfect festival this summer

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About Live Nation Entertainment:
Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit

About Ticketmaster:
Ticketmaster is the global market leader in live event ticketing, digital marketing, and mobile fan engagement tools that drive over 500 million tickets to fans in 29 countries. 
Ticketmaster is an MRS Company Partner. All MRS Company Partners and their employees agree to adhere to the MRS Code of Conduct and MRS Company Partner Quality Commitment whilst undertaking research.

Mel Perrett
0207 9804 387
[email protected]