Social networks ‘vital for festivals’, organisers say

Live UK Summit

Social networks are vital communication channels for festival organisers, Live Nation Chief Operating Officer (COO) John Probyn has said.

Speaking at a Live UK Summit panel session in London’s West End, Probyn stated that online communities are a key way to interact with music fans and road-test new ventures.

Fellow panel member, John Giddings, promoter of Isle of Wight Festival, said festival marketing is ‘all about social networking’ and that other forms of advertising are fast becoming redundant in the digital age.

‘Adverts in newspapers are meaningless and end up in the chip shop the same day. Twitter, Facebook and Radio advertising are what it’s all about,’ he explained.

Probyn added: ‘With social media, you can measure every single ticket which is sold – this is the future’.

The panel made the comments while discussing the importance of branding for festivals, following the recent news of Glastonbury selling out in record time without any acts being unveiled.

All agreed that while many events do rely on the quality of the line up, the appeal of Glastonbury is based on more than music.

Giddings said: ‘Some festivals are a right of passage for people and an experience you can never repeat as you’re growing up.’

The music industry professionals were participating in a panel session discussing the health of the festival circuit, in what has been widely acknowledged as a tough year for such events.

The Olympics, Queen’s Jubilee and the weather have all been blamed for the cancellation of certain festivals – Creamfields and Bloc were shut down while the likes of Guildfest and the Hop Farm went bust.

Later in the panel debate, the Live Nation COO said a number of factors surrounding festivals throw the future of big live events into some uncertainty.

Increasing artist fees and insurance costs means ticket prices are likely to rise, and with a restless economic future, it is difficult to anticipate what will happen to the festival circuit.

Probyn: ‘No matter what we do, in another year something else will happen – snow for example – there’s always something … all you can do is plan as much as you can on the knowledge you’ve got. And each time something happens, you factor it into your plan for the next time.’