How Much Does a Music Festival Cost to Put On? 18 Expenses to Plan For - Billetto Blog (2023)

How much do festivals cost to run? We’ll attempt to answer that question in this article, in case you’re playing with the thought of running a music festival.

Read on to learn…

  • The average cost of staging a music festival
  • How to determine the cost of your own
  • Different ways you can cover the expenses

Billetto is a ticketing platform that helps you manage, promote, and host events. Set up an event page and start selling tickets in 5 minutes.

What is the average cost of staging a music festival?

It’s as difficult to calculate as the length of a piece of string. Music festivals range from small local festivals to large behemoths like Glastonbury.

There are also precious few music festival budgets available online—none, in fact—but fortunately, some organisers have kindly supplied bits of information.

In 2014, Glastonbury saw £37.3 million in revenues be reduced to just £86,000 in profits. Needless to say, organising a music festival is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

How to determine the cost of running your own music festival

Now that we have a ballpark figure of what the average music festival costs, you’re probably interested in a music festival budget breakdown. Let’s see what music festival expenses look like in detail.

(Video) Assignment 4

1. Performers

The cost of booking your festival acts will vary the most. This booking agency lists their booking fees as ranging between £300–£2000 per band. But famous acts can cost you a much larger amount.

2. Site hire

Unless you’re able to strike a good deal with a local farm, you’ll have to hire a festival venue. These can cost you around £100 per person per day, or around £5000 per day fixed-price.

3. Staging

How much does a stage cost for a festival? Small ones can be hired for £700, medium ones will set you back around £1,500–£3,000, whereas the biggest ones can cost as much as £20,000. Here are a few stage suppliers to consider:

4. Utilities

Expect to spend £60,000–£100,000 on electricity alone for a festival of 10,000 people. Although you don’t have to give out free water, you still need to pay for the toilet and shower water on top.

5. Waste disposal

The same festival with 10,000 attendees will also produce a lot of rubbish that you have to clean up. Set aside another £30,000 just to clean up the environment after the festivities.

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6. Printing and signage

Signage, banners, and other printed materials are surprisingly cheap compared to all the other expenses. Let’s call it £1,000 for our music festival with 10,000 attendees.

7. Marketing

Most B2C businesses spend around 16% of their gross annual revenueon marketing. Since Glastonbury has a revenue of around £37 million, they’d have spent around £5.5 million on marketing.

8. Technology

You’ll need a ticketing app to help you manage ticket sales and gather attendee insights. But you’ll also want to invest in admin tools for your team, so set aside another £1,000 for that.

9. Equipment hire

You can get a festival PA package for hirefor around £850, but that only covers one stage. Multiply that amount by the number of stages you plan on setting up for your music festival.

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10. Insurance

You’d think that insurance premiums would sky-rocket with so many people attending a music festival. But you can, in fact, get insurance for as little as £62 for a festival of up to 20,000 attendees.

11. Permits and licences

You’ll need to apply for a licence from PRS and PPL if you want to put on a festival in the UK. The government also want a piece of the pie, but the cost will depend on your music festival.

12. Infrastructure

Infrastructure is taken care of with indoor festivals. Outdoor festivals may require you to build roads and parking lots, which can set you back £250,000 for your 10,000 people festival.

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13. Security

Unsurprisingly, 10,000 drunk festival-goers pose a serious security risk. The Isle of Wight festival spent £1 million on police and private security firms, so it can quickly get expensive.

14. Photography & videography

There will be plenty of Kodak moments at your festival, so you should make sure to capture them. Each videographer will cost you around £750 per day, so multiply that by days and staff.

15. Staffing

People can’t just run around unsupervised, so you’ll need staff to keep them in check. While there are companies that specialise in festival staff hire, you can also recruit volunteers.

Phew, that should cover it….

… But wait, there’s more.

16. VAT

Before you begin calculating the price of your music festival tickets, you should remember that the government wants its 20% VAT. That has to be added on top of the ticket price.

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17. PRS

PRS (formerly “Performing Right Society”)wants some money (in addition to the licences they sold you), so set aside another 3% of your ticket sale revenue to pay them off as well.

18. Weather

Remember the summer of 2012? No fewer than 57 music festivals were cancelled due to the bad weather. That’s after they’d paid all the costs we just described. Talk about an anticlimax.

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7 music festival revenue streams you should use

Now that we’ve gone over the depressingly huge sums you’d have to shell out for the love of music, it’s time to look at some ways you can recoup those investments.

1. Tickets

Ticket sales are the obvious revenue stream, but it’s not as lucrative as you might imagine. Wychwood only covers 60% of their expenses through tickets despite their high price point.

2. Glampers

Mud, sweat, and tears are not for everyone. More and more people are happy to pay for “glamping” facilities, which include air-conditioned tents, comfy beds, and private toilets.

3. Sponsorships

You can charge festival sponsors anywhere from a few hundred quid to £20,000 for a headliner sponsorship package. You’d still need quite a few headline sponsors to make it work.

4. Merchandise

The music acts will no doubt sell their branded merchandise after their performance. You should follow suit. Create your own music festival merchandise and sell as much as you can.

5. Traders

You can also let external companies sell their gear at your festival. Attendees will appreciate having mementos to buy, and you can charge the traders £300–400 per trade stall.

6. Catering

Food is a necessity, so you can make a decent revenue if you sell your own at the festival. But you can also pull in an external catering company and charge them rent for selling their food.

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7. Bars

Booze is the special ingredient that makes a music festival magical. Be sure to set up a few bars so you can accommodate the thirsty festival-goers when they run out of their own supplies.

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Tools to help you calculate the budget for a festival

All of these expenditures and revenue streams can be difficult to keep tabs on. We’ve pulled in a few tools to help you calculate the cost of your music festival.

Here are some festival budget templates you can use to help you out:

Tip: You can also refer to our guide on how to manage event budgets for additional guidance.

Billetto is a ticketing platform that helps you manage, promote, and host events. Set up an event page and start selling tickets in 5 minutes.

Ready for summer vibes?

As you can see, it’s not a dance on roses to organise a music festival. It’s very difficult to just break even and almost impossible to make a profit.

Know anyone who’s organised their own music festival and turned a profit? Let us know in the comments section below.


How much does it cost to put on a music festival? ›

On top of that, costs for issuing grants to local artists, safety expenses, ticket servicing and occupancy — including utility bills — each range from about $1.3 million to $1.7 million. "Lesser" costs like performance supplies, taxes, travel, maintenance and depreciation clock in at about $200,000 to $600,000 each.

How do you do a festival on a budget? ›

Best hacks to save money at music festivals
  1. Set a daily budget. ...
  2. Set aside an emergency fund. ...
  3. Leave your expensive clothes at home. ...
  4. Look out for free phone charging stations. ...
  5. Bring your own phone charger. ...
  6. Keep your money safe. ...
  7. Don't buy a festival programme. ...
  8. Avoid using ATMs and bring cash instead.
1 Jun 2022

How much does it cost to Organise Glastonbury? ›

The current licence authorises one event per year which is usually held in June. There is an annual license fee of £32,000 which is paid to the Council to recover the costs incurred in undertaking the licensing processing and monitoring of the festival.

How much profit do music festivals make? ›

With 29.63 million U.S. dollars in revenue, Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival was the highest grossing festival in the world in 2019, followed by Life is Beautiful Festival and Lollapalooza Brazil, which made 17.7 and 14.48 million dollars respectively.

How much does it cost to sponsor a festival? ›

At small, regional events, you may be able to find sponsorship opportunities ranging from $500 to $5,000. The value you get from those sponsorships is up to you to determine. If you are interested in sponsoring larger activations where the exposure is much greater, the cost is also exponentially greater.

How long does it take to plan a music festival? ›

Make an event timeline for your festival.

Begin planning the event six or more months in advance. Secure big picture items such as festival goals, theme, and musicians three to six months out. Solidify details such as caterers, permits, and extra activities one to three months out.

How do music festivals save money? ›

How to save money at music festivals
  1. Tickets. Take advantage of presale. ...
  2. Make a budget. Plan ahead and think of how much you're going to spend daily. ...
  3. Don't impulse buy. ...
  4. Pack smart. ...
  5. Avoid ATMs on-site.
27 Jun 2022

How do you keep money safe at a festival? ›

'When you're at a festival, it's best not to keep valuables in visible pockets,' says Jo Hoare (@jojolizzy), author of Festivals: A Survival Guide. 'There have been cases of people being pick-pocketed or having their pockets cut open. Get a secure bag or inside pocket that can't be seen from the outside. '

What does it cost to stage Glastonbury? ›

Bestival organiser Rob Da Bank previously told Somerset Live that Glastonbury's budget is under £500,000 per headliner.

How much does a pitch cost at Glastonbury? ›

We've seen prices start from around £500 for smaller festivals and go up to about £15,000 for events like Glastonbury, so unfortunately there's no definitive answer.

How much does the farmer get paid for Glastonbury? ›

But while Glastonbury attracts globally renowned artists who help fill the festival's coffers with hard-earned cash, its founder pays himself a salary of just £60,000. This salary figure comes from Glastonbury Festival's reported £32m turnover.

What makes a successful festival? ›

Festivals thrive with a community-driven spirit, full of like-minded people, and the energy of a buzzing, connected crowd has is contagious, affecting the entire mood of the festival. A festival audience is heavily dependent on which acts are booked, as well as other entertainment aspects.

How long are sets at music festivals? ›

Performance length varies but typically most evening concerts last approximately two hours, and include an intermission. Our Noon and Saturday evening concerts last approximately one hour and do not have an intermission.

How are festivals funded? ›

Music tourists contribute to the local economy both directly, through purchasing tickets and spending money at the festival, and indirectly such as through travel, accommodation and spending in the local economy.

Are music festivals lucrative? ›

It's a lot more than you might think. Most people believe that music festivals generate a ton of revenue from ticket sales alone. And while ticket sales are a big part of it, they're not the only source of income for these events. Festivals also make money from sponsorships, merchandise sales, and food and drink sales.

How do music events make money? ›

Your biggest revenue boost comes from ticket sales, sponsorships and concessions, so with that in mind, here's how to ensure your music festival is profitable year after year. You've got eyeballs on your ticketing page, but not all of those visitors are buying tickets.

How much money should you ask a sponsor for? ›

Don't sell yourself short.

Ask for $10,000 to $100,000 from each sponsor. "I see people asking for $1,000," she said.

What do sponsors get in return? ›

By sponsoring events, companies enjoy a set of perks that typically include the following: Increased brand exposure through the event itself, event advertising, and media coverage. In-event speaking opportunities that help boost their brand equity. Direct contact with an audience full of relatively warm leads.

How do you price a sponsorship? ›

How to Effectively Price Event Sponsorship Packages
  1. Determine Your Audience Size. ...
  2. Outline Your Sponsorship Packages. ...
  3. Look Up the Market Rate. ...
  4. Consider the Actual Value of the Package. ...
  5. Be Willing to Negotiate. ...
  6. Adjust Your Price Points Over Time. ...
  7. Over to You.

How many hours does it take to plan a large event? ›

The average time it takes to plan a large event is around 300 hours! That is a lot of time—time that not every person has to spare in addition to their careers, families, and time to eat and sleep. An event planning company can take all that time and focus solely on what is best for your project.

How many hours should I plan an event? ›

Event Planner Time Estimates

Creating a budget: 2-4 hours. Selecting a venue and date: 10-20 hours. Creating or acquiring marketing materials: 8-10 hours. Developing a registration process: 5-8 hours.

How much money do you need for Reading Festival? ›

With the ticket, a Reading festival trip will cost you about £500. We include some extra just in case. There are several cash points in and around the festival site, so you don't need to worry if you run out of cash.

How do you not get robbed at a festival? ›

Beware of pick pockets and don't keep valuables in outside pockets whilst in crowds. It's better to keep them in a bumbag or money belt rather than a rucksack. Never leave valuable items in your tent when you are not there. Thieves sometimes unzip tents or cut holes in them to grab things that are easily accessible.

How do you not get robbed at a music festival? ›

Carry your ID, the key to your car, your phone, and enough cash for the show or a single credit card. Keep them in a secure place on your body. If you're really worried, get a money belt and wear it under your clothes. That's it!

How do I find my tent at a festival? ›

To find your tent in the dark, get some battery-operated or Solar Fairy Lights and tie-wrap or tape them securely along the length of your pole. It looks pretty and is very practical too. After several glassed of Pimm's you'll be grateful too! Make sure you get outdoor ones because they will be waterproof.

Do acts get paid at Glastonbury? ›

In 2017, Emily spoke of how the festival's performers are typically paid less than 10 per cent of what they'd usually get for other performances. "We're not in the same bracket as everyone else when it comes to paying artists massive fees," she previously told BBC Radio 6.

How much do headliners make at festivals? ›

Artists get paid anywhere from nothing to $4 million to perform at a festival. Major acts can get paid millions for a single show, supporting acts can get as much as $25K, and lesser-known artists may get nothing but free festival tickets!

How much does it cost to Glamp at Glastonbury? ›

How much does glamping cost at Glastonbury? The cost of Glastonbury glamping will depend on the room you choose, at The Pop Up Hotel our rooms range from £2,499 for a classic room for two people, to £24,999 for our ultimate Tenthouse Suite for up to 8 people.

How much is a beer at Glastonbury? ›

Glastonbury 2022: Bar prices revealed as pints cost £6, wine £8.

How much do food vans make at festivals? ›

The 5% Rule. The festival's size offers the best indicator of success. Food truck vendors can expect to sell one meal for every 20 people at the event. That translates to 5% of the total attendance.

How much does it cost to have a stall at Latitude? ›

Selling at festivals isn't cheap, either. It cost £10,000 for their pitch at Latitude, which had to be paid several months in advance.

Where do Glastonbury profits go? ›

Every year, Glastonbury is partnered with Water Aid, Oxfam, and Greenpeace, and supports more than 750 local charities too. Since 2000, Glastonbury has contributed over £20 million to charities!

Where is the biggest Festival in the world? ›

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Started in 2001, it is among the most famous and largest music festivals in the world. The fest is held every year in the month of April at the Empire Polo Club in California and welcomes approximately 250,000 visitors from different corners of the world.

Where do the cows go when Glastonbury? ›

During the Festival the cows go into the Glastonbury “Moo-tel” for a short stay. The food is put in front of them so it's like being on an all-inclusive holiday, explains herd manager John Taylor, in the video below.

What does a festival consist of? ›

Festival – celebration that focuses upon a theme, and may run for hours to weeks. The theme of a festival might be an area of interest such as art, or an aspect of the community in which the festival is being held, such as the community's history or culture. Festivals are often periodical, for example, held annually.

What is expected at a music festival? ›

Music festivals usually have multiple stages, so there is always something going on. When you go to a music festival, you can expect to see a lot of live music. You'll also find food and drink vendors, as well as stalls selling festival merchandise. And of course, there will be a lot of people!

What are the most important elements of the festival? ›

According to Lee, Lee, Lee and Babin (2008), the factors necessary for festivals are convenience, information, facilities, employees, program content, souvenirs, and food.

How can I improve my festival? ›

9 tips for festival organisers to improve the experience for their customers
  1. Food for the health conscious. ...
  2. Use social media to create a festival community. ...
  3. Create family friendly viewing areas. ...
  4. Offer your audience different genres and types of entertainment. ...
  5. Make some camping zones noise-free areas.
21 Jan 2022

How long is a DJ set at a festival? ›

Festival sets are the most common sets you have probably experienced. It's typically an hour-long set for the artist to showcase their artistry. Depending on the artist, they may play strictly their own music while others may play other artists' music while providing their own twist to it.

How many songs do bands play at festivals? ›

It depends on the gig, and how long you are playing for. Most bands will play about 12 songs per hour. If it's a four-hour gig, and accounting for some break time, you will need about 35-40 songs.

How long do artists sing in festivals? ›

The average set lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. However, the full length of a concert — which includes “getting settled”, band changeovers, and more — is usually around 5 hours. There's no straightforward answer 100% of the time.

How much does Coachella cost? ›

How much are tickets for Coachella 2022? Tiers determine ticket prices—and the earlier you buy, the better. Tier 1 pass prices for general admission start at $449 before fees, tier 2 at $474, tier 3 at $499, and finally, tier 5 for $549.

How much does it cost to put on a stadium concert? ›

A very rough estimate would be: $20,000 per night for an arena which hold tens of thousands of people. Something more modest, like a smaller venue or club, may cost around $5,000 for a 5-6 hour event. The smallest venue, a bar, could cost around $500-$1,000 for an evening.

What is the budget for Coachella? ›

The Coachella City Council on Wednesday approved a $27.3 million general fund budget that city hall says remains "essentially the same" as past years. The budget for fiscal year 2021-22 starts on July 1 and ends on June 30, 2022.

How much money do you need for Glasto? ›

Tickets for Glastonbury 2022 cost £280 + £5 booking fee according to the official website. However, general admission full weekend tickets are sold out, having rolled over deposits paid for the 2020 Festival following the cancellation of the 2021 Festival.

What does VIP Coachella get you? ›

VIP Areas offer specialty food & drink vendors, air-conditioned restrooms, shaded seating areas and full cash bars. VIP Areas are located at the Five Peaks tents adjacent to the Main Stage and in the Rose Garden. Wristband registration required.

How much does Coachella make a year? ›

Coachella Festival brings millions of dollars to Indio

According to the Coachella Valley Economic partnership and the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, the festival (along with Stagecoach, also produced by the same promoter) create about $704 million in economic activity.

Why is Coachella a big deal? ›

Coachella showcases popular and established musical artists as well as emerging artists and reunited groups. It is one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the United States and the world.

How much money does Taylor Swift make per concert? ›

How much does Taylor Swift make per show? Swift reportedly makes an estimated $9 million per concert.

How much does Harry Styles make per concert? ›

How much money does Harry Styles make per show? For his 2022 tour, Harry Styles has been reported to make $2.25 million per performance.

How do music venues make money? ›

Income from venue hire

For many venues, this will be the biggest source of income and the basis of their business model. In essence venues will charge people to use the space. Venues often offer different packages for different event styles and budgets in order to appeal to the widest possible audience.

How much money do you need for Burning Man? ›

Burning Man is an annual festival that takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. To obtain tickets you can purchase them at many tourism companies. People purchase a 2500 USD reservation to guarantee the right to buy a ticket for the event.

Is Coachella only for celebrities? ›

MUSIC fans flock to the Coachella festival series, the famed concert spectacle earned a noteworthy reputation among pop culture lovers. Celebrities are no exception, the stars are among the crowd of music lovers who frequent the annual Coachella festivities.

How much does it cost Tomorrowland? ›

So for those looking to attend this festival in the future, Tomorrowland 2022 costs anywhere from $262 to $50,000. However, these are the extremes of the spectrum. For most, the average range of a trip to Tomorrowland 2022 will cost anywhere between $1,500 and $7,000.

How much does it cost to Glamp at Glastonbury? ›

How much does glamping cost at Glastonbury? The cost of Glastonbury glamping will depend on the room you choose, at The Pop Up Hotel our rooms range from £2,499 for a classic room for two people, to £24,999 for our ultimate Tenthouse Suite for up to 8 people.

How much does the average person spend at Glastonbury? ›

You might have thought spending just over £200 on a Glastonbury ticket was a big commitment - but a new study into the revenue generated by music festivals has found that the average total spend for a Glastonbury goer is £565.

How much is a beer at Glastonbury? ›

Glastonbury 2022: Bar prices revealed as pints cost £6, wine £8.

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