Thought Leadership

2018: A fallow festival year?

What happens to the festival arena in a year when a festival the size of South England’s seventh largest city takes its fallow year?

Orla Ryan, ignis

Head of Experiential


ignis - 2018: A fallow festival year?

What happens to the festival arena in a year when a festival the size of South England’s seventh largest city takes its fallow year? ignis analyse the 2018 festival season, asking what effect Glastonbury has on the industry and how you should consider the latest trends to ensure the brands you are investing in are going to deliver.

There is no doubt the festival marketplace has evolved, even in the last 10 years. Now, more than ever, experience is at the core of the events, but with so much choice and so many diverse experiences on offer, knowing which events are offering the best currency in the experience economy is more of a challenge to pick through. Understanding the human behaviour that underpins the festival audiences and what to watch out for is key to ensure savvy selections that won’t turn out to be a flop. 

Single-mindedness is not a trait that is always perceived positively, but when it comes to festivals it is the events that have a clear and determined vision that are winning the audience’s hearts. From the Michelin stars and champagne bars of Wilderness to the high production values of the EDM at Creamfields, these events know their offering and their audience and are standing out as leaders in their fields.

Thinking about your brand activations in the same way as you would consider the credentials of the events that you attend is not a bad way to approach activation opportunities. It is the authentic, most engaging and clearest festival propositions that are standing out and attracting the audiences. Dare to be different, step away from the 10X10 and focus on generating that buzz, while never losing sight of the festival audience that you are trying to engage.

Key take outs:

  • The Glastonbury Effect. In a year of no Glastonbury, 2018 has fallen a bit flat. With the 2019 return we anticipate a renewed enthusiasm for muddy fields.
  • Experience vs effort. In simple terms, does the festival offer enough of an experience to outweigh the hardship of the festival realities?
  • The City has no limits. Urban events continue to grow in number. Consider how these more accessible events could form part of your activation calendar.
  • Lead the way. Partner with events that are outstanding in their fields, events that strive for better year on year, and are leading the way.
  • Do it different. Search for new ways in which to activate your brand. Go beyond the static space and aim to create a buzz!


Visit ignis' showcase to read the full report.


Asha Kanhai, Business Development Manager, ignis,

Guest Author

Orla Ryan, ignis

Head of Experiential,


Orla started her career client side with Whyte and Mackay and her links to the drinks industry continued in the agency world working on Pernod Ricard and Global Brands. As a psychology graduate, an underlying interest in human motivators - and the effect of our ever-evolving surroundings on behaviour - underpin her work. Festivals, hockey and a love of cooking keep me busy away from the office.

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