UK Festivals: Stats, Sustainability & SMEs - Fleximize

UK Festivals: Stats, Sustainability & SMEs

The rise of pop-up commerce. Sustainability initiatives. Insider advice from festival vendors.

By The Fleximize Team

Over the past month, we’ve been celebrating festival season and the opportunities that outdoor events bring to small businesses across the UK. To complete our series of articles on the subject, this special edition of Business Bookmarks highlights a handful of news stories and guides published in the last few weeks on the topic of small businesses and festivals.

So, if your small business relies on outdoor events for custom, or you’re considering expanding your business into the world of festival commerce, this one’s for you…

In the news

An increase in festival commerce

Festival commerce is on the rise, with a predicted 12% increase in revenue over the next 5 years.

Recent figures have revealed that Brits are set to spend a mammoth £1.2 billion at festivals this summer alone, with 37% of festival-goers preferring to shop on-site compared to online and on the high-street, and 31% citing festivals as a better place to discover the latest trends. As such, it’s clear that live events across the UK are providing lucrative opportunities for small businesses to reach new audiences.

As this article explores, pop-up commerce also positively impacts businesses due to improved customer engagement and longer lasting loyalty. Interestingly, research suggests that 73% of festival-goers claim watching live entertainment impacts their mood and buying habits, making them more open to trying new products or brands. If you’re considering taking the leap and trading at a UK festival this summer, this one’s well worth a read. (Via Retail Times)

See the stats

Tapping into technology

The BBC speaks to Bluedot Festival’s Director, Ben Robinson, about how the festival experience is changing due to advances in contactless technology.

Wristbands have been a staple at music festivals for decades. Many now use the same technology found in contactless bank cards, allowing festival-goers to pay for food and drink with a simple tap. But this Cheshire-based festival is hoping to take the advances in wristbands one step further.

As this article explores, Ben hopes to create a gaming-style experience at Bluedot, where festival-goers can unlock rewards through their wristbands depending on how much they spend. Rewards come in the form of access to restricted areas and free treats. Festival-goers will also be able to 'check in' at talks and stages, later receiving a detailed statement of what they attended, with additional information on what they saw.

But there are some who argue that the profiling of visitors could be an invasion of privacy, whilst risks such as 'breakage' and connectivity failures could cause further problems. In this article, industry experts discuss the potential risks and rewards of mixing tech with festivals. (Via The BBC)

Consider the possibilities

Festival Wristbands
Festival Wristbands:

Contactless technology means that iconic festival wristbands are undergoing a major upgrade.

Sustainability at UK festivals

The UK festival that recycled almost all of its waste

The Hebridean Celtic Festival recycled 80% of rubbish at last year’s event. Here's a look at how they achieved this, along with their latest initiative to educate festival-goers on how to be more environmentally-conscious.

Sustainability at festivals is a hot topic at the moment, with The Independent recently publishing an article covering the environmental impact of leaving behind single-use tents at festivals. As such, many UK festivals are stepping up their corporate social responsibility initiatives, including The Hebridean Celtic Festival. The festival has made a name for itself when it comes to sustainability, having banned plastic straws in 2014 and introducing re-usable cups in on-site bars a year later. At last year's festival, organizers successfully recycled 2,980kg of waste, which accounted for around 80% of total waste produced.

This year’s event will go one step further, offering festival-goers free guidance on how they can make their homes more energy efficient. If you’re a festival organizer or small business owner who wants some insight into executing successful sustainability initiatives, you can read the full story below. (Via the BBC)

Learn more

The UK festival at the forefront of sustainability

From providing cheaper tickets to those arriving by public transport, to making packaging 100% biodegradable, here’s how Boomtown Fair is tackling sustainability.

In this article published by The Canary, Boomtown’s sustainability coordinator lays out exactly how organizers are prioritising reducing the environmental impact of the fair. The four-day event has taken steps to ensure that all traders and bars at the fair are using 100% biodegradable packaging. In addition, festival-goers receive a £10 reward if they collect and hand in a full bag of recycling during the fair. The changes are part of a campaign from the Association of Independent Festivals, who work to ensure that festival organizers are promoting sustainability.

If you want the full details of Boomtown’s unique approach, Boomtown’s Green Mission statement outlines how the festival organizers are ‘putting the imminent environmental crises front and centre’ of their messaging, event planning and infrastructure. Read more on how they're achieving this below. (Via The Canary)

Take a leaf out of Boomtown's book


A growing number of UK Festivals are discouraging the use of single-use tents in a bid to reduce the amount of waste generated.

How to get involved as a UK SME

A small business’ guide to trading at festivals

This useful guide from Fleximize highlights how to get involved in supplying to music festivals, food markets and outdoor events across the country, along with insider tips from three festival vendors.

If you’re considering becoming a festival vendor, but are yet to take the leap, this article talks you through four key action points to get you started. From getting a solid trading application in, to considering how to cater for environmentally-conscious festival-goers, it’ll get you thinking along the right lines.

In addition, the Fleximize Team speak to three festival vendors: Go Full Circle, Vonny Bee, and The Fritter Shack, about the opportunities that trading at festivals has brought to their small businesses. The vendors also reveal exclusive insider tips for any SMEs who are new to festival trading. Overall, this one's a must-read for any small business who wants to expand into the festival market. (Via The Knowledge Hub)

Hear from the experts

Tips for branding your SME at a festival

Richard Cutmore of TFH Gazebos shares five tips on how to brand your SME at festivals this summer in order to draw in customers and increase engagement.

Festivals provide unrivalled opportunities for small businesses who want to get reach new audiences, with thousands of attendees passing pop-up stands at each event. But it can be difficult to pin down exactly how to visually represent your brand in a way that makes you stand out against competitors – of which there will be plenty.

Citing a combination of social media marketing, stall design, exceptional service and promotional materials, this article explores five ways to ensure that your small business stands head and shoulders above the rest when trading at a festival this summer. If you want some inspiration on branding at your next live event, look no further. (Via The Knowledge Hub)

Think outside the box

We hope you've enjoyed this special edition of Business Bookmarks. If you want to see more from Fleximize, you can stay up to date with our latest business advice and articles by following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.