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The UK’s Top 10 Festivals for Brands This Summer

Festival season is nearly upon us, along with the opportunity to put your brand in front of millions of people when they are at their most receptive. The big question, however, is which festival is right for your brand?

To understand what is on offer for your client’s brands, we’ve looked at this summer’s festival lineup and put together a list of the 10 best festivals for brands. Based on the festivals’ sizes, openness to brand partnerships and their creative expectations from you.

The headliners:

1. Bestival

7th-10th September, Lulworth Estate, Dorset (Attendance: 55K)

Bestival is a big draw for brands. The organisers have a brand background and a long history of working with the brands to produce incredibly exciting experiences on-site.

Bestival has also moved from the Isle of Wight to Dorset, making the path there simpler. For brands, there’s now no ferry crossing, meaning fewer restrictions on how big or creative your brand activation can be.

What do they expect from brands?

Bestival expects creativity and originality, and work hard to support brands with this. For them, any brand can work, it just needs to take their audience into account.

2. Glastonbury

21st-25th June, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset (Attendance: 145K)

The biggest of them all, and a huge stage for any brand lucky enough to attend. Contentiously, we haven’t put Glastonbury at the top of our list. This is down to its leaning towards putting worthy causes first. But don’t let that put you off, with the right offer Glastonbury can deliver huge crowds and truly global coverage, so it is worth the effort for any brand.

What do they expect from brands?

Make your idea original, and give it meaning. Glastonbury is a festival that wears its heart on its sleeve and expects the same of those there, attendees and brands alike. But they also want you to have fun. Just look at EE’s success with its “Moobile” 4G hotspots and “Charging Bull” charging stations.

3. V-Festival

19th-20th August, Hylands Park & Weston Park (Attendance: 180K):

V Festival has always embraced brands, because it is a brand, one of the UK’s largest. It also offers an added 2for1 bonus, as it runs across two sites over one weekend, letting brands get more for less. As brands willing to cover both sites can negotiate more favourable terms than if you were attending two separate events of the same magnitude.

What do they expect from brands?

V Festival loves brands and also is a little more accepting of the more corporate side of the industry than other festivals, but remember to keep it fun; it is still a festival.

4. Reading & Leeds Festival

25th-27th August (Attendance: 160k):

Another big one that also covers two sites. This festival plays to a slightly younger crowd than V but is still popular with large brands. You also still have that possibility of a deal for attending both sites in one weekend.

What do they expect from brands?

The style here is a little more “rough and ready”, so brands willing to get their hands dirty and get a bit more involved do well. Brands who play to the rock star experience and lifestyle do well. Guitar Hero caused quite a stir when they turned up with a truly monumental amp and gave the crowds a chance to feel like rock stars. Backed up with the possibility of backstage experiences and more.

5. Isle of Wight Festival

8th-11th June (Attendance: 58k):

A festival firmly pitched somewhere in between all of the above, with a little of the style of each of them used to create an exciting and fun experience.

What do they expect from brands?

Isle of Wight is creative, left-field (but never too much), and open to brands offering new experiences. You just need to appeal to their particular sense of style and passion.

For brands wanting something a little off the beaten track:

6. Latitude

13th-16th July, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk (Attendance: 35k):

Latitude is a festival with a bit more class – like a musical equivalent of The Hay Literary Festival. It offers a very different experience to the more earthy festivals like Glastonbury or Reading.

What do they expect from brands?

As with any festival, originality is still paramount, only at Latitude, you can make the offer and experience a little more refined. So there’s less need for the outlandish, meaning brands can often take a more subtle approach.

7. Camp Bestival

27th-30th July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset (Attendance: 30k):

Bestival’s younger sibling, created to deliver a festival experience all the family can enjoy.; which means it differs from Bestival in tone, but only slightly. The DNA is the same, and they still expect hugely original and imaginative ideas – only family friendly.

What do they expect from brands?

For brands with the right offer, you have two fantastic opportunities. With children integral to the event you could take advantage of pester power, after all, you have the audience cornered. Although some parents may not thank you for this. While for other brands with more family orientated products and solutions it’s also an excellent opportunity to highlight these.

8. Kendal Calling

27th-30th July, Lowther Deer Park (Attendance: 12k):

A wonderfully quirky and imaginative festival. The styling and experience are very much in the vein of Glastonbury. Just without the overwhelming scale.

What do they expect from brands?

Like Glastonbury, they appreciate the creative and worthwhile, so new and sustainable score highly.

9. Festival No.6

7th-10th September, Portmeirion (Attendance: 15k):

Festival No.6 is something out of the ordinary, with a setting to match. Like Bestival, it’s designed to appeal to the quirkier side of the aisle, so you’ll need to be original. Just look at Virgin Trains, who set up special festival express trains, where attendees were offered live music and rock star style just to get them in the mood for the festival.

What do they expect from brands?

In a setting like Portmeirion, it’s all about making a splash, so playful and inventive brands do very well.

10. Green Man

17th-20th August, Brecon Beacons (Attendance: 20k):

Green Man plays by its own rules, and its beautiful setting deep in the Brecon Beacons is great for brands. But it’s also a festival aimed at individuals, so brands have to offer something a little different.

What do they expect from brands?

If you want to stand out, remember the festival ends with the burning of a huge wicker effigy. So the unexpected is always welcome.

Go big or go home

As a brand, the thing to remember for any festival is not to play it safe. You need to make an impact and be memorable. Become a feature of the experience; because no one is arranging to meet up at something that doesn’t stand out. So be a bit braver, and people will notice.

Captive audience

Also, the value of the audiences festivals deliver is enormous. As they clearly have considerable disposable spending power, proven by simply being there. Ticket prices are often over £100, and that’s just for starters. They’re also a captive and receptive audience. Meaning you get more than one bite of the cherry to appeal to them as they make their way around the festival numerous times.

Take it on tour

Why stop at one, many brands tour festivals throughout the summer for maximum impact. Lucozade’s Festival Tour in 2014, brought zorbing and silent disco’s to numerous festivals up and down the country. Giving them the freedom each morning to let brand ambassadors scour campsites handing out much-appreciated samples.

Punk ethos

Or if you’re feeling especially bold, you could even start your own festival. Goose Island Beer has done this in America, and it has proven to be a hugely powerful and influential forum for their brand. Regularly selling out, it allows them direct access to the artists, which is an association for their brand that is paying dividends.

So whatever level a brand enters this market at, festivals are a truly unique opportunity to access relaxed and willing audiences at their most receptive. That is an opportunity brands will not find anywhere else.


Do you have a project or want to find out more?

Contact Matt Briggs on +44 (0) 1484 451061 or click here to drop him an email