FESTatistics: Festivals By The Numbers

Chances are you’ve attended Coachella, and/or Lollapalooza, Telluride, Sundance, New York Food & Wine Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, or at least a festival like these at some happy point in your life (or as part of this crowd - you’ve probably worked at one of these festivals). It’s not surprising, considering there are so many music, film, and food and beverage festivals in each and every state. The increasing popularity of festivals has prompted new promoters to produce new events nationwide. However, because of the fluctuating number of events going on and offline, it is virtually impossible to find a comprehensive list of all the festivals in one place to ascertain the number as it is a constantly moving target.

A couple of us working with FestForums - the company that produces B2B conferences for the festival industry - decided to actually research, from various sources, the number of film, music and food/beverage festivals in each individual state so that we could share it with our readers. Here is what we found.

Our research revealed that in the US alone, there are approximately 110 music festivals (sources: www.consequenceofsound.com, Everfest, Indie on the Move, ), 1,093 film festivals (source: Film Freeway, stephenfollows.com), and 1,93 food/beverage festivals (source: Local Wine Events) totaling a whopping 413 festivals. If your mouth hasn’t dropped yet, that doesn’t include county fairs and smaller and other-genre festivals. There are thousands of film, music, and food/beverage events across the US, but for purposes of this article, our research has been narrowed down to strictly festivals. According to Billboard, out of the 318.9 million US citizens, 32 million attend at least one music festival per year. Add in another 10-20 million film and food/beverage festival attendees, and you have almost one fifth of the US population attending festivals. In short, festivals have now become a major influencer on our culture.

Similarly, our friends across the pond in the UK have experienced substantial growth in their festival industry as well, particularly as it relates to music. Out of a population of 64.1 million people, an estimated 3.7 million citizens attended music festivals in 2015, up 32.6% from 2.79 million in 2012 (source: Statista). With 5% of their total population rocking out at music festivals, it’s safe to say our tea and biscuit-loving “cousins” are headed in the right festival direction.

Ultimately, with 14.7 million millennials attending US music festivals per year and festival-goers traveling an average of 903 miles to US festivals (source: Billboard), the festival industry is healthy, thriving and racking up some incredible gains in economic growth (the next topic we will tackle). Whether you rock out, binge-watch, or indulge in too much wine and truffle mac-n-cheese, keep it up. Festivals bring people together in a concentrated world of unanimous excitement, respect and appreciation for kick-ass talent. ¡Viva los festivales!