For those who like the idea of music festivals but have always found the prospect of trudging through ankle-deep mud for three days too much to bear, the rise of multi-venue, inner-city festivals is offering an inviting alternative – one that will keep festival season in full swing long after the clocks go back.
A number of brand new metropolitan festivals – including Leeds-based Beacons Metro, Portsmouth’s Dials, London duo Community and Mirrors, Margate’s By the Sea and Brighton’s Mutations – host inaugural events this autumn, continuing a growing trend that is changing the festival landscape for punters, promoters, artists and venues alike.
The multi-venue format is nothing new, of course: The Great Escape, Dot to Dot and Swn, have all thrived since the mid-noughties. But as the UK Festival Awards and Conference event co-ordinator Michael Baker explains: “Metropolitan festivals are rising, and there’s a very good reason for that – they increase diversity in the market. Festivals are very popular but some lack a unique selling point. That is not the case with metropolitans.
“They can take many different forms and the emphasis is more on curation, with most discovering that unique selling point and finding their own space in the market.”
The statistics make that case: the European Festival Market Report 2014 found that 67 per cent of outdoor festival-goers admitted that they missed home comforts, with the lack of clean toilets (23.1 per cent), bed (18.4 per cent) and decent mobile reception (5.6 per cent) among their gripes. “By their very nature,” Baker says, “metropolitan festivals circumvent those issues.”
But a comfortable night’s sleep or the means to immediately upload that snap of your favourite band to Instagram doesn’t fully account for the growing popularity of urban events. At just £55 for a weekend bill of exciting alternative acts including John Talabot and Lightning Bolt, the Mutations, held in Brighton and Hove on 28 and 29 November, is indicative of the value offered by metropolitan festivals.
“Outdoor festivals have got too expensive for many people,” says Mutations founder Alex Murray, “and we see value for money as one of two key selling points ”. The other, in keeping with an ethos that runs through metropolitan events, is a diversity of programme and commitment to underground talent that echoes the musical curiosity of attendees. “We know people will come early and stay late and we know they will be open-minded, enjoy multi-genres and dip in and out of what’s on offer. People aren’t pigeonholed, and our programming reflects that.”
Source: Shaun Curran at the Independent - Click Here For The Full Article