The growth of the folk festival in cultural tourism

The growth of the folk festival in cultural tourism

By Morris Hargreaves McIntyre


The folk festival scene is growing and is an essential part of the folk industry, providing performance opportunities, local employment, a market place for local products, a stimulus to local economies and audience development opportunities. This report looks at the rising impact of the folk festival on local economies and cultural tourism using research from a sample of over 4000 adult festival goers. It provides insight into audience demographics, access, experiences, investment and local economics.

Folk festivals attract tourists with money to spend

  • Over 90% of folk festival attenders are tourists.
  • That’s 315,000 tourism visits every year.
  • These visitors spend an estimated 1.3 million nights away from home.
  • This includes up to 300,000 paid-for bed nights in hotels and B&Bs.
  • These paid-for bed nights generate £8.34 million spend in the accommodation sector.
  • The other million bed nights are mainly spent on camp sites with some people visiting friends and relatives. 17% of festival tourists stay on in the area after the festival, generating further tourism spending.

“People take the time and make it a holiday and people come from very long distances.”

Folk festival attenders come from the higher socio-economic groups. 93% of festival attenders are ABC1s. 49% are AB, the highest socioeconomic group

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Festivals Tourism
Resource type: Research | Published: 2013