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American Music Festivals Outperform With Sellout Stalwarts And Strong Niche Growth

Xoxo-festivalThe American music festival scene is growing as established festivals sell out early and new festivals put in strong performances across the nation. In the past American festival promoters cited the example of Europe but UK music festivals are now seeing a downturn due to oversaturation. Still future growth in the U.S. seems likely as niche festivals emerge combining music, arts and technology.

Rolling Stone's Steve Knopper reports on the American music festival boom with good news at all levels. Though not every music festival succeeded, established festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza sold out early while newcomers such as Jay-Z's Made in America had solid debuts.

Niche-music-festivals
Via @SoundControl, September 12

As Knopper reports, music festivals are doing well in the States but over in the UK there's an oversupply:

"The great live-music boom has reached saturation point after a decade of growth...The only surprise is that the market did not become over-saturated sooner. Music industry executives have looked to tours and festivals as their financial saviour as sales of CDs dived."

The list of cancellations of UK music festivals was long even by May. But smaller festivals combining music with other arts that maintain a unique character, such as Port Eliot, are doing well.

The States are still in growth mode for straight up music festivals beyond the incumbents. Smaller regional festivals are looking strong and attracting corporate interest with Live Nation in on "nine new festivals this year." Indie events are also making solid debuts such as Oregon's What The Festival which sold out in its first year.

New niche festivals are not limited to regional music events. A variety of smaller festivals are emerging combining music with other arts as well as technology. For example, both Cleveland and Brooklyn saw returning festivals, Weapons of Mass Creation and the Northside Festival, gather together musicians with artists and entrepreneurs.

Portland's recent XOXO Festival, with a particularly strong mix of music and technology, got good reviews, benefiting from the explosion of tech startups looking for fresh venues.

Eventually music festival saturation will emerge in the States, most likely among festivals competing for larger acts. But niche and regional music festivals seem likely to not only keep the growth going for the near future but to establish solid bases for the long term.

[Thumbnail image courtesy Dana Robinson.]

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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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