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Why are festivals so expensive? Or are they?
One of the hardest things about putting on a festival is trying to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to the spiralling costs involved in putting on the very best show imaginable… A show like ours must keep people safe, secure, fed and watered and entertained to the highest levels. Everyone’s needs must be taken into consideration and respected and our city must take place in an easy, accessible and sustainable site. Ultimately, our goal is to manage a hugely complex budget and put on a show that is financially viable, whilst remaining as affordable as possible for the public wanting to attend.
It’s a super tricky balance to get all these things right and admittedly we’ve not always managed to do so every point in time! In fact, financially we have only broken even for the last two shows, which is bonkers! But we have always striven to be better, to invest in our festival, our staff and the community who want to come and be a part of our mad-cap experiment! Each year our priority is to keep the ticket price as low as possible, without jeopardizing the event we have become known the world over for producing. It’s about placing value for money at the forefront of our decision making and ensuring that we continue to raise our game operationally, creatively, and catapult the public’s experience to yet another level.
Chapter 11 was undeniably an eventful year considering the weather but it was also by far our most successful. We put sustainability at the heart of every decision. We tackled the industry-wide problem of campsite waste head-on overhauling the public-facing facilities to encourage them to reduce, reuse and recycle. Operationally we introduced ground-breaking systems to streamline our energy usage, took the whole site fully compostable and banned the sale of single-use plastic. We invested in our partnerships and charitable endeavours and have committed to planting a forest. We saw a huge behavioural shift with our public but there is still so much more to do and plans to redesign how we operate to meet our 2020 targets have been set in place…
Creatively for Chapter 11 we added a new district, pushed the limits of our theatrical offering and introduced a new story that was brought to life by teams of actors, we launched a theatrical app and interactive role-play and gaming. All of which played out on new stages, new district designs, and created new experiences for everyone to enjoy against a backdrop of extraordinary programming across 80 musical genres. The blueprint is already in place to move Chapter 12 on and take it to the next level.
Recently, the cost of festival tickets and their value for money versus the cost of creating and running a festival has generated a lot of media attention. Boomtown is a musical and theatrical fully immersive experience with levels of production and design that make it incomparable to other festivals. As a result, it’s not possible to house a global community of our size in a living, breathing city, whilst staying true to our core ethos of making a positive difference to the most pressing environmental crisis of all time, without increasing revenue.
It’s fair to say we have grown exponentially over the last decade but we have remained proudly independent but unfortunately, the bottom line is we don’t benefit from economies of scale. To achieve the things we need to, to deliver you the show you are expecting we have had to increase our ticket prices for Chapter 12. Our tier system remains in place and there is an instalment scheme available to split the cost across the year. Please know that the additional income will allow Boomtown to continue to explore unique and innovative creativity that’s inspired by the core values and ethos that it so important to us.
In August The Economist undertook an investigation into the cost of festivals. Check out their findings here:
For more information on this years' ticket types and prices head to our Ticket Information page.