With 29.63 million U.S. dollars in revenue, Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival was the highest grossing festival in the world in 2019, followed by Life is Beautiful Festival and Lollapalooza Brazil, which made 17.7 and 14.48 million dollars respectively. Outside Lands Music and Arts takes place annually in San Francisco and has been running since 2008. The festival covers multiple genres, with big names including Metallica, The Black Eyed Peas, The Who and Elton John playing at the event over the years. The 2019 lineup included Huey Lewis & The News, Bon Iver and headliners Florence + The Machine, The Weeknd and Janet Jackson.
Popular music festivals
Music festivals generate millions of dollars in revenue every year and some of the world’s most popular pull in huge numbers of fans. Outside Lands sold over 200 thousand tickets in 2018, making it the second highest grossing music festival in the world based on ticket sales. At the top of the ranking was Lollapalooza Brazil with 246 thousand tickets sold, more than double the sales of Bluefest, Longitude and Life is Beautiful Festival. Other events to make the top twenty included Hurricane, a rock festival held annually in Germany since 1997, and Electric Daisy Carnival, the biggest electronic dance festival in North America.
Many festivals have what could almost be called a cult following based on the kinds of acts they offer, with diehard fans attending the same festival every year without fail. However, for some festivals, trying to buy a ticket is like chasing a rainbow.
A good example of this is five-day British festival Glastonbury, which requires potential attendees to register in advance of tickets going on sale. However, tickets are not guaranteed even after registration and cannot be paid for with a credit card (which for many means saving up in advance). If you do get one, after paying the initial deposit it is required to pay the remaining balance within one week. The event is in such high demand that guides have been published providing advice on how to complete the ticket buying process. Popular with older and younger generations alike, Glastonbury Festival has almost 900 thousand fans on Facebook alone and is considered to be one of the biggest annual cultural events in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the equivalent is the much discussed and wildly popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which frequently sells out in a matter of hours. Coachella has not published its ticket sales and revenue figures comprehensively since 2017, but reportedly grossed around 114.6 million U.S. dollars in that year.
Highest grossing festivals worldwide in 2019
(in million U.S. dollars)
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Pollstar. (December 14, 2019). Highest grossing festivals worldwide in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/306095/highest-grossing-festivals-worldwide/
Pollstar. "Highest grossing festivals worldwide in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)." Chart. December 14, 2019. Statista. Accessed May 27, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/306095/highest-grossing-festivals-worldwide/
Pollstar. (2019). Highest grossing festivals worldwide in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: May 27, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/306095/highest-grossing-festivals-worldwide/
Pollstar. "Highest Grossing Festivals Worldwide in 2019 (in Million U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 14 Dec 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/306095/highest-grossing-festivals-worldwide/
Pollstar, Highest grossing festivals worldwide in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/306095/highest-grossing-festivals-worldwide/ (last visited May 27, 2022)