Welcome to the Post-pandemic Festival Report, powered by our music analytics platform Viberate which features 6,000+ music festivals and almost every artist out there. In the report, we zeroed in on the top 500 music festivals and analyzed their lineups and ticket prices to highlight the trends for 2022. We also conducted a survey of festival organizers to explore how they’ve felt the changes and how they currently approach booking artists.
We ranked the music festivals by their performance score, Viberate’s unique metric, and focused on the top 500. Only those with a 2022 edition announced by April 21, 2022, were included in the analysis (plus the ones in 2022 that had already taken place by then).
The final number of analyzed festivals was 330, the number of analyzed artists on their 2022 lineups was 9,651, and the total number of analyzed festival bookings was 18,215.
Music festivals are back, and in the case of mega-events like Coachella and Glastonbury, fans waited for over two years for the festivities to return. With all of those expectations, could this be the best festival season ever?
Compared to 2021, when some festival activity was revived, the overall picture looks much more promising this year. Even though festival organizers and touring musicians still have to deal with the possibility of Covid-related cancellations, a large number of the top festivals are back on track.
The final tally of the top festivals taking place in 2022 is expected to grow, as more festival editions are likely to be announced. Also, some festivals have already announced a 2022 edition, but not yet a lineup. For comparison: in 2019, the last pre-Covid year, the 330 analyzed festivals made 26,450 bookings in total, and in 2022, they announced 18,215 by April 21 (69% of the total number of bookings in 2019).
We analyzed festival prices to assess the gain from ticket sales. The festivals in the analysis (and in the Viberate database) are divided into five groups: small (up to 5K visitors), medium (5–15K), big (15–30K), huge (30–80K) and mega (80K+). The average analyzed festival is expected to gain the following amount from ticket sales:
The 281 festivals with available ticket prices will generate an estimated $3B in ticket sales. 140 of the analyzed festivals fall into the “huge” category, which is supposed to yield the biggest gains, as seen in the graphic below. The average ticket price of the analyzed festivals is $195.
The ticket gain assessment of festivals was calculated based on the ticket price in USD (early bird price for the entire festival with no camping), multiplied by the festival capacity according to the size bracket.
Ticket gain is just part of the entire economic gain created by the festival activity, which also includes site businesses such as food & drink and merch vendors, lockers, etc. These were not included in the assessment.
The majority of all festival bookings were Electronic artists (38.8%), followed by Rock (15.9%), Pop (12.7%) and Hip Hop artists (12.6%). Looking at the unique number of booked artists, the distribution is similar: out of 9,651 booked artists, 36.3% are Electronic, 16.0% Rock, 12.7% Pop and 11.5% Hip Hop.
Unsurprisingly, most of the Electronic bookings were of Dutch artists (19.5%), followed by artists from the USA (16.8%), the UK (15.8%), Germany (9.1%) and France (5.7%).
Europeans make up over 70% of all Electronic bookings, while the booked Rock artists mostly come from the USA (33.8%) and the UK (25.0%).
The top 10 subgenres make up 56% of all festival bookings. Dance DJs (here, the Netherlands is #1 again) are leading according to the number of bookings. The most interesting features in the top 10 are Techno and Hardstyle/Hardcore, which are both very Europe-based. Amelie Lens, Reinier Zonneveld, Nina Kraviz and Charlotte de Witte are the most booked Techno artists, playing festivals like Awakenings (NLD), Sonnemondsterne (DEU) and Parookaville (DEU). Da Tweekaz and Sub Zero Project lead when it comes to Hardstyle/Hardcore, both playing WiSH Outdoor (NLD), Defqon.1 (NLD) and Medusa (ESP), among other festivals.
Even though the most booked artist of the festival season is a female Hip Hop artist (see Chapter II for the full listing and genre breakdown), playing 25 of the top 500 festivals, female and mixed acts still only make up approximately one quarter of the 100 most booked artists.
76 of the 100 most booked artists are all-male groups or solo artists, leading with Timmy Trumpet, Jack Harlow and Martin Garrrix. 21 acts are all-female (leading with Megan Thee Stallion, Little Simz, and Girl in Red). There are three mixed groups in the top 100: 100 gecs, Måneskin and Wolf Alice.
The below artists are projected to be the most booked in the 2022 festival season. We’ve divided the artists into the Electronic, Rock, Pop and Hip Hop genres. Note that genre lines are getting blurrier and genre-busting is more popular than ever. In line with the music trends for 2022 we forecasted in the annual State of Music address, the artists often prefer moods, so their music can be better described as a combination of different subgenres rather than fitting into a specific genre box.
👇 To check the upcoming festivals of each artist, click on their thumbnail in the listing below.
Among the most booked Electronic artists, most are Dance artists: Timmy Trumpet (playing 24 of the analyzed festivals), Martin Garrix (22), Alan Walker (21), Steve Aoki (17), DJ Snake and Alesso (both 16). Vini Vici is a Psy Trance duo (22 festivals), 100 gecs play Trap/Future Bass (18), Amelie Lens is repping Techno (16), and House is represented by John Summit and Joel Corry (17 and 16 festivals, respectively).
The most often repeating festivals are Tomorrowland Belgium (BEL), Ultra Music Festival Europe (HRV) and Miami (USA), EDC Las Vegas (USA) and Mexico (MEX), Creamfields (GBR) and Sonnemondsterne (DEU).
Another trend we pointed out in Viberate’s annual 2022 State of Music address was the “Resurrection of Rock”, partly fuelled by Punk Rock making waves on TikTok. Rock never vanished from festival lineups, and the fact that the top 10 most booked artists are mostly newer bands rather than heritage acts proves that the genre is alive and well.
Fontaines D.C. and Turnstile are the most booked bands (playing 21 of the analyzed festivals), followed by IDLES (19), grandson (17), Måneskin (16), Inhaler (15), Gorillaz (15), Wolf Alice, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (all 13).
The most often repeating festivals are Best Kept Secret (NLD), Flow Festival Helsinki (FIN), Primavera Sound Barcelona (ESP), Leeds (GBR), Øyafestivalen (NOR), Rock Werchter (BEL) and Pinkpop (NLD).
After their meteoric rise, Glass Animals are also bringing the “Heat Waves” to festival stages. 20 of the top ones, to be exact. Norwegain Girl in Red comes in second (playing 19 of the analyzed festivals), while beabadoobee (18) and Phoebe Bridgers (17) round out the Indie Pop at the top. They’re followed by Remi Wolf (16), Stromae, Sigrid, Lewis Capaldi, Kenny Hoopla and Arlo Parks (all 13).
The most often recurring festivals are Glastonbury (GBR), Mad Cool (ESP), Coachella (USA), Superbloom (DEU), Sziget (HUN), Lollapalooza Stockholm (SWE) and Lowlands (NLD).
Megan Thee Stallion is at the top of the Hip Hop ranking, playing 25 of the top festivals. She is also projected to be the most booked artist of the festival season. Jack Harlow comes in second (24 festivals) and Little Simz third (20). They’re followed by A$AP Rocky (15), Princess Nokia, Polo G, Channel Tres (all 14), Ashnikko (13) and C. Tangana (12). Aside from Little Simz and C. Tangana, the most booked artists are all from the US. The most often recurring festivals of the most booked Hip Hop acts are Lollapalooza Argentina (ARG), Paris (FRA) and Chile (CHI), Roskilde (DNK), Pukkelpop (BEL), Openair Frauenfeld (CHE), Reading and Leeds (GBR), and Longitude (IRL).
Let’s take a closer look at the artists who didn’t book the most gigs, but are on a good trajectory based on their music data analysis. Below is a selection of artists to watch based on the following criteria: the artist has a Viberate rank of 5,000+, is booked on at least five of the analyzed festivals, and has been on an upward trajectory and increasing their rank since summer 2021.
Check out the ranking of music festivals sorted by genre (which is determined by the majority of artists on the lineup) and their performance score.*
* Performance score: Viberate’s unique metric for measuring a festival’s popularity based on the performance of artists on the lineup and the number of social media mentions/follows the festival gets from industry professionals (other festivals and artists). A festival’s performance score is calculated based on every edition since 2018.
101 of the 330 analyzed festivals were Electronic. The most (19) take place in the US, followed by the Netherlands (11) and France (10). Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas and Ultra Miami take the top 3 places, followed by Lollapalooza Brasil and the Romanian Untold.
As Electronic artists make a large percentage of the 2022 lineups, we dissected the top 3 Electronic festivals to break down their subgenres, lineup sizes and lineup overlap.
Ultra is the most EDM-heavy of the three, with a third of the lineup going to Dance DJs. They’re followed by Techno (15%; 20 artists) and Dubstep artists (14%; 19 artists). Dance is also the most common subgenre at Tomorrowland (24%) and EDC (21%).
Percentage-wise, Dubstep is under-represented at Tomorrowland (3% of the lineup; 20 artists) compared to EDC and Ultra. But note that Tomorrowland has a whopping 700 artists on the lineup. Here, in addition to Dance, House stands out (21% of the lineup; 144 artists). Interestingly, Psy Trance artists who aren't well-represented at the other two festivals make up 4% of Tomorrowland’s lineup (25 artists).
Pop is a dominating genre at 91 of the 330 analyzed festivals. The most (15) take place in the US, including the top 5 seen in the ranking below. Next up are the UK (12) and the Netherlands (7). Lollapalooza is at the top of the Pop rankings, followed by Coachella, Austin City Limits, Summerfest and Iheartradio.
Hip Hop is the prevailing genre at 56 of the 330 analyzed festivals. The most (16) are taking place in the US, then France (6), the UK (5), Germany and Belgium (4 each). Rolling Loud Miami takes the top spot, followed by Leeds, Reading, The Governors Ball and Firefly.
Rock artists dominate 35 of the 330 analyzed festivals. 23 of them are taking place in Europe, 8 in the US, but the leading one, Rock in Rio, is Brazilian. The rest of the top 5 goes as follows: Pinkpop, Rock Am Ring, Rock im Park, Flow Festival Helsinki.
The US is the biggest festival hotspot with 76 of the 330 analyzed top festivals. Most of them (19) are Electronic, followed by Hip Hop (16), Pop (15), Country (10) and Rock (8). The US is also the only Country festival hotspot.
The UK placed second, with Pop as its main genre (12 of the 27 analyzed festivals), five Hip Hop, five Electronic and three Rock festivals. The Netherlands is next, with 11 of the 26 festivals there Electronic in genre. Interestingly, Latin prevailed in Spain (9 of the 24 analyzed festivals). In Germany, Electronic festivals also lead (7 of the 22 analyzed festivals).
To round off the report, we conducted a survey of live industry professionals with the aim of exploring how they’ve felt the effects of the pandemic years and how they currently approach booking artists.
77.5% of the respondents (N=151) were event/festival organizers, 10.3% were in marketing/sales, 6.3% were other festival staff, and 4.5% were talent buyers. Most of the respondents represented small music festivals (40.2%), followed by medium (28.4%) and big festivals (20.5%). Huge and mega festivals together amounted to 11%.
Most of the respondents organize Electronic festivals (48.7%), followed by Rock (32.1%), Pop (26.2%) and Hip Hop (25.6%). Metal, Punk and R&B were also well-represented. This was a multiple-choice question.
Nearly everyone (85.1%) had their festival postponed or canceled in 2020, compared to 54% in 2021. 83.8% of respondents have their festival scheduled for 2022.
The majority of respondents (75.0%) say their 2022 festival edition will not include any Covid-related restrictions, 15.3% will demand proof of vaccination, 9.7% proof of negative tests, and 7.3% masks.
Half of the respondents don’t expect to grow their festival attendance in 2022 compared to the last festival edition. 26.6% expect to grow it up to 25%, 21.0% between 25 and 100%, and hardly any more than that. Interestingly, the festivals that don't expect to grow their attendance are predominantly small (up to 5,000 visitors). Bigger festivals mainly expect to grow their attendance.
When ranking the most important factors for booking artists for their festival, none of the respondents’ answers stick out as the most important, but artist fees and associated costs score the highest, followed by live performance experience, good relationships in the past, and a significant local fanbase.
The festival’s own social media posts are scored as the most effective promotional tool, followed by the social media posts of booked artists and public relations.
The respondents tend to agree that:
Only the respondents organizing a 2022 festival edition answered this multiple-choice question (124).
Only the respondents organizing a 2022 festival edition answered this question (124).
The factors were ranked from most to least important. Artist fees and associated costs score the highest.
The tools were ranked from most to least effective. The festival’s own social media posts score the highest.
The respondents rated their level of agreement with each statement: 1 – disagree; 2 – neither agree nor disagree; 3 – agree.
A quarter of the surveyed festival organizers still doesn’t look into an artist’s online stats, even though there is a level of agreement that artists with a strong local fanbase will sell more tickets.
Talent discovery tools like charts with genre rankings, customized sortings and insights into fanbase demographics are more attainable than ever. With aggregated metrics in one place, music data analytics can help reduce the level of risk.