10 things music festival fans can expect in 2016

The world of music changes every year. Trends and fashions come and go, and festivals are ever evolving. Wow247 bring you 10 things to keep an eye out for this year!

1. Better media coverage for smaller festivals

Some of the best music festivals barely get talked about on TV and radio, which is why the AIF is in talks with the BBC to help shine a brighter spotlight on these great events.

“We have so much in common with the BBC in promoting new and emerging talent,” said AIF chairman Jim Mawdsley, who is keen for the two organisations to collaborate.

So it might not all be Glastonbury and Reading going forward.

2. More opportunities for breakthrough bands

Most festivals wouldn’t happen without the huge number of independent musicians who take part.

The relationship between emerging artists and independent festivals was formalised at this year’s Festival Congress with the announcement of ‘Fair Play for Festivals’, an agreement between the AIF and Musicians’ Union which means musicians will get a better deal from festival organisers in terms of payment and promotion. Good news if you’re in a band, then.

3. City festivals are here to stay

HUB Festival 1

Photo: Jhons Ramirez

While muddy festival fields have their place, a growing number of city events are bringing the festival vibe to more accessible urban areas.

These events are continuing to grow in popularity, with the likes of Tramlines in Sheffield, Sound City in Liverpool and Swn in Cardiff leading the way. Look out for more of these in the UK next year.

4. New and unusual music venues

Putting on festivals in cities and towns can be a hassle when it comes to working with local councils, which has led promoters to think outside the box and make the most of unconventional gig spaces. If you like these kinds of festivals, expect to see shows hosted in churches, warehouses and car parks next year.

“These places give punters a much better experience,” reckons David Pichilingi from Sound City, who prefers using alternative spaces to so-called ‘black box’ music venues. “They’re a more memorable place to experience art.”

5. Disabled festival fans will get the information they need

Millions of deaf and disabled music fans will benefit from improved information on festival websites. Up until now, many festival goers have been discouraged from attending events due to a lack of information about necessary onsite provisions for disabled people. Access Starts Online is a campaign that hopes to change that, allowing anyone to purchase festival tickets with the knowledge that their needs will be met.

6. Electronic wristbands mean you might be tracked…

One of the most controversial issues to be discussed at Festival Congress was the increasing use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology at festivals. For example, the wristband you get when you enter a festival could be loaded up with money to pay for things, potentially allowing companies to monitor your spending habits.

“Tracking people when they don’t know about it doesn’t match with alternative festival culture,” said Chris Tofu from Continental Drifts, the events team that curates events such as Shangri-La at Glastonbury and Lovebox in London.

7. …but they could also make buying a drink less hassle

Truck Festival Day 2 2015 (c) Entirety Creative - Ross Silcocks-11

Photo: Ross Silcocks

If you don’t mind the potential Big Brother-ness of RFID, it could improve your festival experience.

The notoriously long wait for food and drink at some festivals could be cut down significantly thanks to this fast payment system.

8. Specialised boutique festivals are on the rise

While the UK’s largest festivals usually cater for a wide range of tastes, smaller boutique festivals have the freedom to specialise in a particular musical style or art form. The local nature of these events mean that festival goers don’t have to travel long distances to enjoy them with their friends, and the local food and drink on offer is usually of a higher quality.

For all these reasons, boutique festivals are likely to be more popular in 2016 than ever.

9. But medium-sized festivals might be in trouble

There’s a dangerous middle ground between the massive headliners of the UK’s most famous music events and the smaller celebrations of local music and art happening around the country.

Medium-sized events are struggling to compete in the modern festival environment, so you may be seeing less of these in 2016.

10. Unique experiences that go beyond the music

Truck Festival Day 2 2015 (c) Entirety Creative - Ross Silcocks-25

Photo: Ross Silcocks

The atmosphere of British music festivals separates them from ordinary gigs. It’s not just the big-name headline acts that people attend festivals for: it’s also the cool and unique fringe events that can be found beyond the main stage.

“No longer is it good enough to just offer bands in a field,” said Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens during his keynote speech at Festival Congress. “The sense of discovery at music festivals has never been stronger.”

With plans to continue innovating and offering unforgettable experiences for festival goers, the UK festival scene in 2016 looks promising.

So exciting times ahead for music lovers in the UK! If you can’t wait for the summer to get you teeth into it all, come and enroll yourself on one of our amazing music courses at The Sheffield College today!

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