A new book by a Leeds Beckett University music industry expert and festival consultant is set to be celebrated at a launch party event at White Cloth Gallery in Leeds on Friday 12 February.
Dr Robinson’s new book charts the history and ongoing development of the contemporary festival scene. She explained: “The spread of UK music festivals has exploded since 2000. Gone are the days of a handful of formulaic, large events dominating the marketplace. Across the country, hundreds of ‘boutique’ gatherings have popped up, drawing hundreds of thousands of festival-goers into the fields. In my new book I address why this has happened and what has led to this change.
“The scene has changed in that the content at festivals has become much more diverse and the expectation of festivalgoers has changed too. This isn't all about expecting better food and cleaner toilets. It's about wanting opportunities to engage creatively, to make an imprint however big or small on the festival canvas. From costume to art to imaginative theming, festivals that have understood the need to innovate beyond the music - Secret Garden Party, Lost Village, BoomTown, Shambala, Kendal Calling - have cultivated loyal followings. This doesn't mean that the 'headliners model' of Leeds Festival or T in the Park is outdated: just that the festivals market has evolved to accommodate some very contrasting ideas about what a festival is, and indeed what it should be.
“There are many factors contributing to this; but the shift can also be viewed as a natural progression. Since the late 1960s the British countryside has been the ultimate petri dish for festival culture. The increase in the number of festivals has naturally prompted a kind of creative arms race, driving promoters to add values and think well beyond the format of bands on a stage.”