DIY FESTIVALS: What These Scenes are Doing Right for Venues

DIY weekenders and all dayer events have become a favourite style of gig for me to attend over the last few years. From attending the likes of Hastings Punk Fest, and then going on to visit similar festivities such as Wotsit Called Fest, Mammothfest, Pie Race Festival, Manchester Punk Festival and plenty more (I really could go on), I have noticed how they can be a saviour for venues that host them.

Going from a punter to promoter, I can tell this from experience and witnessing how these events tend to be much busier than your average show. I ran my own one for Broken Arrow Magazine back in March this year, a two- day “weekender” at The Palace in Hastings and it was quite easy to spot that if you can get people out early enough for a gig, they will spend more in the venue. It’s even better if the venue also does food, just like The Palace does, this way it’s likely that punters will have less of a reason to leave the venue while the event is on, just like at a regular festival.

The New Cross Inn in London is a prime example of a venue utilising the power of all dayer and weekender events to boost business. From April this year they have had, Dugstock, Polite Riot Festival, Level Up Festival with Upsurge Festival still to come. Four different three-day events, with ranging styles of music over a four to five-month period during festival season. Some of them pulling in punters as early as 1pm up until closing, that’s a long time at a venue to be spending money on drinks. They all seem to be incredibly successful, Level Up ended up selling out on both the Saturday and Sunday too, so a packed-out venue for hours on end can only mean great business for the bar.

One factor that boosts these events is how connected certain scenes are and how supportive people can be towards them. For example, those who go to Manchester Punk Festival are likely to go to Wotsit Call Fest in Hastings or Pie Race in Leeds. Then those who go to Level Up Fest in London are likely to go to Skankfest in Bristol. Fans are willing to travel across the country to keep events like this going and to keep venues running, far more than your stand alone three or four band gig on a Friday or Saturday night.

Not only that but by booking bands in a certain scene, plenty of these bands have played other shows together, toured together and have become friends. These shows become essentially “mates fests”, where a scene or music family come together in one place have provided enjoyable memories, therefore improving the reputation of said venue.

Due to these events being done on a nationwide scale, all year round, it would definitely appear that they are certainly a way forward for venues to get a boost in sales every now and. I for one plan to look into doing more of them across next year as a booster for my own town. The key is to find the right balance in not overdoing them.

Author: Makky Hall. WWW.VENUE-INSIGHT.COM OCTOBER 2018 11

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