<strong></strong>With the recent spell of good weather, I finally started to think about what festival I should go to this year. The obvious choice and festival that I go to almost every year is Glastonbury but unfortunately this year, it isn’t on - apparently they have to let the fields rest every five years! This has left a huge gap for smaller rival festivals to up their game and draw punters to their offering this year, enticing them with pretty websites, great line-ups and not to forgetting to use social media to their advantage.
With the recent spell of good weather, I finally started to think about what festival I should go to this year. The obvious choice and festival that I go to almost every year is Glastonbury but unfortunately this year, it isn’t on - apparently they have to let the fields rest every five years! This has left a huge gap for smaller rival festivals to up their game and draw punters to their offering this year, enticing them with pretty websites, great line-ups and not to forgetting to use social media to their advantage.
The UK festival market was worth a staggering £1.1 billion in 2010, forecast to reach £1.4 billion by 2020 in this UK Events Industry report. Online box officing (particularly through the large agents such as See tickets, Ticketmaster and Ticketline) is a key concern for festival organisers, so it’s surprising to see that there is so much variation in the quality of festivals' online presence. I started to do my research and looked around on the web, as I’ve not heard or seen much in terms of social media and advertising from any of the UK festivals yet! Here’s what I found: Bestival The website had really nice illustrations and animations. I’m not sure why you have to click to enter but at least you have the main items on the landing page, such as buy tickets and their social media icons. I really like the animations and the eyes following the cursor around, its looks fun and playful. Once I had played with the animation, I read the site but couldn’t make sense of the information or the artist hierarchy. Reading / Leeds There was no surprise here, it’s been the same brand for years and because of this, the site looks quite boring to me. The one thing that is good about it is that it is user friendly; I had no problem navigating around this site. I did notice quite a large error, which was that there are two Facebook icons on the homepage. I clicked on them both and realised one actually takes you to a spotify playlist - which is an excellent idea for a festival website, just a shame no one knows it’s there! V festival This website is vibrant and fun, it has some nice illustrations - not quite as nice as Bestival, but still nice. It also has a good user experience and a great use of the sub navigation. Loved the very British logo and festival counter on the homepage, this always gets you excited when you can see how many days are left to go before you are enjoying great music, usually with a cold cider, in a field somewhere. When I clicked on the line-up it was displayed perfectly with the band hierarchy – easy to see who was playing and when. T in the Park I was so shocked when I hit this site, it looked dated and boring. I didn’t even want to click around it! I couldn’t even find any social media icons to see what the festival buzz was… NEXT! The Secret Garden Party When landing here, I loved the brand and the sweet animations. I really liked the honeycomb navigation and thought that, out of all the sites that I’ve come across so far, this one instantly gave me the festival feel! In terms of being user friendly, it’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s easy enough to use and navigate around. When looking for the line up to see what’s on, all I found was an A-Z, like some of the other sites, which does not clearly show who is headlining. The social media elements were also seriously lacking - with no website likes or tweets! Overall After looking at all of the above festival sites, there are elements on each site that I like but some seem to have not considered what users might like to see on their homepage. Some have got their brand and animations working well then slipped up on simple things such as displaying the line-up clearly or using social media to interact with the audience! It’s a shame, as this is the year they should be really upping their game on the web to entice all the usual Glasto-goers to their festivals instead! I was hoping I would instantly be drawn to one of them and although some came close, such as Bestival, V and Secret Garden Party, I don’t believe any of them have as good a website or social media presence as Glastonbury. Maybe that is because I have been before and am looking through rose-tinted glasses, but what do you think? Let me know – leave a comment below or tweet me @goodster31