I constantly read articles stating that since musicians are making so much less money from their recorded music these days, more and more of them are forced to take to the road and play live. This scenario applies to older established acts as well as fresh upcoming ones. For decades, bands played live shows primarily to promote their records. Touring around to festivals today might include some hassles, but in the long run will always benefit the artist AND the public wishing to see them in the flesh.
Without a doubt, attendance at music festivals from small, to medium, to large, is on the rise. And the big ones are slowly attracting more superstar names, along with huge corporation sponsorships. Just compare the roster at Coachella in 1999 when it started to the 2018 lineup. Over 32 million people attended at least one music festival in the U.S. in 2016, and half of those fans were millennials. But over the same time period, attendance in clubs has dropped.
Could the smaller club scene eventually benefit from this increased festival success? It seems in the old days of giant rock extravaganzas, the same people who attended these concerts were also the same people who went out to clubs, and I assume this is still true today. I’m betting that a general resurgence in club attendance will grow as a result of increased festivals, allowing these bands and other acts to have continued success in smaller venue circuits where they can perform more consistently BETWEEN their festival dates, especially during cold weather seasons. Maybe now that more fans are seeing their favorite artists at a festival, they will want to see them again in a more intimate setting. Can the increase of festivals spark a gradual club attendance revival? I think it can.