Inside Story: Field days for the media

Forget free love and the hippy ethos, this summer's music festivals are a perfect platform for advertisers, broadcasters and PRs to make hay in the sunshine
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The Independent Online


When: 4-5 August.

Where: Watergate Bay, Newquay.

Cost: £45 for weekend tickets, £25 for daily.

Who's playing? Feeder, The Automatic, Starsailor, Graham Coxon, Nerina Pallot.

What is it? Organisers Sports Vision have put together sun, surf and music. And beer.

Who's plugging? James and Claire at Sports Vision.

Sponsors: Fosters lager; Rip Curl; Free Range; Davidoff Cool Water; Braun; Extreme Group.

Media Partners: Radio 1, Channel 4, Nuts magazine, Carve Surfing Magazine,


When: 5-6 August.

Where: Regent's Park, London.

How Much? Free.

Who's playing? Arrested Development and DJ Norman Jay, among others.

What is it? The Innocent fruit smoothies brand's own bespoke jazz and world music event is expected to bring in more than 80,000 fans. "This is the biggest piece of advertising we do," says Innocent's co-founder Richard Reed.

Sponsors and 'Friends of Fruitstock' Honda; Cath Kidston; Kumala wine; Green and Black's chocolate; Ocado (Waitrose online); Nastro Azzuro (Peroni Beer); Mumm champagne; Early Learning Centre; Neal's Yard Remedies; O'Connors Campers (high-class camper vans); Little Dish (fresh food for children); Honeybuns (cake-makers); Bigham's (upmarket ready meals) Penguin books.

Media Partners: The Times and The Sunday Times

Who's plugging? The Innocent in-house team on the "banana phone" hotline.


When: 19-25 June

Where: Hyde Park, London, and Harewood House, near Leeds

Who's playing? The Who, The Strokes, The Flaming Lips, Massive Attack, The Zutons, Depeche Mode

How Much? £32.50-£37.50 for each day

What is it? The economics of dual-centred events can attract big-name US acts to fit in three or four gigs over a long weekend in their tour schedule. Mobile telecom sponsors are pushing mobile ticketing. Between 1999 and 2004, the UK market for online ticketing for outdoor events grew by 29 per cent to £613m and this could rise to £836m by 2009.

Who's plugging? Event promoters: Live Nation

Press PR: Jacquie Chalmers and Anna Graham at Amazing Media

Sponsorship PR for O2: Alison Wallace at Cohn and Wolfe

Media partners/suppliers: Metro Newspapers; Channel 4; Xfm (for Hyde Park leg) and Galaxy Radio (for Leeds leg)


When: 19-20 August

Where: Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Weston Park, Staffordshire

Who's playing? Morrissey, Radiohead, Razorlight, Faithless, Beck, Kasabian, Paul Weller

How Much? Tickets £120 with camping, £100 without, £58.50 per day. All 130,000 tickets sold out within three hours.

What is it? Virgin was the first festival title-sponsor, opening the door for a new marketplace, now dominated by beer and technology companies. "Brands must understand and respect the festival-goers mind-set. They must seek to enhance the event," says Adrian Pettett, director of Cake agency.

Who's plugging? Promoters: SJM Concerts, MCD Productions and Metropolis Music Press, radio and TV PR: Davnet Doran at Cake

Headline sponsor Virgin Mobile's PR: Ginny Phaff at Henry's House

Media partners/suppliers: Channel 4; Virgin Radio


When: 8-9 July

Where: Balado, near Kinross, Scotland

Who's playing? The Strokes, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller, Franz Ferdinand, The Charlatans, The Ordinary Boys, Goldfrapp

How Much? £115 for the weekend with camping, £97.50 without, £56.50 either day. Sold out.

What is it? T in the Park was established when concert promoter DF Concerts teamed up with founding partner Tennent's Lager. DF Concerts partnered MCD Promotions to create sister company Big Day Out to organise the event. "T in the Park recognised that there were large areas of Britain that were poorly served by live-music promoters," says Steve Sutherland of NME, one of the media partners.

Who's plugging? Promoter: DF Concerts

Press and media PR: Liana Mellotte at Material

Media partners/suppliers

Radio 1; NME


When: 14-16 July

Where: Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey

Who's playing? A-Ha, Embrace, Billy Idol

How Much? £85 for weekend, £95 with camping; days £40; under-16s £50, or £60 with camping, £25 any day. 15,000 capacity each day

What is it? Radio 2-friendly festival, which co-sponsors the event and which is part of a growing trend toward small local events. According to the NME's Sutherland: "You can't move for festivals these days. Every local town, every weekend, has something going on, and many of them get fairly good line-ups. The GuilFest started out as a cockamamie piece of business with extraordinary line-ups and is now beginning to punch its weight."

Who's plugging? Promoter: Tony Scott Marquees

Press PR: Jayne Houghton at Jayne Houghton Music Consultancy and Mel Thomas at Stay Gold Press

TV and radio PR: Dylan Wright at Anglo Plugging

Media partners/suppliers: Radio 2; Rock Sound; Surrey Advertiser


When: 28-29 July

Where: Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-upon-Avon

Who's playing? Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Daft Punk, DJ Tiësto, Sasha, Deep Dish, Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, John Digweed

How Much? General admission: w/e £112.50; daily £62

What is it? Radio 1's involvement adds to its increasingly diverse portfolio, which includes the South by Southwest festival in Texas and Sonar in Barcelona. The BBC's Carter says: "We want to bring new music from elsewhere and also help to promote UK bands in other markets. Our strategy is three-fold - give new music a platform, bank hours of live footage for use across the schedules and build the BBC's band presence in live music."

Who's plugging? Press PR: Rhiannon Scott and Rob Diment at Spring PR

TV and radio PR: Anglo Plugging Media partners/ suppliers: Radio 1; Mixmag


When: 25-27 August.

Where: Reading and Leeds.

Who's playing? Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Pearl Jam.

How Much? £135 for w/e tickets; daily £60. Sold out but extension to capacity to be announced.

What is it? Formerly the Reading Festival, Carling has been the headline sponsor for eight years.

Who's plugging? Promoters: Mean Fiddler Group.

Print: Lewis Jamieson at Hall or Nothing.

TV and radio: Tony Cook and Clare Jarvis at Screen Promotions.

Carling sponsorship PR: Sam Parlane at Cake.

Media partners/suppliers: NME, print; Radio 1; Tiscali, broadband partner; Oxfam, charity partner.