Glastonbury Defies Inflation


The cost-of-living crisis has forced consumers to tighten their belts and exercise more control than ever on their spending. However, the long-awaited return of Glastonbury has not deterred some festivalgoers from splashing the cash.

After three long years, Glastonbury returned this summer to approximately 200,000 people. It is estimated that the majority of those people retained their £285 tickets bought in 2019, when COVID was little more than a minor, but very distant, concern.  As such, in spite of the biggest rise in inflation since the 1970s, festivalgoers did not shy away from the extravagance of the festival at which the cheapest pint was an eye-watering £6. Many punters have welcomed the festival as a much-needed break from the daily worries of rising inflation, soaring energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis. Subsequently, these consumers were seemingly more willing to spend more at Glastonbury, either due to pre-emptive saving or by having the festival as their ‘Summer holiday’ of 2022.

One festival goer commented:

“You can’t be penny-pinching once you’re here, especially as we waited so long to get here.”

However, this was undeniably not the case for all festivalgoers. A YouGov poll in 2014, found that wealthier people were more likely to attend Glastonbury, supporting the argument that some have not felt the pinch as they have been disproportionally less affected by the current economic situation. Comparatively, others noted a significant increase in the price of meals, undoubtedly caused by caterers being forced to pass rising prices onto the consumer. Nevertheless, it was still possible to have a more economic Glastonbury. 75% of the 400 food stalls at the festival took part in the ‘Food For A Fiver’ scheme which enabled punters to sample an endless variety of smaller portions, for a fiver. Moreover, festivalgoers could get 50% of their ticket subsidised by charities for volunteering as stewards and litter-pickers, helping to keep Worthy Farm safe and tidy.

Consumer response to Glastonbury bodes well for caterers as it suggests that punters are still willing to spend at events and festivals this summer. As the first fully unrestricted summer since 2019, this festival season still has the potential to be a large injection of revenue for many independent hospitality businesses.

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