Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Download tells punters: We're your bitches

Aware of its position low on the pecking order of UK festivals, Download organisers are responding to audience demands for this year's festival.

Yes, sadly, this is actual news: festival organisers listening to the people who pay their ticket prices and giving them what they want. And even that wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for the recession and the over-supply of festival events:

[Vice-president of music at Live Nation, Andy] Copping admits that festivals are being forced to listen to their fans, many of whom will inevitably scale back their spending on music this year.

He added: "You can't just find a bit of grass, put up a stage, put bands on and expect people to turn up.

"They expect far more these days, if they're going be spending a hundred pounds a ticket, you've got to offer them a really good deal."

The really, really good deal - of not charging them a hundred quid in the first place - doesn't seem to have occurred to him. There's something almost wistful in his acceptance that, oddly, people aren't going to break their budgets to be treated like particularly low-standard cattle.

So, what can this year's Downloaders look forward to?
They include cutting the distance between stages and campgrounds and improving the toilet facilities.

Seriously, LiveNation needed an online forum to tell them that. That must have been an eye-opening day when the results were fed back: "Hey, it turns out that people don't want to have to piss in a small plastic box filled to the bubbling brim with other people's shit and smeared with blood and puke." You couldn't buy that sort of insight.
Live Nation claims environmental issues are top of the agenda for some fans this year and it is looking at ways to improve waste management at the site.

In other words, it's going to tell the support acts to not complain when bottles of wee come flying at them.