Study by Pirate reveals UK festivals are booking fewer new acts each year

Art & Culture
Written by Grace Morton

Pirate have analysed 10 years of the top 32 UK festivals’ line-ups, finding that programming is becoming less unique year-on-year, particularly amongst the bigger players.

Following this study, Pirate has identified the best UK festivals for new talent along with releasing new performance opportunities for emerging artists.

The study reveals large festivals- those with a capacity of more than 50,000- have a tendency to schedule the same performers annually, with a spike in 2022, presumably as a result of restrictions in the wake of the pandemic.


Thankfully smaller festivals with capacities of under 20,000 and 50,000 have been shown to consistently book up and coming artists.


Pirate also identified the best UK festivals for discovering new music, which includes Shambala, The Great Escape and All Points East, achieved a rate of 85% new versus returning acts since they began. This excludes larger festivals with unique line-ups such as Boomtown, Wireless and Lovebox, which score 80% new versus returning acts.

To combat the disheartening results of this study, Pirate will launch a summer residency scheme to provide more performance opportunities for emerging acts in the UK on March 6th, in collaboration with Cross The Tracks, El Dorado, Festival People, Truck Festival and more industry partners. To be amongst the first to apply, sign up here.

Pirate, birthed in Bristol and migrated to London, are a 24-hour network of Recording, Rehearsal, DJ, Podcast and Dance studios spread across New York, London, Berlin, Los Angeles and beyond.