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From the dreadful weather to Glastonbury taking a year off, there have been plenty of reasons for taking a glum view of the state of the British music festivals industry in 2012.
This year poor ticket sales may have led to the cancellation of several regular UK gatherings, notably The Big Chill, but the industry still boasts a sizeable employment base in countless ancillary businesses. "Destination: Music", a recent report by industry trade body UK Music, suggests that the festival sector contributes GBP864m to the British economy, and sustains the equivalent of nearly 20,000 full-time jobs.
The live event business embraces a big range of supporting roles, from sausage making to loo hire, and for all the challenges of one of the most testing summers, they remain upbeat about the festival business.
"The wettest summer on record, a struggling economy, a little event called the Olympics and another 'saturation cycle' in the festival world have all contributed to a somewhat challenging year," admits Adam Hempenstall, director of Peppermint Bars, which supplies, stocks and staffs bars for Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Lovebox and other festivals. "But there's a genuine feeling of light at the end of the tunnel, post-2012."
UK Music has recently published an interactive Great British Music Festivals map that highlights 500 established festivals around the country. It is a colourful cluster, from heavyweights such as the Isle of Wight Festival and this holiday weekend's Reading and Leeds, to boutique affairs such as the Magic Loungeabout ("the refined unwind") in Yorkshire, and Leicestershire's splendidly named Glastonbudget. "It concentrates the mind to say we've got 500 successful festivals in the UK," says UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple. "Many people treat their festival as their holiday, and the post-Olympic euphoria about how great this country is will definitely encourage people to come back next year."
So, how have the myriad service companies adapted to another year of mudbaths, wellies and shrinking leisure budgets?
Some festivalgoers have been spending more money on items such as accommodation. Justine Jameson, co-founder of Cloudhouses, which supplies yurts - the upmarket, circular structures originally from Asia that are now making the poor little windswept tent look a bit forlorn - notes that last year's average spend of GBP400 on renting one of her yurts has increased this year as more people look to add beds and bedding to their order. Ms Jameson expects the company's annual GBP280,000 turnover to have increased come the end of this festival season.
"The logistics of this wet summer have been a huge learning curve all round, and made us invest in costly equipment, including our own track matting so we could operate as usual. Luckily, we have a loyal customer base. I'm sure having watertight accommodation does make life easier."
David Nye, founder of the Great British Sausage Company, which sells 65 tonnes of sausages a year, says that this year he opted out of many leading events that charge higher pitch rates for the right to sell on-site, in favour of smaller affairs such as Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire. "I've dropped so many of the big commercial events - turnover goes down a bit, but your profit goes up," he says.
Meanwhile, Mr Hempenstall says he employed more summer staff this year and forecasts a stronger 2013. "There are new shows, sponsors starting to come out of the woodwork, and 'early-bird' ticket deals for 2013 are doing better than ever."