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    Heading out for fun

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    The sounds of summer spell big sales for stores, no matter where the festival is held, so be ready for the action


    Having included a Carnivals and Festivals feature in the magazine for a few years now, it is easy to see that the sector is more than booming – it is burgeoning. The list of packed, sold-out venues grows longer with each passing year, and the sheer size of the industry, when you consider that average tickets cost £100, means that this outdoors realm of fun and celebration is truly taking the country by storm. And it’s not just teenagers – the list of family-focussed and culturally themed festivals is growing too, so that age is no impediment.

    “The start of summer also signals the beginning of the festival season, with over 1,000 festivals taking place across the UK every year,” says Josh Lingenfelter, a spokesperson for Vegas Gems, who commissioned a study to see which were the most popular ones. He says that In 2022, around 6.5 million people attended festivals, and last year, it was reported that the UK festival industry was worth a staggering £3.8 billion.    

    “This study reveals which festivals are the most popular in the UK by calculating the average number of monthly searches. It may be no surprise that Glastonbury came out on top; the festival has a capacity of 200,000 people, and tickets usually sell out within half an hour.” 

    The 20 most searched for UK festivals 

    Rank Festival Average monthly search volume 
    1. Glastonbury 398,904 
    2. Download 96,348 
    3. Isle of Wight 76,401 
    4. Boardmasters 75,590 
    5. All Points East 65,193 
    6. Wireless 64,963 
    7. El Dorado 52,823 
    8. Latitude 46,700 
    9. BST Hyde Park 43,288 
    10. Kendal Calling 42,403 
    11. Lytham 35,941 
    12. Y Not 28,578 
    13. FSTVL 28,377 
    14. Truck 27,227 
    15. Shambala 26,695 
    16. Wilderness 25,627 
    17. Parklife 24,783 
    18. Creamfields 24,304 
    19. Green Man 23,422 
    20. Mighty Hoopla 21,338 
    Source: Vegas Gems

    In addition to the park-sited music gigs, which often run for entire weekends or even longer, with multiple acts performing and varied themed stages, local authorities and organisations often organise and promote their own city-centre-based carnivals and parades.

    It is easy to assume that proximity to these events is what counts – the Reading Festival is no good for your store if you are in Chelmsford, for example. But on the other hand, the events are so numerous and nationwide now that the chances are t some point you will be able to capitalise on some kind of event in terms of attendees stocking up en route. What’s more, the key word is indeed “en route”, and this most modern form of mass pilgrimage means that people from your catchment will likely be stocking up as they gather themselves, excitedly, to set off on their journeys elsewhere, meaning location is not the only key to festival sales and passing through is important, too.

    In addition to that, it is the summer festival atmosphere that will more than anything consistently stimulate festival-style summer sales of snacks and drinks, to add to the already building demand due to the BBQ season and the summer full of spectator sports that the country is now beginning to enjoy. Again, drinks and snacks will be the big festival atmosphere sellers – along with a liberal dose of ice cream and other chilled and frozen skus.

    Be cool

    “Consumers purchasing for journeys to big festivals or to take to local events are often looking for one thing: cold drinks,” says Brothers Drinks’ Head of Marketing, Nicola Randall. “The best way independents can out-manoeuvre the multiples is through chilling. Providing chilled stock is key in meeting the needs of convenience shoppers and particularly important to maximise summer sales related to carnivals and festivals. 

    She says that a full chiller will always pay dividends in the summer months and the importance of chilling to meet the needs of spontaneous purchasers can’t be over-stated. “If an outlet is fortunate enough to be sited near a big event, then it’s not just about initially stocking the chiller; the winning comes in continually re-stocking. Outlets near events will experience huge peaks in demand and while it’s a balancing act between serving customers quickly and having time or staff to re-stock chillers frequently, both are important levers for success.”

    Brands can benefit from having an adjacency with a festival or an event, through sponsorship, that will boost sales off-site and for a much longer period. Brother’s Cider, for example, has been associated with the king of festivals, Glastonbury, for many years.

    Heading out for fun

    “Festivals and carnivals drive sales irrespective of the weather; consumers want to enjoy cold drinks at all such gatherings. And, whether they are recreating the festival vibe at home or on route to a big event, what they really want are festival-related brands like Brothers Cider, the Official Cider of Glastonbury Festival. 

    “Our association with Glastonbury Festival has thrived over the decades. We know that the link really cuts through; anyone who has ever been is aware of the tie-in and, more importantly, while most can’t attend year after year, they can recreate the festival vibe and enjoy the free-spirited taste of Glastonbury in a can in their own home or at social gatherings by buying Brothers from convenience stores.”

    It goes without saying that beers and lager – and especially cider in the summer season – are the go-to refreshments for all-day festivals. Wine and cocktails are becoming more practical as the RTD revolution rolls on, but a long cold drink of a relatively low-alcohol brew is just what the festival calls for.

    “Cider is a great summer seller and always does particularly well around the festival season. In the warmer months, consumers seek out chilled cider, and independent retailers will benefit from keeping these two equations in mind: Summer sunshine = cider sales; and Cold stock = sold stock!”

    Shots also go down extremely well at these high-spirited gatherings, and Jägermeister is taking advantage of its ice-cold credentials to boost the festival season with a series of arctic activations.

    It has launched its takeover of a series of UK festivals, bringing a line-up to give partygoers the best nights of their lives this summer.  Jägermeister will be drawing in the crowds at its purpose-built Jägermeister Platz stage, which party goers can only enter by going underneath a giant, 23ft stag, recapitulating the brand’s logo. The ice-cold stage will be headlined by the hottest artists, who will create unforgettable experiences at five different festivals – and thus support sales of Jägermeister away from the venues by raising visibility and spreading interest and the association with good times.   

    Heading out for fun

    The on-site Jägermeister bar will be serving ice-cold shots and liquor cocktails such as the Jägermeister Mule – consisting of an icy shot mixed with ginger beer and a lime wedge, topped off with a cucumber to garnish – where guests can refuel and get ready to re-enter the dancefloor.   

    Festival goers can also immortalise the best night of their life by picking up a branded bucket hat or bandana and getting some snaps at the vintage Berlin style Photo-automat, which was also at the activation in Heaton Park, creating memories to last a lifetime.   

    Behind the scenes, Jägermeister is also serving ice-cold drinks at its very own VIP area at each activation, where a Hubertus Circle bartender offers a one-of-a-kind experience.   

    The brand’s next appearance will be at TRNSMT in Glasgow on 12-14 July; a first-of-its-kind venture for the brand in Scotland, while also returning for their second year running at Barcode Festival in the first week of July.  

    Dedicated festival sponsors of over 10 years, Jägermeister is continuing to give festival attendees an unforgettable experience and rapidly grow its reputation as the summer’s favourite ice-cold drink and allowing its fame for providing memorable experiences to snowball.  

    “Jägermeister is excited to create lasting memories with our consumers for yet another year,” said Trish White, Events Manager at Jägermeister. “We’re dedicated to bringing the ultimate festival atmosphere and giving people the best night of their lives this summer – an ongoing mission fundamental to Jägermeister’s DNA.”  

    Softly, softly

    Distinct from alcoholic beverages, there are of course massive opportunities for the upselling of soft drinks through the festival season, again overlapping with the usual elevated summer sales, and with all the sports tournaments and events taking place over the coming months. Some manufacturers have even seen the possibility of branding that directly ties in with the festival vibe.

    For example, Barr Soft Drinks is getting into the carnival spirit this summer with the introduction of limited-edition KA Karnival Twist to its best-selling Caribbean flavoured drinks range. 

    Sparkling Coconut and Lime flavoured KA Karnival Twist will be available from July in two pack formats, 500ml PMP (£1) and 2 litre plain pack. 

    “Carnival season is a massive opportunity for soft drinks retailers with over two million people joining the celebrations, and sales of Afro Caribbean drinks more than doubling during carnival weeks, when over 5 million drinks are served,” says Jonathan Kemp, Barr Soft Drinks’ Commercial Director. 

    Heading out for fun

    He says the launch has been times as KA continues to outperform the soft drinks market, growing three times faster than the total carbonates category and building on its position as the UK’s No.1 selling Caribbean flavoured drink [Circana, Value Sales, Defined Group “Caribbean flavoured drinks”, 06.08.2023].

    “KA is synonymous with a taste of the Caribbean and is a must stock brand during carnival season, when it delivers double the sales of competitors,” said Kemp. “The added limited-edition aspect will really excite new shoppers as well as our loyal consumer base. We’re advising retailers to stock up and ensure availability throughout peak summer months. You really can’t have a KArnival without KA!”

    Nicola Randall stresses the [practical considerations of successfully selling to festival- and carnival-minded customers: “In-store, consumers are usually asking themselves ‘Is it chilled?/Can I easily carry it?/What will my peers think?/Does it have a talk-about factor?’” 

    Her conclusion is that the winning formula is to focus on products that are chilled – or, at the very least, easier for consumers to chill (i.e. cans) – products that are easy to carry and won’t break (she agrees that cans are ideal for festivals and carnivals), and products which have something new or interesting to say (i.e. are new-to-market or recently relaunched).

    “Prominence is absolutely key,” adds Randall. “Shoppers stopping off on the way to big events or those attending local gatherings would rather be out enjoying the fun than in a store, so make it easy for them to quickly find what they want, buy it speedily, and get out.

    “Remember that many customers might not be local so unfamiliar with store lay-outs, and temporary additional signage and secondary siting of key categories like cider can really help.”

    Festival of snacks

    Portable, instant, tasty, economical – snacks are perfect to keep you dancing all day long, with a burst of energy and the nutrition that keeps you going between meals. This of course makes them perfect for sunny days out and about in general, and also lends a festival provenance to snacking.

    “With summer fast approaching, social calendars are filling up with big events including festivals,” notes Matt Collins, Sales Director at KP Snacks. “Consumers will be looking for the perfect snack to pair with drinks for these occasions, creating a valuable opportunity for retailers to drive CSN sales.”

    Despite – and perhaps even because of – inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, snacks are more than holding their own as one of the very largest categories in convenience, with huge scale, worth over £4.3bn and growing in value +9.2 per cent, as Collin points out. “Festivals and events will largely be attended by groups of friends and relatives, providing a sales opportunity for sharing products, both when gathering together pre-event, and on the road,” he says,

    The festival season capitalises on one of the strongest ongoing trends in snacks, which is sharing – something that arguably started under lockdown with the necessity of entertaining at home.

    “At KP Snacks, we are catering to the growth of sharing occasions with a diverse portfolio of tasty snacks to generate demand and drive sales. Our exciting range has something for everyone from KP Nuts, Butterkist, Penn State Pretzels and of course Tyrrells crisps.”

    Heading out for fun

    Matt says that the secret is to cater for all sharing occasions. Healthier Snacking is on the rise, for example, with the segment growing +5.5 per cent [Circana] as consumers remain health-conscious and the category adapts to HFSS legislation. “popchips is rated as the number one ‘Better for You’ bagged snack brand in the sharing pack format,” he says. “Coming in at under 100 calories per serving and with a third less fat than the market leader, popchips provides a more permissible snack without compromising on big flavour. 

    Launched last year, popchips Hot & Spicy is available in 85g Sharing format, bringing a kick to the Healthier Snacking segment.  Perfect for consumers who are looking for a tasty, healthier product to enjoy when at festivals, popchips Hot & Spicy capitalises on “Spicy” being the third fastest-growing flavour profile. 

    Nuts are also going nuts. “Exempt from HFSS legislation, Nuts offer a delicious treat whilst at festivals with friends. Worth £97.9m RSV and growing +4.6 per cent, the KP Nuts portfolio offers delicious flavours in a range of sharing formats and leads the category as the UK’s number-one branded nut.” Matt adds. 

    In recent years snack improvisation has gone in many directions, from baked rather than fried, and HFSS-friendly, to the overwhelming tide of fantastic flavours now available, many of them exotic and somewhat spicy, which seems to suit the British palate (doubtless going well with beer). Nuts are no exception to this trend.

    “Bringing big, bold flavours to evening sharing, the largest occasion within both nuts and sharing, our KP Nuts Flavour Kravers range was recently expanded with the launch of two new coated variants: Crunchy Coated Aromatic Thai Chilli and Crunchy Coated Katsu Curry. Designed to attract new shoppers to the Nuts segment, the new KP Nuts Flavour Kravers products deliver innovative flavours and a satisfyingly crunchy and crispy texture. 

    It’s not just the General Election that is perfect for setting yourself up with a good supply of popcorn – festivals are the perfect venue for this light and more-ish snack as well.

    “Popcorn is an ideal partner to the excitement and entertainment of festivals this summer,” Colins confides, “and with a 35.4 per cent market share of the popcorn segment, Butterkist is the nation’s favourite popcorn. 

    “For shoppers looking for sweeter snacking moments, our Butterkist Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate flavour toffee popcorn is the perfect product to add fun and indulgence to any festival. The innovative flavour bridges the gap between popcorn and chocolate confectionary to create a sweet and irresistible snack. 

    KP knows that especially in popcorn there is a high demand for premium lines as consumers look to make in-home occasions feel more special (popcorn means a special occasion as it is associated with pleasurable events such as going to the movies), and the company says that 46 per cent of shoppers are  more inclined to trade up to premium food and drink options when dining at home. Put those facts together and the ongoing premiumisation of the snacks market spells great sales ahead.

    “Tyrrells 150g Sharing bags are key products to capitalise on,” Collins says, because they offer classic and tasty flavours. “Full of personality, the Tyrrells brand has taste and quality at the heart of its offering and delivers the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine or cider.”

    It’s important that retailers also continue to stock a strong core range of leading CSN products, and last year’s launch of KP’s “25 to Thrive” ranging advice to provide a core recommendation of must-stock SKUs from multiple suppliers has been a huge success, proving that helping your competitors can also help yourself by growing the category overall.

    “The impartial category-wide advice has been designed to help retailers bag their share of CSN sales, with the category now worth over £4.3bn and experiencing strong growth of +9.2 per cent.”

    He says that by stocking the “25 to Thrive” range and positioning CSN fixtures with prominence, retailers can revive their sales, drive impulse purchases and thrive in a competitive market this summer.

    So chill, restock and be sure to have a wide and premium choice of the best brands to hook the revellers as they travel on their way to a great summer – and so ensure you have a great summer yourself.


    Make the most of the music

    Festivals are carpeting the country this summer, so check out which ones are near your store from this (partial!) list

    BST Hyde Park Hyde Park, London, Jun 28 – Jul 14

    Many concerts over several weeks (Kings of Leon, Andrea Bocelli, Robbie Williams, Stevie Nicks)

    Lytham Festival Lytham Green (Blackpool), July 3-7

    Five days of music (Shania Twain, Madness, Rick Astley)

    Timber Festival The National Forest July 5-7 

    Campfires, yoga, ecology (Kiiōtō, Stone Club, Rozi Plain)

    Love Supreme Jazz Festival East Sussex, July 5-7

    Three days of jazz and funk (Chaka Khan, Kool & The Gang, Dionne Warwick)

    Big Smoke Festival Crystal Palace Park, July 6

    First time festival with rapper Skepta (Uncle Waffles, Mahalia, Kitty Amor)

    The Recipe Gunnersbury Park, London, July 6

    New R&B, with endless buffet (Jazmine Sullivan, SiR, Alex Isley)

    Kew The Music Kew Gardens, July 8-14

    A week of music and horticulture (Ronan Keating, Beverley Knight, Monty Don) 

    In The Park Liverpool Sefton Park, July 12-14

    Three-day extravaganza (Jamie Webster, Cream Classical)

    Wireless Finsbury Park, London, July 12-14

    Hip-hop heaven (Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, Vanessa Bling)

     Also Festival Park Farm, Compton Verney, July 12-14

    Magical music and comedy (Adam Kay, The Fontanas, Jessica Winter)

    Beat-Herder Lancashire, July 18-21

    Breakbeat, dub, reggae (Leftfield, Orbital, Sosa)

    Secret Garden Party: Roots Abbots Ripon, Cambs, July 25-28

    In-the-know spectacular (Where the Wild Things Are, Doghouse, The Lost Woods)

    Junction 2 Boston Manor Park, London 26-28 July

    Dancing under the viaduct (LSDXOXO, KI/KI, Juliet Fox)

    Tramlines Hillsborough Park, Sheffield, July 26-28

    City-based value music (Paolo Nutini, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Human League)

    Truck Festival Hill Farm, Oxfordshire, July 26-28

    25th year of alternative sounds (The Kooks, Sea Girls, Black Honey)

    WOMAD Charlton Park, Wiltshire, July 25-28

    Oldest world music gig (79rs Gang, Deerhoof, Alison Goldfrapp)

    Kendal Calling Lowther Deer Park, Lake District, August 1-4

    Popular fun (Sampa The Great, Amadou & Mariam, Afrobeat Collective

    Valley Festival Chew Valley Lake, nr Bristol, August 1-4

    An organic festival (Skids, Tinie Tempah, Sister Sledge)

    Wilderness Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, August 1-4

    Four-day extravaganza (Barry Can’t Swim, De La Soul, Bjorn Again)

    51st Festival Copthall, Barnet, London, August 3

    Boardmasters Newquay, August 7-11

    Cornish beach special (Stormzy, Tom Odell, Katy B, Katy B) 

    Boomtown Winchester, Hants, August 7-11

    Drum and bass, techno (TBC: Damian Marley, Nicky Nair, Jungle Cakes)

    Houghton Festival Houghton Hall, Norfolk, August 8-11

    Stage designs and light displays (Adam Shelton, Felix Dickinson, Anna Wall)

    Live from the Yard Zebedee’s Yard, Hull, Aug 8-11

    Join 16,000 others (Calum Scott, Ocean Colour Scene, Razorlight)  

    We Out Here Wimborne St Giles, Dorset, August 15-18

    Live and DJs all weekend (Nana Benz du Togo, Moses Yoofee Trio Floating Points)

    Green Man Crickhowell, South Wales, August 15-18

    Multiple genre get-together (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lambrini Girls, Bar Italia)

    Beautiful Days Escot park, Devon, August 16-18

    Family-friendly rock and folk (Richard Ashcroft, The Levellers, The Damned)

    Hardwick Festival Hardwick Hall, Durham, Aug 17-19

    Three-day family event (Snow Patrol, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Crazy P Soundsystem)

    All Points East Victoria Park, London, August 16, 17, 18 / 23, 24

    One-day festivals (Teenage Fanclub, Kaytranada, Sainté)

    Shambala Festival “secret” location, Northants, August 22-25

    Bank Holiday bonanza (acts TBA)

    Field Day Victoria Park, Hackney, August 24

    All-day in the field (Justice, Yaeji, Mura Masa, Romy)

    Lost Village Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, August 22 -25

    Music in the forest (The Blessed Madonna, Fatima Yamaha, Hudson Mohawke)

    Creamfields Daresbury, Cheshire, August 22-25

    Massive dance date (Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, Charlotte de Witte)

    The Long Road Stanford Hall, Leicestershire,August 23-25

    American-flavoured honky-tonk(Wyatt Flores, Red Clay Strays, Sugarland)

    Big Feastival Kingham, The Cotswolds, August 23-25

    13th year, hosted by Blur’s Alex James (Natasha Bedingfield, Scouting for Girls, Joel Corry)

    Rally Southwark Park, London, August 24

    Underground specialities (Mount Kimbie , Actress, Bar italia)

    Body Movements Southwark Park, London, August 25

    LGBTQ+-focused dance (Saoirse, Shanti Celeste, TAAHLIAH)

    Reading and Leeds Bramham Park, Wetherby / Little John’s Farm, Reading August 21-25

    Two festivals – same weekend, shared line-up (Blink-182, Lana Del Rey, Raye, Liam Gallagher)

    Manchester Pride Festival Canal Street, Manchester, August 23-26

    “Party as protest” sounds (Chinchilla, DJ Paulette, Loreen)

    Victorious Southsea, Portsmouth, August 23-25

    South coast rock (Yard Act, Arlo Parks, Fatboy Slim)

    Eastern Electrics Lee Valley Showground, London, August 24

    Dance music DJ focus (Sven Väth, Âme Jamie Jones, Barry Can’t Swim)

    Forwards Festival Clifton Downs, Bristol, August 31 – September 1 

    Second year of inner-city sounds (Floating Points, Loyle Carner, Baxter Dury)

    End of the Road Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, August 29-September 1

    Varied cultural delights (Sleater-Kinney, Sprints, Yo La Tengo)

    Mucky Weekender Vicarage farm, Winchester, September 5-7

    The Dub Pistols’ project (Dreadzone, Congo Natty, LTJ Bukem)

    Reminisce Festival Sherdley Park, St. Helens, September 7

    Nostalgia is the future (2 Funky 2, Basshunter, Amanda Wilson)

    Maiden Voyage Burgess Park, London, September 14

    From the Camden Jazz Cafe crew (Arca, Lady Shaka, Tai Lokum)

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