Compare and Contrast strategies: Glastonbury v T in the Park
Strategy is the long-term direction of an organisation (Exploring Strategy: Johnson, Whittington, Scholes 2011). It allows a method or plan to be derived as a way of achieving long-term goals and objectives. Organisations will use strategy to foresee their future and identify any potential problems that may arise in order to accommodate and avoid them. There are a diverse range of models that can be used to form the strategic plan of an organisation such as Porter’s five forces framework and VRIN. With regards to music festivals, which are highly popular events that attract over 7.7 million attenders in the UK every year (UK Music 2012), it is essential that they use strategy as a way of determining and ensuring their success. I will explore the strategies of UK based festivals, The Glastonbury Festival and the T in The Park festival, and compare and contrast these strategies to come to a decision as to whether the strategy adopted by Glastonbury would be an appropriate strategy for T in the Park. Since its first beginnings in 1970, The Glastonbury Festival has developed and changed its strategy over the years to meet the needs of its growing number of attendants.
The festival has progressed from having “1,500 hippy revellers gathered on a farm” (Exploring Strategy: Johnson, Whittington, Scholes 2011) to now being considered as “the largest greenfield festival in the world” (BBC news article, June 2013) catering for around 100 times more bodies than in its first year. This can be seen to provide evidence that the festival’s strategy has been successful as there has been clear growth in the size of the event and numbers of attenders. In its early days, Glastonbury’s main concern was to offer the hippy culture a weekend of entertainment as a means of supporting charity.
Today, the strategy has developed into offering a wide ranging genre of music to accommodate the differing audiences that now attend the event. According to The Glastonbury Festival website “You’ll meet all kinds of people, of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, lifestyles, faiths, concepts of fashion and musical taste”. This is in contrast to Scottish festival T in The Park (TITP) as when T in the Park started out in 1994, its main aim was to attract a young and local audience and to this day the strategy has stayed consistent with TITP still aiming to attract the younger population and sticking to its roots.
With reference to Porter’s five forces framework, both The Glastonbury Festival and TITP are faced with the issue of competitive rivalry. As the music festival industry is ever-growing, with there being more than 670 events in Britain alone (The Guardian: Warman August 2010), the two festivals have to incorporate the threat of their competitors into their strategy. As the bad weather is an issue facing both festivals, festival goers may decide to attend events abroad where they are guaranteed sunshine and high tempratures for the weekend.
A report by YouGov Sixth Sense in November 2012 revealed that 54% of people who had attended a festival in the past would not go again in 2013 with the main reason being because of bad weather and muddy fields for 18%. Also, it was revealed that 57 festivals were cancelled in 2012 due to bad weather conditions (AGF Blog, EFestivals, Challis September 2012). Providing people still wish to attend a festival but want to avoid the poor weather, competitors abroad offering this experience will steal Glastonbury and T in the Park’s customers, exposing them to the danger of competitive rivalry.
This is one way in which the two festivals have similarities in their strategy. As TITP is predominantly aimed at the younger generation, with the majority of attendance coming from those aged 18-25 according to Geoff Ellis from DF Concerts, its strategy is in contrast with that of the Glastonbury Festival as its stakeholder focus is different because, generally, Glastonbury’s clientele are older. With regards to stakeholders, TITP’s customers have a relatively high level of power in influencing their strategy. Reason being that, because TITP’s customer base are primarily aged 18-25, the acts that perform at the festival have to reflect this.
For the last 4 years the headliners at TITP have included the likes of Rihanna, Mumford and Sons, David Guetta, Artic Monkeys and Eminem (T in the Park Website) whereas Glastonbury’s headliners have been geared towards an older audience with headliners including U2, Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones (Glastonbury Website). This illustrates how the festivals’ strategies would be different. Furthermore, the power of TITP’s customers in influencing their strategy can also be seen in the security at the event. At TITP the security is stricter than Glastonbury in the sense that they are lesstolerant with alcohol. You are not permitted to take alcohol into the arena at TITP whereas, at Glastonbury, you are. This reflects upon the age of the audiences at both festivals and will affect each strategy. Crime is a universal concern that is not limited to one festival alone, therefore this introduces another similarity between both festivals’ strategies. The problem with anti-social behaviour and drug use is an issue faced by both festivals and one that needs to be addressed in the strategy of the organisations.
The police made the decision bring in drug bins to T in the Park’s 20th anniversary weekend this year following the death of a teenage girl who was the seventh victim of fake ecstasy pills that were being dealt in Scotland (The Independent, 2013). Even in Glastonbury’s early days it was not uncommon for police to witness drug deals in and near the festival (Exploring Strategy: Johnson, Whittington, Scholes 2011). As health and safety is important and crucial in ensuring the success of both festivals, both have a comparison in their strategy.
In my opinion, there are many elements of the Glastonbury Festival’s strategy that could be applied to T in the Park’s strategy also. For example, their strategies would need to be similar in order to overcome competitive rivalry and threat of substitution. So too would it need to be similar in order to combat the problem of drugs as there would need to be high security planned at both events. However, there are also many aspects of Glastonbury’s strategy that are different and could not be applied to T in the Park.
Reason being that Glastonbury operates at a slightly larger scale than T in the Park so its strategy has to reflect this. Also, as mentioned earlier in the essay, the target market for both festivals is somewhat different and so the events will be advertised differently to some degree as well as the acts being chosen accordingly to the audiences at each event. Both festivals have different strengths and weaknesses and their strategies must echo this. Although I believe there are some aspects of the Glastonbury Festival’s strategy that could be applied to TITP, overall they both have different individual strategies to suit them.