- Leeds and Reading Festival attendees are 41% millennials and 36% Gen Z’rs.
- Reading and Leeds Festivals take 4th place in the ranks of the largest music festivals in the UK.
- Only 13% of festival headliners in 2022 identified as female
- Reading and Leeds 2022 festivals each drew around 100,000 festivalgoers.
- The 2022 Reading Festival brought in £64 million in spending.
- 50 arrests were made at the 2022 Leeds Festival, more than double the previous year.
- The 2023 Leeds Festival could bring in £114m for the region’s local economy.
Reading & Leeds Festivals are twinned music festivals estimated to be one of the largest music festivals in the UK. They have been held since the 1970s and have featured famous acts such as The Beastie Boys and grunge pioneers, Nirvana.
If you want to find out more about the facts and figures from the 2022 festivals and what’s to come for the 2023 dates, keep reading!
All About The Leeds & Reading Festivals
Although Reading is in the southwest of England and Leeds is in the north in Yorkshire, the two festivals share the same lineup, with Reading’s Friday set becoming Leeds’ Saturday lineup. Thus Reading’s Saturday set plays at Leeds on Sunday and Leeds’ Friday acts play at Reading on Sunday.
The Leeds Festival is held at Branham Park while the sister festival is held at Little John’s Farm in Reading central. Both festivals were cancelled in 2021 due to Covid-19 but returned the following year.
Let’s kick off with some facts and figures from 2022.
Reading And Leeds Festivals 2022
The 2022 festivals were held from Friday 26-Sunday 28 August. The festivals are usually held over the August Bank holiday weekend.
Surveys conducted by the market research company, YouGov showed that 73% of their survey participants knew about the festivals. Both festivals were enjoyed by 34% of participants, disliked by 10% and 29% remained neutral.
Other metrics included the age of attendees of which 41% were millennials, 36% Gen Zers and 29% were Baby Boomers. Additionally, men dominated in the crowds and only 13% of music festival headliners were women in 2022. This gender imbalance has generated a lot of debate in the media.
Reading and Leeds Festivals take fourth place in the ranks of the largest music festivals in the UK. Glastonbury takes first place with 120,000 attendees, Download Festival with 110,000, followed by V Festival with 90,000 in third place. Reading 2022 drew just over 100,000 attendees while Leeds Festival announced they were expecting a similar number of festival goers.
Ticket prices for the festivals were £213 for 3-day passes while day tickets were just under £100.
On the local economic benefits side of the 2022 Reading Festival, the festival was estimated to have brought in £64 million in spending, with £48 million of that going into the UK economy. Some £8.5 million was spent in Reading itself. While about 4,650 people benefited from working at the festival, only 500 of those were Reading locals, according to organiser statistics.
Money spent at music festivals has a positive knock-on effect on local economies. Both those working in the larger picture such as event, concert and sound professionals to the smaller guys such as food and beverage vendors all benefit from every £1 spent at large music events. This is confirmed by many commentators, analysts and researchers.
But while music festivals benefit the regions they are held in, when large groups of boisterous youngsters come together to party, sometimes anti-social behaviour results.
The 2022 festivals were no exception.
Crime at 2022 Festivals
Two girls were reportedly injected with an unknown substance at Leeds in 2022 while waiting in line for food and a 16-year old boy died after taking what was believed to be Ecstasy or MDMA.
Other news sources described the 2022 Leeds Festival as “pure carnage”. Viral videos on TikTok showed tents being torched and bottles of urine being thrown about over the campsite. Arrests at the 2022 Leeds Festival almost doubled from 2021. 50 arrests were made at the Leeds Festival, mostly related to drugs. Similar episodes were recorded at the 2022 Reading Festival as well.
2023 Reading and Leeds Festivals
The festival has undergone numerous phases since its start, but together they host musical acts across various genres － from rock, indie music, metal, punk, pop and hip hop.
The top 2023 musicians booked are The Killers, Sam Fender and Billie Eilish. Additionally, acts such as Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, Foals and Imagine Dragons are sure to draw the crowds.
2023 ticket prices are £286 for a 3-day pass and gate admission, £321 for a 3-day pass plus gate admission and early entry and £101 for a single day gate entry.
Festival organisers have learnt from the chaos of 2022 and have announced a ban on any campfires within the festival arenas. Barbecues and cookfires are only permitted within campsites and they will be strictly monitored.
2023 Festival Projections
Projected figures and statistics for this year’s festivals look equally positive.
The Leeds 2023 festival could bring in £114m for the region’s local economy and has the potential to create 1,300 jobs, according to independent research. The report by BOP Consulting examined the impact of the pandemic on the Leeds and West Yorkshire visitor economies.
The report found that Leeds could experience a large increase in visitors, including overnight stays and associated accommodation, with an expected 10% increase during 2023, in comparison with the single-digit increase of 4% in 2022.
Just as sporting events and tourism, cultural events are seen as important mechanisms for bringing in investment and boosting local economies. The report also stated that the £114m figure injection into the local economy could grow to slightly over £140m by 2030. In terms of extra jobs created, this equates to 1,310 new jobs in 2023, rising to 1,620 by 2030.
The report also pointed out that the larger West Yorkshire region could expect a £49m annual boost to its overall economy due to the 2023 Leeds Festival.
It’s easy to see the economic and community benefits from the above that music festivals have in the areas they are held in. The downsides are increased traffic congestion and the generation of large amounts of pollution and waste but fortunately, the Leeds and Reading festivals are well run with organisers joining hands with recycling firms.
Both festivals positively endorse keeping waste to a minimum and actively encourage attendees to minimise single-use plastic and clean up.
But on the whole, Leeds and Reading festivals bring huge benefits － to both their host cities and the wider regions and to music lovers in the UK.
Have a happy and safe festival season for 2023!