How much do bands make at festivals?
Appearances at festivals will be paid out on a tiered system. Obviously the biggest headlining acts will usually all be paid the same amount, so for Reading and Leeds Festivals there are 3 headline bands for the main stage and these will all be paid generally the same amount of money each. This is usually around, but not much more than £200,000 per band. This is not always the case, it is reported that a headline slot for Oasis at Reading and Leeds netted them close to £1,000,000. It really is dependent on the size of the artist at the time and what fee they can demand.
Other festivals can vary with paying the headline acts. Glastonbury for example, doesn’t pay nearly as much as most other festivals, relying on the fact that the mere fact that a band has played a headline slot will catapult them to another level. By playing Glastonbury acts are well aware of both the kudos and the relative promotional qualities having such a spot would mean. I always remember Muse headlining Glastonbury for the first time and how before that show I didn’t really have time for them, but after they seemed to be on another level. This has always seemed true for headliners at Glastonbury, and as such, bands will always play for a much less sum than they would elsewhere.
Then you move on to the acts below the headliners. Most of the bands appearing on the main stage and elsewhere will be paid on a tier system depending on the slot given. The main headline support, so the band on second to last will be paid a lot more than the band that plays at 11am when the gates fly open.
So how much do some of the bigger bands get paid at festivals?
How much would new bands get paid at festivals?
It won’t surprise you to hear….not a lot! If at all! Being in an unsigned band, or a band signed to an independent label is always a struggle and that struggle doesn’t stop at playing festivals. The issue is actually trying to get a slot at a top festival which can be incredibly hard without a big label behind you.
The best way forward is to look for smaller more boutique festivals, usually local to where you are from or that are known for putting on smaller acts. I once played a slot at Glastonbudget festival, the clue was in the name! I think we got paid something like £100 for the gig, but we also got our weekend ticket, and when you are young and hungry to play any type of festival then that isn’t too bad.