Ticketmaster Buys Front Gate Tickets

Last week, Ticketmaster announced that it acquire Front Gate Tickets, a leading provider for festivals and a division of C3. The buy was announced following some months of speculation about the future of the company, as Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment acquired C3 last year. Announced with the acquisition was the separate acquisition of DIY ticketing platform Universe.

Front Gate had been owned by C3 and AEG in a joint venture, and there were some doubts as to who who own it following the purchase of C3 by Live Nation. The festival ticketing space has seen a rise in competition lately, and Front Gate had been a leader, ticketing larger festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella, and the ACL Music Fest. They also were an innovator in RFID wristbands and cashless operations at events. The acquisition of such a large festival competitor affords Ticketmaster the opportunity to become a bigger player in domestic festival ticketing, though its overall dominance in the ticketing industry may cause some to sound the antitrust alarm.

Festivals Compete for Headliners

Elsewhere in festival news, the New York Times published an interesting article, “Music Festivals Scramble for the Same Headline Talent.” It reports that talk of a “festival bubble” is rampant among the industry, with many wondering if the festival era will come to an end. British music promoter Harvey Goldsmith even pronounced that “the festival circuit has peaked,” and that there aren’t enough headliner acts emerging in this generation.

Another opinion is that as the festival audience has grown, so has the number of festivals—but that this has flooded the supply market. As a result, the same headliners are often performing at many festivals, which creates a wide overlap of artists. This summer, 70% of the festivals are headlined by either Florence and the Machine, Muse, or D.J. Avicii.

Perhaps there’s no reason to worry. John Giddings, promoter of the Isle of Wight festival, sees it as proof of just how popular festivals have become. “There are more people going to festivals than ever before, it’s just there’s twice as many festivals,” he told BBC Radio.

That’s it for our Festival Edition. To stay tuned on industry news, follow the TicketVoice blog.