Music Festival Analysis: The Ultimate Line-Up (2023)

Whether you’re in the deserts of Coachella or the muddy fields of Glastonbury, the world is full of incredible music festivals. Each year, festivals around the globe attract a stellar line-up of artists from across every genre, with some performers returning to certain festivals time and time again.

With this in mind, we’ve looked at some of the most iconic festivals in the world and analyzed their line-up over the last ten years to reveal which artists are the most common headliners, which genres are the most popular, and what the gender split is for artists across festivals in the UK and internationally.

The UK’s 15 most common festival headliners

The UK is the home of great music festivals, with over 800 taking place each year. With the likes of Glastonbury and Isle of Wight Festival attracting some of the biggest artists from around the world, it’s no surprise that many of these names have returned to headline in the UK year after year.

Music Festival Analysis: The Ultimate Line-Up (1)

Our research found that the UK’s most-common headliner is Calvin Harris, who has taken the headliner spot seven times at the five most popular UK-based music festivals in the past ten years. Electronic-dance festival Creamfields has asked him back to headline five times since 2014, and various other UK festivals have also been lucky enough to have him perform. A variety of EDM, house, and trance DJs make up the rest of the top three, with Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, and Tiesto in joint second place with six headline appearances, and David Guetta in third, with a total of five UK headline slots.

Just 6% of artists headlining UK based music festivals were female over the past decade

As with international festivals, the male and female split for headliners in the UK is massive. A staggering 89% of festival headliners over the last ten years have been male, and just 6% of artists headlining were solely female. Most of those women have only performed once, though artists such as Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Heather Small, and Nicki Minaj have all hit the main stages twice in the UK. Glastonbury received significant backlash earlier this year after revealing an all-male line-up for its 2023 headliners. Organizer Emily Eavis has put this down to a lack of viable female headliner options due to an industry ‘pipeline’ issue.

With huge names such as Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Stormzy having performed multiple times across some of the UK’s biggest festivals, the most popular genre across the UK festival scene in the last ten years is hip hop, taking 12% of all headline slots. Following very closely behind with 11% of the headline performances is alternative rock, with bands such as Biffy Clyro, Kasabian, and Muse having all headlined over three times in the UK. With almost a quarter of the top ten most popular artists coming from the genre, it comes as no surprise that EDM is the third most common music category, with 9% of all headline appearances coming from some of the world’s top DJs.

Most common international festival headliners

The international music festival scene has really taken off over the last decade. Every year, thousands of people fly across the world to see some of their favorite acts, with festivals like Tomorrowland in Belgium and Summerfest in the US attracting over 400,000 festival-goers each year.

Music Festival Analysis: The Ultimate Line-Up (2)

There is a clear winner for the most popular international headliner, with Martin Garrix having performed a huge 15 times across some of the world’s major festivals. Given the DJ’s popularity within the progressive house genre, it’s no surprise that six of these appearances have been at electronic-dance music festival EDC Las Vegas.

Almost the whole of the top three is made up of electronic artists, with Above & Beyond, David Guetta, and Diplo all in joint second place with a total of nine international headline appearances each. In third place are DJs Hardwell and Kaskade with eight performances, though they are also joined by Red Hot Chili Peppers who are the only rock band to make it into the top three.

Interestingly, when looking at festivals across just Latin America, UK pop rock band The 1975 are the most common headliner, with the band having performed across festivals in Brazil and Mexico a massive seven times.

When looking at international headliners over the last decade, there is a huge gender split. Males artists have taken 77% of all headline slots over the last ten years, while solo females have made up just 12%. The only woman to make it into the top five most popular headliners is DJ Alison Wonderland, who has performed seven times at festivals such as Tomorrowland and EDC Las Vegas.

9% of all headline performances in the last decade have come from the EDM genre

Indie rock has been revealed as the most popular genre across international music festivals, taking up 10% of all headline slots. Big indie bands such as Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, and The National have all returned multiple times to play at some of the world’s biggest festivals. 9% of all headline performances in the last decade have come from the EDM genre, and alternative rock is the third most popular genre with 8% of all headline appearances.

While there isn’t too much of a split between the types of acts, bands do take up 52% of headline slots, compared with 46% for solo acts.

How to make the most out of your festival experience

Are you heading to a festival this summer to catch your favorite artist? Whether you’re staying close to home or flying further afield, we have a few top tips to help you make the most out of any festival experience.

  1. Know the schedule in advance

Most festivals release a preliminary schedule before the event. Take a look beforehand and note down any must-see artists. You don’t want to miss out on seeing your favorite band just because you forgot to check the timings!

Having said that, don’t be too rigid in plans, allowing room for spontaneity is all part of the fun of festivals.

  1. Plan your journey

Whether you’re staying local or heading further afield, it’s important to sort travel plans ahead of time to avoid any stress. If you’re planning to drive to the festival, make sure you’ve bought any festival car passes ahead of time, or look at public transport for a more sustainable travel option.

If you’re heading to a festival abroad, book flights and travel as early as possible to ensure you get the best deals. Lots of international festivals also don’t offer camping or accommodation, so you might need to factor this into your plans. If you decide to stay in a hotel, make sure it’s near the festival – the last thing you need is to be trekking across the city to get to the arena.

  1. Come prepared

Although rules will differ for each festival, lots of events let you bring your own food and drink, especially if you’re camping at the festival. Bringing your own reusable water bottle is also a super simple trick that can keep you hydrated throughout the festival.

Don’t forget the essentials such as sun cream, painkillers, and blister plasters, and pack for all weathers too – even if you’re heading to a beachside festival, you can never be sure what the weather might have in store.

  1. Have fun

Festivals are an incredible experience, and give you the chance to see some of your favorite artists and bands all in one place. Whether it’s your first festival or your fiftieth, you’re guaranteed good times and great music as you dance the days away alongside your friends and family.

Sources and methodology

VegasSlotsOnline pulled together a seed list of popular music festivals around the globe and analyzed their line-up over the past ten years to determine the most popular headliners. The research also looked into the most common genres and the gender split of headliners for these festivals.

To determine the music festival seed list, the following sources were used: Music Festival, Wizard, YouGov, and Statista.

Headline act information was found using both Wikipedia and Music Festival Wizard.


How much does it cost to create a music festival? ›

Startup Costs
CostAverage Amount (USD)
Security Personnel$2,000 - $20,000
Stages and Lighting$10,000 - $100,000
Festival Food and Drinks$2,000 - $50,000
Total$50,000 - $2 million
6 more rows
May 3, 2023

What do you wear to a music festival? ›

Choose lightweight and breathable clothing that allows air to circulate around your body. Some popular festival clothing options include flowy maxi dresses, loose-fitting tops, and shorts. Crop tops are also a great option, but make sure to pair them with high-waisted shorts or pants to avoid showing too much skin.

How do you get on festival lineups? ›

8 Tips to Help You Get Booked At Festivals
  1. Do Your Research! ...
  2. Keep It Short! ...
  3. Start Small And Local! ...
  4. Prove Yourself! ...
  5. Have An Online Presence! ...
  6. Keep In Mind All Costs & Expenses! ...
  7. Network Till You Drop! ...
  8. Stay Up-To-Date And Be Quick To Act!
Sep 26, 2022

What is the most attended music festival in the US? ›

Summerfest. Dubbed the “World's Largest Music Festival,” Summerfest offers music lovers more than 800 different bands performing on 12 different stages over the course of three consecutive weekends. Tickets to Summerfest start at just $26.

Do artists make money from festivals? ›

The amount of money an artist receives at a festival depends on many factors, including the number of attendees, capacity, and sponsors. Smaller artists often have to negotiate to get the same amount of money as big names, so it is important to understand the promotional leg up they get.

How much do DJs get paid to play at a festival? ›

A DJ with a large network and many gigs lines up can make upward of 6 figures. DJing for private events and festivals is a lucrative way to make over $400 a day. That being said, even though DJs make a lot of money, there's more to it.

Do you shower at music festivals? ›

The majority of festival goers choose to use onsite showers, which is why lines are so long. This option requires no preparation or packing, so it ends up being the only choice most unprepared festival goers can make. Let's take a look at what these onsite showers are like and what music festivals have them.

Is it OK to wear jeans to a festival? ›

DO: wear denim. Shorts, jeans, jackets and shirts, they're all welcome at festivals and make an easy go-to if you're unsure what to wear but still want to look cool.

Why do people dress crazy for music festivals? ›

Raves are a judgment-free zone, and that's why people can wear anything and everything. Clothing is expression, creativity, practicality and comfort. At a festival, you can wear something you couldn't wear anywhere else, or you can wear something that you'd go grocery shopping in. You wear whatever makes you happy.

How much does a headliner make at a music festival? ›

How Much Do Headliners Make at Festivals?
ArtistPaid per festival (on average)
Red Hot Chili Peppers$ 2 million
The Rolling Stones$1.5 million
Tame Impala$1.5 million
Eminem$1 million
8 more rows
Nov 25, 2022

How do you get a spot in a music festival? ›

Focus on perfecting your live show, building your network in person and online, and play showcases, fairs, and other small venues while you work your way towards securing a festival spot. If you're persistent and put in the effort year after year, it will pay off toward getting you a music festival slot.

What is the most crowded festival ever? ›

What is the biggest festival in the world? The biggest festival in the world is in fact, the Kumbh Mela. A gathering in India of more than 130 million people at a time and place dictated by astrology.

Where is the best music festival in the world? ›

The Results

Interestingly, seven of the top 10 biggest festivals in the world can be found in the USA. The winner – it's full name is 'The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival' – is an annual festival held in California, in the middle of the Colorado Desert.

Which is the most crowded music festival in world? ›

Therefore, Donauinselfest holds the Guinness World Record title of “largest attendance at a music festival (one location).” This is an outdoor music festival. The entrance to Donauinselfest is free. Every year, patrons from all over the world flock to Vienna to attend the music festival.

Do opening acts get paid? ›

Opening acts are typically given shorter sets, less stage space and lighting and lower volume than the headliner, which can make their performance seem shabbier. On top of that, he said, it's not unusual for openers to be paid less than 1 percent of what the headliner makes.

How much do Coachella artists get paid? ›

As for the up-and-coming artists, reports suggest those who are on the lower lines of the lineup will usually earn around $10,000 for appearing at the festival. In any case, it's clear that being a Coachella headliner comes with a hefty price tag.

Who makes the most money per concert? ›

Highest-grossing tours
RankActual grossArtist
1$853,000,000Elton John
2$776,200,000Ed Sheeran
4$584,200,000Guns N' Roses
16 more rows

Who is richest DJ in the world? ›

Richest Musicians 2023: Who is the richest DJ in the world? 10 of the richest DJs in 2023 - including top Scottish hitmaker
  1. Calvin Harris - $300 million. ...
  2. Gianluca Vacchi - $200 million. ...
  3. DJ Tiësto - $170 million. ...
  4. David Guetta - $150 million.
Mar 28, 2023

Who has the highest paid DJ gig? ›

Without further ado, here's our complete guide to the 10 highest paid DJs in the world:
  • David Guetta – $150 million.
  • Steve Aoki – $120 million. ...
  • Swedish House Mafia – $100 million. ...
  • Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo – $90 million. ...
  • Thomas Bangalter – $90 million. ...
  • The Chainsmokers – $80 million. ...
  • Skrillex – $70 million. ...
Feb 15, 2023

How much should I pay an opening act? ›

Set Opening Band Fees

There is usually an unwritten norm for opening act fee in most areas — say $100. So ask around and get some feel for what others in your town are getting.

How do you not smell at a festival? ›

Wet wipes are your best friend

Cheap, disposable and good enough to freshen you up, always carry a pack of wet wipes at a festival. They are perfect for wiping mud splashes or spilt drinks while you're out and about. You can also use them to have a 'festival wash' i.e. a baby wipe scour all over.

How do you brush your teeth at a festival? ›

Use a travel foldable or bamboo toothbrush with a case, use your bottle of water to get it wet slightly, then apply toothbrush and off you go. I'm sure you don't need a lesson in actually brushing your teeth.

How do you carry water at a music festival? ›

While beverages and food from outside may be banned in some events, most music festivals allow people to bring factory-sealed bottled water. If you do not want to carry bottles of water or buy bottled water at food trucks, you can bring a reusable water bottle or a hydration pack and fill it at a water fountain.

Is it OK to wear black on festival? ›

Indians generally prefer to avoid black during any auspicious occassion such as a Pooja or any festivals. Generally it is presumed that wearing the colour black reflects sadness and you are not supposed to be sad on these days.

Can I wear a hoodie to a festival? ›

The weather at music festivals can vary wildly so it's best to wear layers of clothing. A long-sleeved t-shirt and a light jacket are essential, and a hoodie or poncho can also be useful for keeping you warm if it starts to get too cold.

Can I wear all black to a festival? ›

You can never go wrong with black! No matter the time of year, what event you're going to, and what you wear, all black outfits can be stunning and stand out on their own. Here is a guide of how you can create the best black colored outfits for your next rave or festival.

Why do rave girls dress skimpy? ›

PLUR encourages acceptance, inclusivity, and self-expression. So, the revealing outfits worn at raves are often seen as a way to communicate one's character without judgment or criticism. This philosophy also highlights respecting others and their choices, regardless of how different they may be.

Do people hookup at music festivals? ›

Of all places, music festivals are a great place to hook up or even find long lasting love. It's where you're surrounded with people who like the same music, are going for the same experiences and atmosphere.

Why do rave girls wear fishnets? ›

So many people wear tights at raves - more specifically fishnet tights, for a few reasons. These are great to wear if you aren't comfortable showing too much skin or they can just be used as an extra layer on your legs for warmth if it's a little chilly outside.

How much did Frank Ocean get paid Coachella? ›

Ocean was to be paid $4 million for each of his two Coachella performances, for a total of $8 million, sources say. Since Ocean is not performing for the second weekend, he will only be paid for the first weekend's performance.

How much do rock stars make per concert? ›

A rock band typically makes anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per concert, depending on the size and popularity of the band. Larger, more popular bands can make upwards of $10,000 per show. Musicians in the United States earn an average of $35,000 per year.

How much is a ticket to Coachella? ›

This is a bar chart comparing festival prices for popular festivals in the United States. Of the festivals reviewed for this story, California-based Coachella has the highest ticket prices at $499.

Is it OK to go to a music festival alone? ›

Yes! Going to a music festival alone is safe, but be mindful of where you're going and essentially, what you're taking on. (Also, I wouldn't recommend going alone if you have never been to one in the past.) Arguably, going to a festival alone is more of a mental and emotional struggle than anything else.

How much profit does a music festival make? ›

For example, Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the world, had a reported profit margin of 38% in 2019. However, smaller festivals like The Fest in Florida might only see a profit margin of 10%. These margins can depend on a variety of factors, such as location, size, and production costs.

What makes a festival successful? ›

The most important element to a festival is safety. Being the most vital aspect of the equation, it is imperative festivals need organization of security, EMTs, resource accessibility and open space - providing a safe and secure environment.

How do you get noticed in music? ›

Following these tips will assist you in getting your music noticed:
  1. Be an amazing singer or instrumentalist.
  2. Put yourself out there.
  3. Create a press pack (EPK)
  4. Play anywhere.
  5. Convey maturity.
  6. Practice well.
  7. Get yourself motivated.
  8. Use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How do you make a music festival successful? ›

  1. Step 1) Create concrete goals for your festival. ...
  2. Step 2) Determine your festival's budget. ...
  3. Step 3) Secure a festival venue. ...
  4. Step 4) Book your festival's lineup and vendors. ...
  5. Step 5) Build out your marketing plan for your festival. ...
  6. Step 6) Coordinate volunteers and on-site staff for your festival.
Jan 25, 2021

How do you get front row at festivals? ›

Sacrifice an artist or two – and bathroom breaks – to see your Top Five. Get there early and gradually shuffle your way to the front while the crowd is thin and people are coming and going. Look for pockets in the crowd and dash in deep while everyone is leaving the stage.

Which is the hardest festival? ›

Know why Chhath Puja is considered to be one toughest Hindu festival.

Which is the world's toughest festival? ›

Spain: San Fermin Festival

Fiesta de San Fermin is held in July in Pamplona, Spain. Around 8 in the morning, about six bulls are released to chase down the runners.

What festival was bigger than Woodstock? ›

1970's Isle Of Wight Festival was, can you believe it, bigger than Woodstock. Along with Jimi Hendrix and The Who, the likes of The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Free, Miles Davis and a shed load more all performed over the weekend.

Where is the biggest festival in the US? ›

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazz Fest, is one of the most famous and popular music festivals in the United States. The festival annually takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana and is known for its diverse lineup of jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, and other genres of music.

Which states have the most music festivals? ›

Gallery: States With The Most Music Festivals

Last year, California, Florida and New York led the nation in music festivals, according to WanderBat, a vertical search engine powered by Graphiq. (It should be noted that the site did not provide data for 12 states.) California and Florida each hosted 24.

What is the largest music festival today? ›

Home | Summerfest, The World's Largest Music Festival.

Is Summerfest bigger than Coachella? ›

Summerfest still brings in far more artists than most major festivals. In 2023, it will boast more than 1,000 performances by more than 250 artists on 12 stages. In comparison, Coachella and Lollapalooza generally include 150 artists or thereabouts.

Which country has the least number of festivals? ›

1. Switzerland. Switzerland, a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps is top on the list of countries with the least number of public holiday. It has a total number of 7-15 public holidays depending on the canton/region.

When was the biggest music festival? ›

The Woodstock Festival was a three-day pop and rock concert that turned out to be the most popular music event in history. It became a symbol of the hippie movement of the 1960s.

How long does it take to create a music festival? ›

Begin planning the event six or more months in advance. Secure big picture items such as festival goals, theme, and musicians three to six months out. Solidify details such as caterers, permits, and extra activities one to three months out.

How much money does Coachella profit? ›

In an average year, Coachella grosses over $115 million in ticket sales across both weekends and makes tens of millions more in food, beverage and hospitality.

How much does Metallica make for a festival? ›

Their massive stadium tour last year pulled in anywhere between four and six million dollars a night, grossing a total of approximately $50 million. Earlier this year, on their European arena tour, they were averaging over $2 million a night. Holy crap! Advertisement.

Is it hard to organize a festival? ›

Planning a music festival can be a lot of fun, but it also represents a lot of hard work. From securing the artists who will be playing and the perfect venue to providing festival bus transportation, festival planning is not for the faint of heart.

What to sell in a music festival? ›

10 Best Merch Items for Music Festivals & Concerts
  • Soft t-shirts & hoodies.
  • Demo discs.
  • Posters & tapestries.
  • Mobile accessories.
  • Unique bottle openers.
  • Air fresheners.
  • Stickers & pins.
  • Baseball caps & beanie hats.
Jan 23, 2023

How do you run a successful festival? ›

  1. Step 1) Create concrete goals for your festival. ...
  2. Step 2) Determine your festival's budget. ...
  3. Step 3) Secure a festival venue. ...
  4. Step 4) Book your festival's lineup and vendors. ...
  5. Step 5) Build out your marketing plan for your festival. ...
  6. Step 6) Coordinate volunteers and on-site staff for your festival.
Jan 25, 2021

How many people go to Ever After music festival? ›

Around 15,000 attendees were expected to attend shows each day, some 10,000 of them also camping on festival grounds throughout the weekend. Needless to say, a lot of people spent a lot of money arranging for accomodations, gear, and time off work to attend the event.

Are music festivals worth it? ›

It all depends on what you really care about. If you're only interested in going because all your friends are, then it might not be worth it. But if you daydream about the Coachella lineup when you should be working, then it might be an experience worth splurging on.

Which four costs need to be included in calculating total event costs? ›

Costs to Consider
  • Event Planner.
  • Venue.
  • Food.
  • Labor.
  • AV.
  • Speakers and Entertainment.
  • Security.
  • Transportation.
Nov 13, 2019

How do free festivals make money? ›

Music festivals make most of their money through income generated from ticket sales, sponsorship, advertising, concession fees and merchandise.

How do you keep money safe at a festival? ›

'When you're at a festival, it's best not to keep valuables in visible pockets,' says Jo Hoare (@jojolizzy), author of Festivals: A Survival Guide. 'There have been cases of people being pick-pocketed or having their pockets cut open. Get a secure bag or inside pocket that can't be seen from the outside. '


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