Interesting: How the genre balance at Glastonbury has evolved over the year

Glastonbury is the world’s best-known music festival, so what happens there is scrutinized by the both the music and festival industry. A British company called iProspect has deconstructed Glastonbury in terms of musical genres over the decades.

Back in the 70s, a little more than 58% of the acts at Glastonbury fell into the Rock category. Today, rock makes up just 17% of the acts.

Well, what about other UK festivals? There are also similar analyses of Reading/Leeds, Download, Isle of Wight and more.

Reading & Leeds

  • Rock artists at Reading and Leeds have almost halved since the 80s
  • Whilst ‘Dance’ acts have increased by 10%
  • Hip Hop, RnB, Grime and Reggae acts now account for one in 10 artists, of which there were none in the 80s


  • Glastonbury started out with 58.15% of artists in the Rock category in the 70s, which has now dwindled to a mere 17.21%
  • Hip-Hop, RnB, Grime and Reggae now account for more than 10% of headline acts in the last decade at Glastonbury


  • Dance festival Lovebox kicked off with 43% of artists in the ‘dance’ genre in its first two years, which now only accounts for 26%
  • RnB and Soul artists at Lovebox were far and few between at the start (>4%) but now account for almost one in five artists (19%)

Isle of Wight

  • Isle of Wight and Download have stayed closest to their roots.
  • At Isle of Wight festival, Rock and Indie have always been large fangroups, starting out with 38% and 33% respectively in the first four years, with both categories decreasing by less than 10% over the course of events – significantly less than the likes of Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds.
  • Pop music accounted for just 2.5% of acts between 2002-2006 and now accounts for more than 10% – showing the festival has embraced more ‘mainstream’ artists


  • Metal music has remained at a constant proportion throughout Download’s history, making up one quarter (25%) of acts on the main and second stages
  • The coverage of Emo and Death Metal bands has reduced from 12% to just 5%, and even reached a low of 3.6% between 2011-2014
  • Newer sub-genres like Rap Rock have grown in popularity over the years with presence increasing from a 1.8% to 5.5%


  • Known for it’s dance festival scene, Creamfields is home to some of the world’s top DJ’s
  • Techno has decreased significantly since the first event in 2001, dropping from a 17% presence to less than 2% in recent years
  • Trance has also reduced as a category but not as much as Techno, dropping from 32% down to just 9%
  • Whilst EDM, Electro and Tropical House have all grown in attendance. EDM has made the biggest jump from 2% to 28% during the 17 year period analysed


  • Known for it’s tribute to world music, Boomtown is filled with Reggae and Dub artists but in previous years we’ve seen a large drop in the number of artists in this category. Between 2009-2010 they accounted for 39% of acts but dropped to less than 10% (7.49%) between 2013-2014, and has since seen a resurgence making up one fifth of acts in 2017-2018.
  • The number of Trance, House and Dubstep artists has gradually increased since the start


  • Wireless kicked off with a 35% proportion of acts in the Indie genre category in the first two years, which then halved between 2008-2010 – the other half taken up by an influx of Hip Hop artists.
  • This shift away from Indie and towards Hip Hop, RnB and Grime continued over the years, which resulted in 49% of acts in 2017-2018 being Hip Hop and no Indie acts present.
  • Grime acts increased from 3% to 19%
  • RnB saw growth from less than 1% of artists to 7% in recent years

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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