The Surprising Rise of The Over 50 Festival-Goers
A recent survey discovered an unexpected trend: the frequency of music festival attendance among those over 50, has markedly increased compared to their younger years.
This seemingly counter-intuitive phenomenon seems to be the result of an escalating wave of enthusiasm for music and community within this age group in the UK.
Embracing the Festival Spirit
As revealed by the data gathered by Saga Magazine, the allure of music festivals is far from fading among older individuals.
In their survey of 1,000 people aged 50 and above, they found 39% had experienced a music festival at least once.
Even more striking was that 36% of respondents admitted to attending more music festivals post-50, than they did during their younger years.
Festival preferences varied amongst the surveyed group.
Day festivals were the preferred choice for 38%, while a significant 21% were willing to stay over for the weekend or even longer, camping at the festival site.
The benefits of festival attendance were diverse, ranging from the discovery of new music (52%) to socializing and making new connections (28%) and quality family time (27%).
Festivals: A New Retirement Pastime
Among those surveyed was Julia Smith, a 50-year-old festival enthusiast from Essex. Julia and her husband have spent years touring festivals in their trusty VW campervan, immersing themselves in the vibrant festival scene.
They’re currently preparing for a trip to Latitude festival, where they’ll be joining a group of 20 fellow festival-goers, all aged between 50-60.
Jimmy and Debs, are another couple who have recently enjoyed going to concerts.
We’ve been married for 37 years, and most of that time we were too busy raising kids and running businesses to really enjoy things we both love.
We had always wanted to go to music festivals, but never had the opportunity. Now, in our middle aged years, we finally have the time and the freedom.
It’s like a second youth! Music keeps us feeling young and connected.
Our first festival was Glastonbury in 2019, and we haven’t stopped since.
The energy, the diversity of music, the feeling of being part of something big… It’s incredibly exciting and life-affirming.
We’re making up for lost time and creating memories we will cherish forever.
A Paradigm Shift
According to Lisa Edgar, Saga’s chief customer officer, the growing interest in festivals among the over-50s is part of a broader trend of this age group defying stereotypical perceptions about ageing.
She noted a societal shift in behaviours, demographics, and attitudes towards ageing, calling it the ‘freedom years’.
The over-50s are increasingly using their retirement years to seek out new experiences, learn new skills, and embark on new adventures, such as festival-going.
She also observed that this generation is healthier, wealthier, and more hedonistically inclined than before, engaging in a range of activities post-retirement, from fitness to culture to hobbies.
The Ageing Stage
The trend isn’t restricted to the audience alone. The average age of Glastonbury headliners has been progressively increasing over the past 15 years.
In 2022, Paul McCartney set a record by becoming the festival’s oldest-ever headliner. Other mature superstars, like Guns N’ Roses and Elton John, have also graced the Pyramid stage.
There’s been a substantial shift in the past two decades. In 1997, when the average age of headliners like Prodigy, Radiohead, and Ash was 26 years and five months, the contrast with the average age of 49 in 2019 is stark.
Andrew Rose, who has spent the past decade volunteering as a medic at Glastonbury, perceives the festival as a unique holiday experience.
He and his wife revel in seeing the bands they adored in their youth perform live. On volunteering, he said, “I think it’s important to give back.”
This golden age trend in music festivals suggests an exciting new perspective on retirement and the pleasures of ageing, reinforcing that life’s adventures and experiences don’t stop at 50.