Is Electric Picnic Getting Better or Worse?

The headlining acts for the 2019 Electric Picnic festival were announced this week and as usual the announcement was met with mixed reviews. This year’s indie/soul type headliners (Hozier, the Strokes, and Florence and the Machine) sees a departure from last year’s more Hip Hop based headliners of Kendrick Lamar, NERD, and Massive Attack. Obviously with the change in genre on stage some people are pleased and others aren’t. The main issue Electric Picnic organisers seem to be facing each year is trying to please everyone going to the festival. However, with more people attending the Laois festival every year it’s getting more and more difficult to try and adhere to the tastes of all festival goers.

The issue the festival then faces is whether or not people feel it is worth their while going if they think Electric Picnic is declining in quality; and of course it’s impossible for organisers to prove the festival is better because people’s perception of the event is largely based off of their own subjective opinion of the acts playing it. To try and see for myself was there an objective way to find out if the festival was getting better or worse (in terms of it’s headliners) I added up the total number of monthly listeners on Spotify for each years three headlining acts from 2014-2019 and graphed the results below.

EP headlining acts Monthly Listeners

As can be seen above the festival peaked in terms of the size of the acts in 2015 with the three headliners that year (Florence and the Machine, Blur, and Sam Smith) having a combined total of 55,210,273 monthly listeners on Spotify. The next year the festival sunk down to just 14,957,725 monthly listeners but has been on the rise ever since finally making it back up to 30,737,442 monthly listeners which is an increase of +0.23% from last year and only 24,472,831 off their peak in 2015.

So in terms of the size of the headlining acts, Electric Picnic has actually improved this year on the last 3 festivals, but what would be cause for concern is the slow down in the rate of growth and it’s lagging behind it’s rival festival Longitude. The 2019 headliners for Longitude (A$AP ROCKY, Chance the Rapper, and Cardi B) have more combined monthly listeners on Spotify than their Electric Picnic counterparts as can be seen below.

EP vs Long

The Electric Picnic 2019 headliners are actually lagging behind by 25,708,663 monthly listeners. This is quite a considerable amount and while Electric Picnic may have the advantage at the moment of being able to offer camping while Longitude don’t; with the pick up in popularity of Waterford festival All Together Now, one does wonder how much longer Electric Picnic can hold onto being Ireland’s official music festival.

By Daragh O’Leary

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