Survey results from rural music festival Oban Live have revealed the 2017 event brought in £1.39 million to the local economy, a 27% increase from the previous year.
The two year-old event has immediately become the biggest open-air live music concert in rural Argyll, Scotland, entertaining just under 8,000 attendees each year with traditional Scottish and Celtic rock music. It has also attracted international superstars such as KT Tunstall (2016) and Toploader (2017) to the line-up. Held over an off-season, non-holiday weekend, the survey results confirm the June event’s growing popularity and positive impact on the local economy.
It’s attracting more visitors from further afield too. A rise in the number of festival visitors travelling to Oban from outwith Scotland was identified. 10% (7% in 2016 and 6% in 2015) of the survey sample were from outside Scotland and trips from outside the UK accounted for 4% (2% in 2016 and 2015) of the sample. Meanwhile, 38% were visiting from other areas of mainland Scotland, outwith the local area and the Highlands and Islands.
Impressively, more than 17% of visitors stayed for four or more nights (14% in 2016). Almost 5% (3% in 2016) were staying away from home for more than seven days. The use of overnight paid accommodation was a lot more popular in 2017 than 2016 and 2015, notably self-catering, B&Bs and campsites.
The rise in camping comes as no surprise. Supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Event Directorate, shuttle buses run by West Coast Motors and the tent-site development for 50 extra campers at Oban Caravan Park created an additional budget accommodation option in the sold-out town. The trial was a sold out success and is to be repeated for 2018 with 50 more spaces, total of 100, currently on sale.
98.4% of attendees were in the area as a result of Oban Live with many of them returning visitors. The analysis found that more than two thirds (50% in 2016) had visited Oban Live in 2016 meaning 2017 was a successful year in encouraging repeat visits as well as attracting a new audience.
Discounted early bird tickets for Oban Live 2018 sold out in record breaking time earlier this month ahead of any line-up act announcements which are expected in the coming weeks. Tickets were bought from a range of locations from Oban and surrounding areas, to as far afield as Europe and America.
Speaking of the survey results, Oban Live Managing Director Daniel Gillespie said: “Since day one, creating economic opportunity for the local area and attracting more visitors to the town of Oban has always been a main objective. So we are absolutely delighted to see such positive results and encouraged to see the event going from strength to strength. Our thanks goes out to all our sponsors, partners and the supporting local community whose input and advocacy for the event has proven to be a key factor in the growth of Oban Live and it’s social and economic impact.”
Fergus Murray, Argyll and Bute Council’s Head of Economic Development and Strategic Transportation said: “This is fantastic news for the town of Oban and the wider Argyll and Bute area. The Oban Live music festival attracts a large number of people and helps boost the local economy. We wish them every success.”
Oban Live 2018 takes place at Mossfield Stadium, Oban, on June 8 and 9. Tickets on sale soon, more details to be announced in the coming weeks.