How much do traders make at festivals?
Written by Nat Desborough, Wed 10 May 2023
Thinking about applying for your first festival pitch?
Hopefully you’ve already seen our article on festival pitches and how much they cost, and you’re now wondering is it going to be worth it?
Like the cost of the pitch, the amount of money you can make at a festival depends on a range of factors. But don't worry if things feel a bit unclear, our expert team have worked on hundreds of events and are here to give you a rundown of festival costs and earnings potential.
If after reading this article you want to find out the best way to win a pitch at a festival you can read our guide here.
What’s happened at past events?
London Pride is one of the largest events powered by Togather, and the pitch fees can be just shy of £1,000. We've seen our traders make anything between £6,000 - £80,000, a great example of how earning potential can vary.
At smaller-scale events, like the Virgin Sport Hackey Half Marathon and the BHF Ride London, pitch fees are lower and cost between £300 - £500. But, earning potential is still high, and our traders have made between £2,000 - £60,000.
Are there any common trends?
It’s anticipated that a popular vendor at a festival will sell their products to roughly 5% of the total attendees. Using this, and the reported pitch fee, as a guide, here’s how much you could make at three different sized festivals.
Glastonbury - Attendance: 200,000 - Pitch fee: £18,000 - 5% of sales: 10,000 transactions - Gross sales (£8 average transaction): £80,000 - Cost of goods sold (33% of transaction cost): £26,400 - Net income: £35,600
Lattitude Festival - Attendance: 40,000 - Pitch fee: £6,000 - 5% of sales: 2,000 transactions - Gross sales (£8 average transaction): £16,000 - Cost of goods sold (33% of transaction cost): £5,280 - Net income: £4,720
Vision Festival - Attendance: 10,000 - Pitch fee: £250 - 5% of sales: 500 transactions - Gross sales (£8 average transaction): £4000 - Cost of goods sold (33% of transaction cost): £1,320 - Net income: £2,430
For more examples of festival operating costs, including food, staff and marketing, check out our guide to festival catering.
What influences how much you can make?
Selecting the right events
It might be tempting to jump straight in with bigger festivals and events, but we advise to start small and work your way up. Build up your understanding of things like operating costs, portions served per hour, and how to stand out to potential customers. Then you'll get a better idea of whether an event is worthwhile for your business, and minimise any losses.
Pitch fees are what a festival or event organiser will charge you to sell your products. Fees are charged either at a flat rate, based on commission, or a combination of both.
Check out our guide to festival pitch costs for a full breakdown of the factors influencing a pitch fee.
The more people attending the festival, the larger the market is for you to sell to. If you’re thinking about buying a pitch, how many people will be attending the festival is the first question you need to ask yourself.
A quick Google might do the trick, but if not its worth reaching out to the organisers, vendors that have previously set up there or any community groups of other suppliers you may be involved in.
If you find yourself thinking “I really want a pitch at Glastonbury this year”, then the chances are similar suppliers will be thinking the same thing. Glastonbury has around 800 traders, over 400 of which are selling food.
Always ask the festival organisers how many traders are going to be there and if you can, dig deeper on the number that sell something similar to you. It’s okay if there are a handful of similar traders but this is where experience is key. Knowing how to outperform your competitors and attract more customers will certainly help de-risk the higher pitch fees at larger events.For some top tips on how to achieve this, you can read our guide to festival catering here.
The location of your pitch will have a big impact on how much you might be able to sell at a festival or event.
Always make sure you understand where your pitch will be located before you sign the contract. And remember that pitches cost more if they're in a prime location.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again, knowing your operating costs is essential to understanding if an event is right for your business. Bear in mind cost of supplies, staff, parking, travel, pitch fees and deduct these from your final sales.