How much does an artist typically make at an arts festival?


How much does an artist typically make at an arts festival?

To play at a festival, artists might earn anything from $0 to $4 million. Major bands may be paid millions of dollars for a single event, while supporting acts might be paid as little as $25,000. Lesser-known musicians may be paid nothing except free festival tickets!

Millions of people attend the world’s major music festivals, which may be enormously lucrative. They are undoubtedly the most spectacular live-music experience available. Music festivals, on the other hand, aren’t where artists (big and little) make their big fortunes. Festival fees, contrary to popular belief, may be fairly low.

Because music festivals (particularly the more recognized ones) are such big events, some of the more prominent ones have enough clout to hire live performers without paying them a lot. According to Far Out magazine, The Rolling Stones lost money during their famous 2013 Glastonbury performance. Years later, they were reportedly generating $10 million per night with their 12-city “No Filter” tour.

Smaller artists have considerably more difficulty. Some emerging bands play at music festivals at a loss in order to reach a broader audience. More bands than you would imagine are performing for free (or practically free) at your favorite music event.

How much do headlining artists get paid for festivals?

Lady Gaga and Oasis (each with a $4 million cachet) are among the world’s highest-paid festival performers. It is fairly uncommon for prominent music performers to be paid $1 million or more to headline a music festival.

Here are some instances of how much top musicians get paid to play at music festivals:

Lady Gaga $4 million
Oasis $4 million
Radiohead $3 million
The Rolling Stones $1.5 million
Eminem $1 million
Calvin Harris $950K
Drake $900K
Muse $750K

Naturally, there are other hidden festival payouts that may have made the list; these are only the ones that became public. You should also bear in mind The compensation for major musicians varies greatly from festival to festival. . According to Metro, famous bands such as Paul McCartney and Coldplay received as low as $240K for their Glastonbury Festival appearances.

How much do mid-range international artists get paid for festivals?

Mid-level international musicians with a cult following might earn between $10,000 and $250,000 to play at a music festival. Depending on the event, some musicians may take substantially lower fees. In certain cases, kids may even be able to play for free.

Please bear in mind that the musicians we’re discussing will still have significant prestige and will be seen as tremendously successful by the majority of people. The word “mid-range” is only a relative phrase used to distinguish these performers from the multi-million dollar top earners. Bands like as The 1975 and Two Door Cinema Club have followers all around the globe and have received considerable critical praise.

Rob Smith, a London-based music business specialist, revealed some of the rates that these sorts of bands might earn to play at a festival. While major popular artists such as Oasis demanded multi-million dollar fees, mid-level musicians such as Jamie XX and Two Door Cinema Club did not fetch as much but still received a sizable payment.

Here are some examples of how much money these musicians may earn by participating in a festival:

Jamie XX $350K
The 1975 $220K
Rudimental $103K
Two Door Cinema Club $90K
Sigma $30K

How much do underground and little-known artists get paid for festivals?

Small-time performers are sometimes paid less than $500 to play at a festival. Artists with a large local fan base may earn up to $3000 (if they’re fortunate). Unfortunately, it is typical for tiny performers to play for free at festivals. They do it for the sake of advancement, prestige, and networking.

SXSW is a prime illustration of how little tiny artists get compensated for festival appearances. According to Stereogum, musicians are forced to pick between acquiring a registration package or paying a small cost of $100 (for single artists) or $250 (for bands). SXSW musicians without a registration package do not have access to seminars, backstage areas, or private showcases.

SXSW’s payment system went viral when the band revealed their earnings from their SXSW tour on Twitter on Wednesday. Despite having a solid fan base, the Wednesday members ended up losing money in order to perform at the event.

Why do music festivals pay so little money to artists?

In a nutshell, because they can! Why should some artists do it for free when there are many eager to pay to play at a big music festival? Many emerging musicians are content just to participate in the experience and get free tickets, and music festivals know how to take advantage of this.

It’s worth mentioning that not all music festivals are the same Glastonbury Festival, one of the world’s most well-known and recognized music events, is viewed as significantly less commercial than others. It’s commonly known that they pay out comparatively less to even headlining acts in compared to many other major festivals.

Coachella, on the other hand, is estimated to pay each musician between $10,000 and $15,000. This seems incredible until you understand that their average compensation includes million-dollar fees given to top, headline performers. As a result, the statistics are significantly skewed.

According to Berkshire Live, the Reading Festival (one of the world’s top music festivals) pays between $1.3 million and $30K to the festival’s major artists.

What are the costs of performing at a music festival?

Performing at a music festival may be quite costly for top performers. Wages and fees for sound engineering employees, session musicians, roadies, pyrotechnics, and other expenses are common. However, all artists must cope with the expenditures of travel, food, and lodging, which may vary greatly.

Smaller artists’ travel, lodging, and food expenses may sometimes be covered by music festivals, particularly if the band is performing for free. In many circumstances, though, they may not give this to lesser-known or local performers. However, most mid-level painters already incorporate these fees in their standard charge.

The morals of performing at festivals: should artists play for free?


Adam Neely, a YouTuber, describes how he (nearly) lost $17,000 while traveling with his band Sungazer in the video above. If you’ve never worked in the music business, you may be surprised by this video. However, it is typical for minor musicians to lose money while playing, particularly if they want to perform at festivals.

Unless you’re a big artist, touring might be prohibitively costly. Bands are often need to cover their expenses despite receiving limited fees for their performances. (especially smaller, filler shows). By minimum, I mean as little as $100, $50, or even simply a room for the night.

The culture also does not help. In the video, Neely discusses the outrage faced by the aforementioned Wednesday when they published a popular tweet listing the prices of their 2022 tour. Many struggling artists grumbled that the band was spending money on hotels and meals, with some even suggesting that they should have missed a meal and slept in the van.

If you want to be a famous musician, you should prepare to suffer. But it doesn’t mean you have to put up with inhumane and harmful living circumstances. When an entry-level engineer, for example, travels for work, he expects to be compensated for his accommodation and meals. Why shouldn’t musicians expect the same in exchange for performing their job?

Sadly, The music business desperately needs a mental shift. . If even aspiring musicians expect their colleagues to work in appalling circumstances, it’s only inevitable that music festivals, venues, and promoters would continue to exploit artists. This is only one of the numerous issues plaguing the music business.


No, playing at music festivals isn’t the easiest way to make money as a musician. It does, however, assist to place your name on the map. That doesn’t imply you should labor for free: if you feel your music is valuable, you should behave appropriately.

After establishing a solid audience, it’s critical to set a baseline per-performance charge and stick to it! There’s a long way to go before making $4 million each event. However, you may always climb the success ladder with dignity and still reach the summit.


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