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w3dL About Case Studies The Great Escape: Post-event research

The Great Escape: Post-event research

Case Study
  • Client:

    Mama & Co (organisers of The Great Escape Festival)

  • Task:

    Online survey of both visitors to the delegate conference, and the main festival event for the attendees. Economic Impact study for the Arts Council.

  • Skills:

    Mixed mode (online and mobile) survey, preparation of detailed analysis, interpretation of results, report writing and presentation of findings.

We were approached by Julia Payne, our associate at The Hub, to help design and run research on the views of both delegates and attendees to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

The Great Escape is organised by Mama & Co, and 2016 marks it’s eleventh year. Held annually in Brighton, the event is viewed by many in the music business as Europe’s equivalent of the South by Southwest Festival held in Austin, Texas. Over the course of three days, around 300 acts play at 30 venues across the city.

The festival champions new music and many record labels use the festival as a way of “breaking” new acts. In recent years acts such as Adele, Foals, Haim, Chvrches and London Grammar have played smaller venues at the festival as they begin their careers.

In parallel with the music festival, there is also an industry conference which attracts some of the biggest names in the music world to speak and present, such as Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis and DJ Shadow, as well as industry organisations like PRS for Music, Universal Music Group and Beggars Group.

2015 saw the festival reach its tenth year, and as part of that anniversary, Mama & Co instigated an Arts Council funded research project, organised by The Hub in conjunction with We Work With Data and respected economist Ruth Melville.

Although Mama & Co had conducted some previous research using simple, DIY online tools, w3dL helped implement a mixed mode (online/mobile) study that saw response rates climb significantly year on year in a well-designed and responsive survey. Specialist sections in both versions of the study asked detailed questions on participants spend across accommodation, dining and shopping in order to build a model that represents the economic impact on Brighton, the wider South East region and the UK as a whole (the festival attracts a very significant overseas contingent). The study also helped approximate the overall value of business conducted at the festival by managers, bookers and promoters.

As people were so engaged with both the festival and the research, the results from this study were incredibly rich and detailed. We Work With Data take pride in designing appropriate studies for appropriate audiences, whether it be creatives in the music business as in this case, or with professional b2b studies in the medical industry. Aesthetics are an important part of how we engage audiences. Consideration of design in conjunction with an ethos of making surveys as simple as possible for participants to complete normally leads us to higher response levels and by extension, better quality and more robust data.

Kevin Moore, General Manager at The Great Escape, comments: "I have been so impressed with the work carried out by w3dL, The Hub and Ruth Melville. The surveys look great and allow both the delegates and the attendees to tell us what they really think about the events in a way that suits them best. Fortunately, the results are very positive, but w3dL and Julia’s attention to detail and focus on our commercial needs has meant that we’re able to use the results from their excellent report not only as a vital diagnostic for ourselves in building bigger and better events in the future, but also to demonstrate to other stakeholders such as Arts Council England and Event Sponsors that The Great Escape is not only delivering creatively but also commercially."

Julia Payne, our research partner at The Hub comments: "Working with Steve and the team at w3dL is so straightforward. I've worked with them for close to 10 years now, and remain so impressed by their rigour and ability to make data so accessible for me as a researcher. I genuinely think that the combination of their survey design and data compilation skills, and The Hub's research and music industry credentials gives us a real edge over any other arts research set up in the UK."

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