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British festival fans head abroad


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Did you get your Glastonbury ticket yesterday? Or are you giving it a miss this year? More and more Brits say they are ditching UK festivals and heading to Europe.




Many fans have told Newsbeat they are fed up with the rain, and reckon events across the channel work out better value. Suzy Cook, 28, is a receptionist in Bedford. She has already booked tickets for the Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands in May.


There is a poster she has printed off the internet sellotaped above her desk, and she has scribbled the details in her diary using an enormous pink highlighter.


Rage Against the Machine, Editors, Foo Fighters, KT Tunstall and Groove Armada are among those on the line-up.


It is £100 for three days including camping. Flights or ferry services from the UK start at around £30.


She said: "I'm really, really excited. I've wanted to see Rage Against the Machine since I was very young. This will be my second European festival, I went to Bennicassim in Spain last time.


"They're just so cheap."


Suzy hired a car with a group of mates, and reckons that worked out around the same price as a long-distance train fare within the UK.


She said: "The beer and food's a bargain too.


"I've paid £3.50 for a hot dog at some festivals in Britain. That's ridiculous."


Benicassim takes place on the east coast of Spain, less than an hour from Barcelona.


More than half the tickets sold in 2007 were bought by Brits.


Robert Biddis, 23, from Kent was one of them.


He said: "It was amazing. I will never rush to go to a British festival again.


"I used to go to either Reading or the V Festival. They are great, but I'd much rather be partying on a beach in the sun."


Hot Chip and Gnarls Barkley have just been confirmed for this summer's festival on 17-20 July.


The Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse and The Futureheads have all performed there in the past.


Where to go?


Other festivals becoming increasingly popular with Brits include Pukkelpop and Rockwerchter in Belgium.


10,000 people from the UK went to Exit festival in Serbia last year.


It is one of the cheapest big summer events in Europe.


Tickets are £72 for four days, plus £14 to camp. The Hives, Gogol Bordello and The Sex Pistols are on the bill.


New coach package


This summer, what is claimed to be the first dedicated coach service to take Brits to festivals in Europe has also launched.


Festivalbus is offering deals including return ferry journeys for £65 from London, although it is looking into starting coaches from other parts of England too.


Organiser Max Lewis warns not to expect much peace and quiet on the journey though.


He said: "We'll be playing music and getting people in the mood.


"It is like an 18-30s holiday for festival goers. The idea is you get to meet other people on the bus and you can chat about the bands that are going to be performing.


"You can have a few drinks on the ferry, too!"


He said no-one will be forced to camp together at the festival, but they are hoping people will make friends.


Why are British festivals so pricey?


The most expensive UK festival is T in the Park in Kinross-shire: £160 for the weekend, plus your travel costs.


A return train journey from Bristol, Birmingham or London could set you back over £100.


Geoff Ellis is MD of DF Concerts which organises T in the Park.


He said: "T in the Park offers exceptional value for money when you consider that more than 180 artists play over 11 stages across three days which is, firstly, more artists than most other UK events and, secondly provides an overall ticket price to artist ratio of £1.13 per act - exceptional value in anyone's book."


Tickets for this year's Glastonbury are £155.


Organiser Michael Eavis insists there are special reasons for the price though.


He said: "We're trying to give away £2m a year to charity. So in order to do that, we have to charge a little bit more.


"It's that or not deliver that money and charge less. I mean, what would you do?"


Glastonbury tickets 'available'


Many fans say the European festival experience is not just about saving money though.


Suzy said: "People are so friendly, everyone chats to each other and you never see any fights. It's a real holiday atmosphere.


"You get to see some really random bands you'd never experience otherwise too. Bands from France or Germany can be so interesting."


What about the bands?


Well, Richard Archer from Hard-Fi agrees that festivals in UK are charging too much money.


He said: "Festivals have become big business and there's a lot of them around as well.


"If they keep charging top dollar then people will go abroad and why not?


"It's a great experience and if they're gonna spend their money then why not go somewhere that's a little bit warmer?"



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