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Barry Gibb and Radiohead the big winners in the Glasto search wars


Scott Donnelly

Barry Gibb and Radiohead the big winners in the Glasto search wars

With Glastonbury kicking off today, Scott Donnelly Search Engine Marketing Strategist at Digitas, dug deep to discover what fans have been searching for and talking about in the run up to this year’s event.

Battle of the Headliners

With three of the biggest names in music due to headline the Pyramid Stage this year, we wanted to find out which has the greatest search demand. Ed Sheeran is well out in front with an average of 450,000 searches per month, while Radiohead and the Foo Fighters receive 49,500 and 33,100 searches per month on average.

However, when we look specifically at terms which include the artist and Glastonbury, the picture changes quite dramatically. Looking at it this way, Radiohead received the most search demand on average across the last 12 months. This could be explained by the fact that the Glastonbury veterans were announced as the first headliners for this year’s festival in October 2016, while the Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran were announced more recently in February and March 2017.

While many of the names in this article won’t be overly surprising, there was one name that stood out during our research. Former Bee Gees front man Barry Gibb was ranked 4th when we look at terms including the artist and Glastonbury. With his announcement for the “Legends” slot at this year’s event, coupled with his surprise appearance at last year’s event, Gibb is becoming somewhat synonymous with Glastonbury over the last 12 months. Who saw that coming?

Interestingly, when looking at the search results for the last month, Liam Gallagher emerged as the most searched for artist related to Glastonbury in May. This is most likely due to speculation about a potential Oasis reunion at the event, and his subsequent inclusion on the bill. Gallagher may be getting on a bit, but an even older band made a surprise appearance in May’s top 5. The Jacksons are due to play Glastonbury for the first time as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. As a result they beat headliners Foo Fighters to 4th spot.

Glastonbury 2017 research by Digitas

Glasto is still the King of UK festivals

Glastonbury is the most searched for Festival over the course of the last 12 months (June 2016 to May 2017). Even when we combine the searches for the Reading and Leeds festivals this still rings true, although Glasto’s margin of victory is far smaller if we do that.

Glastonbury research 2017 by Digitas

London Loves Glasto

When we look in to where the search demand in the UK comes from we can see that London is the city with the single biggest percentage of searches with 22.1%, way ahead of second place Bristol. Glastonbury itself comes in at number 3, suggesting locals have a vested interest in the festival.

Glastonbury 2017 research by Digitas

When we look at Google Trends, we can see that while it is English cities that dominate the overall volume of searches, Wales over-indexes by population for searches regarding Glastonbury. Scotland and Northern Ireland show substantially less demand for the festival based on searches by population.

Line Up, Tickets and the Good Old British Weather

When it comes to what users are actually searching for around the event itself there are three key topics that sprung up during our research:

  1. The Line Up
  2. Tickets
  3. Weather

Wanting to know who is going to be playing and headlining the weekend, and searching for tickets is not surprising – after all these are key parts of choosing whether or not to attend. It’s the third most searched for topic that is quintessentially British. If there is one thing you can rely on with British summer weather, is that it is reliably unpredictable – with any given day able to provide drastic changes in the weather (sometimes even multiple times in the same day). It is unsurprising that potential Glasto-goers want to check the weather for the event.

Bags, Booze and Shoes

While the line-up, weather and tickets are the primary search topics, Google Suggest introduces us to a number of the other core concerns of Glastonbury attendees. We can see that many people are searching for advice on everything from the best tent, flag and outfits for the event – to the best wellies, rucksacks and even alcohol to take to Glasto. At least it appears that Glastonbury festival-goers want to be as prepared as possible for all weather eventualities over the course of the event.

So, with the festival proper kicking off today, we can expect Glastonbury excitement to reach fever pitch. With the 135,000 expected revelers descending on Glastonbury over the course of the weekend it's sure to be another great showcase of music. Let’s just hope the rain stays away this year.

Scott Donnelly

Scott Donnelly

SEM Strategist AT Digitas

As a SEM Strategist at Digitas, Scott is responsible for the creation and implementation of integrated search strategies which focus on utilising both Paid Search and SEO activities to drive maximum success from search as a whole.


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