As shoppers prepare for a summer packed with festivals, Chris Dillon speaks to six top retailers to find out how you can drive sales.


“Most of my stops are near Parklife festival. We sell plastic ponchos and last year it tipped it down so we sold hundreds. It’s the end of the academic year, so we’re focusing on snacks, barbecues and alcohol. Small bottles of spirits are also popular at this time.

“We’ve also sold tickets for Pride for 10 years now. We found a supplier that offers rainbow, whistles, wigs and flags and we make about £2,000 per store from that. Events are massive for us.”

Paul Stone,
Spar, Manchester


“Our forecourt is about half an hour from Glastonbury, so that weekend is a great one for us – one year the Lightning Seeds stopped by. We used to always see people on the way, so we’d make sure we stocked up on toilet rolls and drinks.

“Now I think they’ve changed the route, so we only get people on the way home. We make sure we stock up on sandwiches, pasties, cold drinks and we make hot food in store. We get a steady stream of people in from 9am until 2pm.”

Simon Lunn,
Simply Fresh Weare, Somerset

Cambridge Folk Festival

“If you’re going to be part of your community then you need to be in touch with what’s going on. We have the Folk Festival near us, which is absolutely massive and we’re on the committee.

“On the day the festival opens we take advantage by promoting offers that we’re known for. We make deli food like samosas and falafel wraps and then we find that shoppers come back to us after the festival has finished to buy from us again.

“You have to promote heavily too. Promote outside your shop to grab the attention of passersby and get involved with the press too. This is much easier if you are already involved with the festival.”

Abdul Arain,
Al-Amin Stores, Cambridge

Local Festivals

“We take part in two festivals, which are basically the same but in different months. We have a wooden cabin that sells ice cream, real ice cream milkshakes and a few other indulgent desserts.

“There are other major events near us like the Great Scottish Swim. We don’t technically take part in them, but we do stock up as we are guaranteed to be busy.”

Andy Howell,
Loch Lomond News, Balloch, West Dunbartonshire


“We’re on the way for a lot of shoppers travelling to Download festival. The most important thing is to make sure you’ve got plenty of multipacks of beer and soft drinks in the chiller.

“People do not plan their purchases when going to festivals, so you need to make sure you’re ready for increased demand.”

Vip Measuria,
One Stop working with
the Prior Way, Derby

Local Festivals

“We’ve donated some money for the festivals in nearby Garstang. It’s great to tie up with local festivals to show that you are part of the community and make new contacts.

“Summer is a massive opportunity for us, so we make sure that we have offers on wine and barbecue products to drive sales.”

Gary Eyles,
Cabus Convenience (Spar), Lancashire

How should you prepare for a festival?

If a festival is taking place near you this summer, you should be prepared for a raft of sales opportunities.

Jonatahan Summerley, Hancocks purchasing director, says: “The first thing retailers should do in preparation for festivals is ensure they are aware of what is going on within their area and work out who might visit, why and when.”

Shoppers will be looking for alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and other essentials and if your shop is on the way, they will expect you to have enough stock.

Suppliers are backing a variety of festivals with on-pack promotions this summer to get consumers in the mood.

Toby Lancaster, category & shopper marketing director at Heineken, says: “On-pack promotions give retailers the opportunity to drive excitement in the category and encourage shoppers to make the most of summer events.”

Summerley recommends stocking shelves with sweets, snacks and drinks that offer clear value for money and prompt shoppers to buy on impulse, while Tony Allen, Under Age Sales managing director, encourages retailers to make sure staff are on the ball when it comes to selling age-restricted products, such as alcohol and tobacco.

“We’re urging retailers selling any age-restricted products for use at outdoor events this summer to be prepared,” he says. These products include gas canisters, fireworks or hayfever and allergy medicine, which are all illegal to sell to shoppers under 18 years old.

Get festival ready in five steps

  1. Offer products to cater for the changing British weather. Stock up on ponchos and sun cream to help shoppers prepare.
  2. Make sure you have everything festival goers will need for a barbecue if the festival near you permits it.

  3. Play to your strengths and create offers that show off the food that you do well.

  4. Place multipacks of beer and soft drinks in the chiller to tempt shoppers on the way to a festival.

  5. Make sure you cater to shoppers’ needs on the way home from festivals as well as on the way there, with hot food and sandwiches.