What is the difference between festivals and concerts?

Festivals and concerts are similar in nature, but what is the actual difference.

Nov 28, 2022

Historically, festivals have been considered an event celebrated by, or for, a community and centered mainly on cultural aspects — think of festivities such as ancient Hindu festival Holi. Concerts, on the other hand, started in the early 17th century and were largely associated with university activities, and the upper class of society. Since then, festivals and concerts have developed and transformed into what they are nowadays — an essential cultural asset for all.

Although both can be categorized under the umbrella of an event, concerts can be a part of a festival, but not the other way around. However clear we may think the distinction is between the two, there are still plenty of us who may not find it so obvious. This article will serve as a guide to help us gain more knowledge on the two.

Let’s start with a generic description of these two types of events to get an idea of what they are.

What is a concert?

A concert is a live music performance that can be held in an array of settings, from a small house to a football arena. Generally, focused on one main act, which is commonly accompanied by a lesser-known support act.

What is a festival?

A festival is an event that is generally held annually and isn’t bound to music like a concert would be. Typically pertaining to culture, and revolves around a theme or concept, such as beer festival Oktoberfest.

Now, let’s investigate/examine several categories pertaining to both concerts and festivals to see what the key differences are.


While live music can drift us off into another world where we might feel like time doesn’t exist, concerts usually only last for one evening. Depending on the artist and the particular show they are performing, concerts tend to last from 90 minutes to two hours, generally ending before midnight due to noise control curfew regulations for venues.

Festivals, however, have a much larger range in time frame — lasting from one afternoon to three weeks. The majority of festivals are held over a weekend, allowing attendees to experience multiple artists and activities within festival grounds. They usually start earlier in the day than concerts and can continue into the early hours of the morning (for those attendees with excess energy).


One key difference between the two events is the opportunity to camp at a festival. This physical relocation really adds to the festival experience, offering a sense of escapism and converting our nine-to-five jobs into a temporary cultural wonderland. It sounds odd, but setting up a tent in the worst weather conditions imaginable with friends can sometimes even add to the experience.

So, unless you are attending a concert from afar, accommodation is not an element of high importance — unless you consider an overnight queue to see Harry Styles “camping”.


While both festivals and concerts can range massively in size, festivals generally have a much larger capacity. For example, Glastonbury welcomes over 200,000 people into its muddy grounds to experience a wide range of music and art over five fun-filled days. In comparison, Madison Square Garden — one of the world’s most famous arenas — comes nowhere near, holding less than 21,000 attendees.


The key difference in location is that festivals tend to be held outdoors and concerts indoors. Concerts are held in concert halls, arenas or stadiums, whereas festivals are usually hosted in parks, farms and fields. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, with open-air theatres often being the perfect place to hold a folk concert at dusk in the summertime and huge derelict factories offering the perfect atmosphere for an industrial techno festival.


Festivals are normally more expensive than concerts. Globally, the average concert costs nearly $100 per ticket, with this price varying depending on the position of the seat chosen, artist and venue. Considering you’ll only see a few artists for this amount, festivals give you more bang for your buck. The cost of a festival again ranges depending on the type of ticket purchased and what specific festival it is, although tickets typically cost $195 on average.


Concerts only have one stage where a main musician or group performs, usually after their supporting warm-up act has gotten the crowd buzzing and wanting more. Thanks to large space sizes, larger crowds, and higher ticket costs, festivals can host many more artists and organize multiple stages. This attracts an eclectic range of festival-goers due to the vast diversity of activities available in these outdoor spaces.


In order to get into a festival or concert, you obviously need a ticket. These are either presented on paper or digitally, with the latter being today’s preferred method. Festivals do tend to go the extra mile and give out wristbands, which can serve as a tangible memory of the event or even a collectible.

However, with the rise of Web3 and blockchain development, ticketing services and products are changing. Festivals, like Coachella, have already introduced lifetime festival passes as part of their ‘Coachella Collectibles NFTs,” and it won’t be long before other festivals and concerts use this revolutionary technology to change our experience.

At VINCI, we are continuously working to demonstrate the benefits Web3 can bring to the cultural sector. It is important for us to make it easier for creators — and our audience — to interact with their respective community and improve revenue streams.

Go and explore our weekly VINCI blogs for cultural and technical topics.

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