GIMP Festival

The festival is now in its 128th year, taking place in Eastbourne for the past 7 years, finally moving into a bigger, more sensible arena for the calibre of the artists performing, who often complained that the arena in Eastbourne was not big enough, there were poor facilities and transport links, and that the crowd did not have much room to move. There was also a limit of 5,000 tickets in Eastbourne, this has been raised to more than 70,000 for London.

The festival was first held in 2003, in Eastbourne's Princes Park. Amongst the acts performing were the lesser known Bowling For Soup, AC/DC, and Muse. The tickets for the festival sold out within 3 minutes of going on sale, and many fans complained that there were not enough tickets available. The festival, since then, has never had more tickets, until 2010, where the amount of tickets available was increased by 1400%.

Controversy regarding ticket prices

A controversial issue, however, has been the price of tickets. At the 2009 G.I.M.P festival, a standing ticket in Band 1 (The closest to the stage), was priced at just £54, and £81 for the weekend. This has risen to a staggering £98 for one day, rising to 1.75x this cost for the weekend. Many fans have decided to boycott the event in light of the cost of this years festivals.

Comparison of ticket prices (2003 vs 2010)

Ticket Band 2003 Price 2010 Price Increase Estimated 2011 price
Band X (all bands) 99.00 GBP 156.00 GBP +57.00 GBP 170.00 GBP
Band 1 56.00 GBP 98.00 GBP +42.00 GBP 103.00 GBP
Band 2 34.00 GBP 78.00 GBP +44.00 GBP 87.00 GBP
Band 3 28.00 GBP 56.00 GBP +28.00 GBP 70.00 GBP
Band 4 N/a* 42.00 GBP N/a 46.00 GBP
Band 4A 34.00 GBP** 50.00 GBP +16.00 GBP 67.00 GBP
Band 5 n/a n/a n/a 390.00 GBP

Note:Band 4, at 2003 - 2005 G.I.M.P. Festival did not exist.
Band 4A, was, until 2006, known as Band 3A. It remained the seated area, but there were less bands. In 2006, more bands were introduced to allow for cheaper pricing and lower cost seats.
Band 5, Band 5 will be introduced from 2011 onwards, and will be the backstage pass for the Festival. It will be for all days that the festival is on, and, will include ALL ticket bands. Band 5 will not be included in Band X tickets. Band 5 is the unofficial name, and has yet to be named.

Comparison between Eastbourne and London

The move to London's Hyde Park means that there will be more capacity in all Ticket bands. Band 1, which, in Eastbourne, had under 600 tickets available, will now have a staggering 10,000 tickets available for each day of the Festival. Band 2 is now more than 4x as big as it was in Eastbourne, with bands 3,4 and 4A, again, being a lot larger. This has both made fans happy in the fact that more people can go to the festival and experience its unique atmosphere, but the intimacy of the small arena and small amount of people that went with Eastbourne has now disappeared, with some saying that the atmosphere will not be as great as when the Festival was in Eastbourne.

Controversy regarding noise levels

There were also many complaints in both 2007 and 2009 about the amount of noise that could be heard from the Festival. The noise from the crowd could be heard up to 7 miles away, in Hailsham. The noise from early morning rehearsals on the Sunday was also complained about, and the organisers of the Festival, DHC Concerts Limited, were fined £100,000 by Eastbourne Borough Council.

Movement to London

The move to London in 2010 not only angered Eastbourne's council, but also the residents and businesses in the town. The estimated loss to the economy of the town is around £3.4 million, significantly more than the other main summer attraction, Airbourne, earns the town.

There are many reasons cited on the GIMP Festival website,[1] but the main factors are as follows;

Not enough capacity for people attending the festival

In 2003-2009, the ticket line received over 46,000 calls in the first hour of tickets being on sale, more than 8x the amount of tickets available for the festival.[2]

Limited time for the concerts

The festivals had a limit of 2 days maximum, playing for a maximum of 15 hours on each day. This angered officials of the festival from 2005; in both 2003 and 2004 the Festival was allocated 2 days playing up to, but not more than, 20 hours of music each day, from 0600 to 0200. This was then reduced to 15 hours from 1000 to 0100 from 2003 onwards. These restrictions have completely disappeared with the movement to London, and a limit of 4 days each year for the festival has been put in place.

Limited space for parking and stage

The location in Eastbourne had just 132 parking spaces, which is around a twentieth of what is available in Hyde park's car parks that have been set up by the Royal Parks. The stage size was also limited in Eastbourne to a width (maximum) of just 15 metres depth, and a maximum of 1.7 metres height. Lighting gantries were also limited, and the Festival gained a reputation for having terrible light shows, due to the lack of lighting that was allowed. This has completely disappeared, again, in London, and there are no restrictions in place regarding the size of the stage and amount of lighting.


Another factor was the fact that the Festival in Eastbourne, until 2005, was not allowed to conflict with Airbourne. This has since been relaxed, but from 2010 onwards, the festival organizers would not have been allowed to hold the Festival at the same time. This is cited as another factor for the Festival to relocate.

Name controversy

The concert has always been a source of controversy, since it first appeared in Eastbourne in 2003. The name, with the full stops taken out, spells GIMP. This is an offensive word to many people, and, for this reason, many protests have taken place both in and around the Festival. The Festival was to originally be called Rock:Eastbourne, but, this was changed at the last minute, with the backing of the sponsor, Red Bull, who wanted an original and, if possible, controversial name, so that tickets would sell and bands would come. The name has never been changed back, and it now stands for Great International Music Personalities. In 2003 it was branded as Red Bull's Great International Music Personalities, but this has now been dropped for the acronym of G.I.M.P. Festival, both more humorous, more controversial, and easier to say.

Bands featured

Date Location Headline artists (bold), other artists, unconfirmed Band 1 ticket cost
July 30, 2003 Princes Park, Eastbourne AC/DC, Muse, Bowling For Soup, The Who, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Slipknot, Busted, Good Charlotte, G.U.N., HIM, Green Day, Blink 182, Billy Talent GBP 56.00
August 1 & 2, 2004 (cancelled) No concert held Due to weather conditions, the festival was cancelled.
August 1, 2005 Princes Park, Eastbourne Metallica, A Day To Remember, Anti-Flag - Concert only for metallica, no other bands at this festival (apart from support) GBP 90.00
August 1 & 2, 2006 Five Acre Field, Eastbourne Razorlight, The Offspring, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, The Darkness, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, Underoath, Weezer, System Of A Down, Tenacious D, Trainwreck, Trivium, Simple Plan, Nickelback, Linkin Park, Bowling For Soup. GBP 36.00
August 14 & 15, 2007 Princes Park, Eastbourne Slipknot, Bowling For Soup, Trivium, Paramore, Nickelback, Linkin Park, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Billy Talent, The Darkness, Anti-Flag, Muse, My Chemical Romance, The Offspring, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Simple Plan, A Day To Remember, All American Rejects, All Time Low, Angels & Airwaves, Biffy Clyro, Bring Me The Horizon, Guns N' Roses, Fightstar, Metallica GBP 49.00
August 16, 2008 No concert held The festival had to be cancelled - it was to be just a Bowling For Soup concert with support from Billy Talent, MC Lars and Zebrahead, but all 4 bands were stranded in the USA due to weather conditions. GBP 51.00
August 15 & 16, 2009 Princes Park, Eastbourne Zebrahead, Angels & Airwaves, Limp Bizkit, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, HIM, Bowling For Soup, Simple Plan, Billy Talent, Paramore, MC Lars, Anti-Flag, Zebrahead, Avril Lavigne, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Muse, My Chemical Romance, KoRn, All Time Low, All American Rejects, Less Than Jake, Karnivool, Lostprophets, Linkin Park, The Zutons, The Killers, Thirty Seconds to Mars GBP 54.00
August 14 & 15, 2010 Hyde Park, London Sum 41, A Day To Remember, Blink-182, You Me At Six, All American Rejects, Slipknot, Jimmy Eat World, All Time Low, Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Anti-Flag, Alien Ant Farm, The Offspring, Limp Bizkit, My Chemical Romance, Fightstar, Linkin Park, Korn, Weezer, Trivium, Zebrahead, Paramore, Biffy Clyro, Billy Talent, Bowling For Soup, Jedward & Vanilla Ice, Muse, Pink Floyd, Green Day GBP 98.00


The G.I.M.P Festival has had many sponsors over the year, with one primary sponsor buying the naming rights for that year's festival.

Year Name of Festival Other Sponsors
2003 The 2003 Red Bull G.I.M.P. Festival Orange, Red Bull, Siemens
2004 The Siemens Mobile G.I.M.P. Festival 2004 All sponsors pulled out due to the cancellation of the festival.
2005 The Red Bull G.I.M.P. Festival 2005 Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Fender, Gibson, Marshall Amplification, McDonald's, Lynx Deodorant, Vodafone UK.
2006 The 2006 Eastbourne G.I.M.P. Festival sponsored by Relentless Red Bull, Sony, Siemens, Fujifilm, Fender, Gibson, Zildjian, BBC Radio 1
2007 The Sony G.I.M.P. Festival 2007 Red Bull, Samsung, Marshall Amplification, Fender, Gibson, Paiste Cymbals, Zildjian, Yamaha, Toshiba, Fender, BBC Radio 1, Siemens, O2, BT, McDonald's
2008 Festival cancelled, the festival was to be named The Red Bull Festival 2008 Siemens, Fujifilm, Fender, Gibson, Zildjian, Marshall Amplification, BBC Radio 1, Greenpeace, Eastbourne Borough Council
2009 The 2009 G.I.M.P. Festival by Relentless Red Bull, Microsoft, Marshall Amplification, BBC Radio 1, Tussauds, Logitech, BBC Radio 1, McDonalds, Sony, Gibson, Fender, Siemens, Fujifilm, Paiste, Zildjian
2010 The 2010 Hellmann's G.I.M.P. Festival Relentless, Sony, O'Neill, Gibson, Fender, Fujifilm, Martin lighting, Marshall Amplification, Harrod's, BBC Radio 1, Apple, Zildjian, McDonald's, The City Of London, Ford.
2011 The 2011 Virgin G.I.M.P. Festival Virgin, O2, Siemens, Samsung, Gibson, Fender (Confirmed) The City Of London, London Underground (unconfirmed)

NB: Although companies can buy the naming rights up to a year in advance, no company is allowed to have the rights 2 years in a row. Red Bull and Relentless, for example, have held the rights for 2 years each, but they have not been consecutive years.


The venue of the G.I.M.P. Festival had never changed, until 2010, when it moved to London. The Festival has a venue for the next 20 years, and has already signed contracts guaranteeing this.

Years City Venue Capacity Average %/Tickets sold
2003–2009 Eastbourne Princes Park, Five Acre Field Approximately 5,400 100%
2010 & 2011 London Hyde Park Approximately 127,000 100%
2012 London Wembley Stadium Est. 115,000 Unknown
2013 London O2 Arena Est. 78,900 Unknown
2014–2016 Brighton Preston Park Est. 43,000 Unknown
2017–2020 London Hyde Park Est. 98,000 Unknown

Possible return to Eastbourne

Eastbourne has also started bidding for the concert to return to the town in 2021. The bid is being sponsored by O2 and Red Bull, and would see the arena in Eastbourne increased in size to 20,000 tickets. This, however, according to DHC Concerts, is not large enough for the fanbase that the Festival now has, and has said that the Festival would probably never return to Eastbourne. Eastbourne Borough Council responded to this, stating that the Festival would lose fans from not moving back into Eastbourne, and would lose the unique atmosphere.

Tickets Sold

Tickets for the G.I.M.P. Festival, although, expensive, always sell out.


Year Tickets available Tickets sold Sale breakdown
2003 5,390 5,253 97% Box office, 2% Telephone, 1% Internet
2004 5,490 n/a n/a
2005 5,400 5,400 5% Box office, 86% Telephone, 9% Internet
2006 5,800 5,798 3% Box office, 21% Telephone, 76% Internet
2007 5,200 5,200 0% Box office, 3% Telephone, 97% Internet
2008 4,980 n/a n/a
2009 5,400 5,400 1% Box office, 2% Telephone, 97% Internet

Out of a possible 34,090 available tickets, just 43 were unsold, with a percentage of 99.9%


Year Tickets Available Tickets sold Sale breakdown
2010 126,890 124,392 (As of April 4, 2010) 0% Box Office, 0% Telephone, 100% Internet
2011 128,900 (conf.) 0 n/a (Expected internet only)

Out of a possible 126,890 available tickets, there are few free tickets, with many websites selling out within 3 minutes of going on sale. The tickets were, however, available at a discounted rate to Vodafone customers, and also to people buying Gibson or Fender guitars, who received a discount code with each purchase. Around 98% of tickets have been sold.
The 2011 Virgin G.I.M.P. Festival is already confirmed to have a capacity of 128,900 tickets. Tickets are expected to go on sale on 1 April 2011 at approximately 2100 GMT, and will be available from and only. Ticketmaster are currently trying to get an allocation of tickets for the 2011 festival.


The future of the G.I.M.P. Festival looks promising, and is scheduled to be bigger than ever in both 2010 and 2011. The capacity will never be as high as 2010's festival, however, as a ban by Westminster city council means that in 2017-2020, there will be a limit of 99,000 on all concerts within the city. The 2011 Festival is, however, guaranteed, with the sponsorship of Virgin.

Controversy regarding Brighton

The Festival organisers, DHC Concerts, have angered Eastbourne council officials by stating that the Festival, in the near future, will be held in Brighton's Preston Park. The fact that the Festival is so close to where it originally was has both angered local residents to Eastbourne, but will also benefit the local economy to Brighton. Preston Park has experience holding concerts, Southern FM used to hold a Party In The Park each year in the city.


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