As news editor for this site I find myself writing a fair few articles about festivals, and as you would expect most of these are about line-ups, dates and ticket details. However, last summer bucked that trend with bad luck falling upon many a music event from cancellations, changes of venue and one even going bust. Reading all these stories has got me thinking: has the bubble burst on what can only be described as a festival boom?

While bad weather blighted a number of events it was attendances that provided the main cause for concern with a YouGov report released at the end of last year showing that the figures are likely to continue dropping in 2013. The survey was conducted among UK festival goers (people who had attended at least one festival) with only a fifth (19%) planning to attend an event this year, and 54% ruling it out completely.

Festivals are of course a business, regardless of the organisers original motive the purpose in most cases is to earn money so they can return a year later. However, they cost big bucks to get off the ground. For starters, the owner of the land will want rent, the suppliers of the staging and lighting equipment will all want a hire fee, then you'll need to pay the people to operate all that gear. But before you can put all that staging up you need to get a temporary license from the local planning authority as well as the licenses to serve booze and let you play music 'til after the sun goes down. But these all cost time and money.

Ok, so all this may sound like stating the obvious but bear with me for a minute. Now that you've secured your site, and have your equipment lined up, you'll need to find some artists to fill the stages, and these guys need paying too. This is a much harder balancing act than you might think. You'll need to get enough acts on the bill so that punters don't feel short changed, whist also being sure to secure acts that will attract people in the first place. Even then, you are at the mercy of the booking agents who'll want as much money as possible and your location may need to fit in with potential performers schedules (if a band is playing three gigs in Scotland the week of your festival in Cornwall for instance, then there is a big chance they won’t make a detour).

You might get lucky and manage to book some acts who need the exposure on the cheap but even then you'll still need to supply riders for them. Once you have the bands you're going to need security staff and they won't work for free just because they believe in your project or just for the love of keeping stuff secure.

Finally when you've got that all that sorted you'll need to promote the event, which means setting up a website, buying flyers and advertising space as well as setting up a ticketing system.

So that's a very crude guide to what goes into a festival and a long list of things that can go wrong and not just for the smaller festivals. For instance Sonisphere had to cancel last year, and while not as established as its main UK rival, Download, the event has conquered Europe with sites across the continent. However, following a fairly mute response to the announcement of headliners Kiss and Queen, ticket sales suffered and as a result the organisers were forced to pull the plug in March explaining that "putting the festival together in what is proving to be a very challenging year was more difficult than we anticipated."

With Download securing the crowd magnets Metallica, Sonisphere struggled to find a billing to match the £180 price tag (the average price it seems for big festivals these days). Compare that though to the festivals abroad and you could have attended Sonisphere in Spain for just 69€ where headliners included... Metallica, begging the question, why should people stay in the rainy UK when they can go to a warm country and watch the same bands (if not better) for cheaper? In fact, 35% of the people asked in the YouGov survey who said they wouldn't be attending a festival next year cited the big price tags as their reasoning.

In a year which saw the UK's biggest festival, Glastonbury take a break, it wasn't just Sonishpere that suffered poor sales but events all over the country failed to sell, so is cost the biggest factor in falling attendances? Glasto has always been the jewel in the festival crown seeing the number of revelers increasing 9033% from 1,500 in 1970 to the 137,000 of 2011. Do the maths on the ticket prices however and they have risen in cost by a whopping 1437% in that time according to a Money Supermarket study published in 2012.

That same report also looked at Coachella in the USA where the ticket price has risen 290% in just over a decade. Whilst that might sound like the organisers ripping punters off they also suffered an eight figure loss back in 2008, going to show (once again) that even the biggest, most established festivals can suffer.

There is no doubting that festivals have benefited from becoming quite trendy in recent years, and here's where I might sound a bit snobbish, but we've all been there, logging onto facebook and seeing an over tanned girl you went to school with wearing hunter wellies and a flowery headband, pouting into a camera lens in front of the Bestival sign and treating it like a fashion show for TOWIE rejects queuing outside a Liquid Envy on a Saturday night. Or the group of #LADZ covered in neon paint with half a dozen fosters cans strapped to their hands mud wrestling over a gram of MDMA screaming "butt scratcher" at the top of their voices until 5am, asking if that song about a bucket Kings of Leon sang earlier is a new one.

Of course the more people going to festivals the better, but would you have seen those same people at a festival six years ago? I doubt it, and these fair-weather attendees probably go some way to accounting for another part of the YouGov study which revealed that 37% of respondents said music festivals were over-crowded and involve too much queuing, and 22% saying they would now choose a holiday over a festival with 18% saying poor weather and muddy fields were a festival turn off.

Creamfields was just one high profile festival that fell to the mercy of mother nature with organisers having to close the site midway through the weekend following torrential rain with partial refunds being given to weekend ticket holders and full refunds to Sunday ticket holders. The site was by all accounts evacuated safely with revelers appreciating that it was exceptional and unforeseen circumstances cutting their festival short.

The same praise couldn't be given to those behind the ill-fated Bloc Festival, having previously been a success in Minehead Butlins, organisers seemed to bite off more than they could chew by attempting to host a three-day event in London's docklands which was forced to shut on the opening night amidst reports of safety fears due to weather and/or over-crowding following problems with admissions. A bun fight ensued between the ticketing agent, Bloc and the venue's management, London Pleasure Gardens, seeing the latter two companies go bust shortly after. With so many acts in town and no stage to play, pop up gigs were happening all over the capital, whist poor planning and even worse communication led to disappointment for many ticket holders who were unsure of where any refund was going to come from.

Bloc's organisers have since resurfaced with a slight re-brand and a new website is promising a series of smaller scale events in the pipeline, although it will be hard to see them gaining the public's trust again as with just over a month until their first show, a venue still hasn't been confirmed.

It would of course be foolish to think that the recession hadn't played a huge part in the fall of ticket sales, according to YouGov 36% of all gig goers in the UK said the economic crisis had impacted on their presence at musical events and will continue to do so into 2013. On the flip side though, 56% said they hadn't been put off by the credit crunch at all and still bought tickets as normal.

Ask the bands playing the festivals and they'll tell you they love them, can't get enough of them, and who can blame them? There's an almost captive audience at their disposal and no one there is expecting anything other than a lot of fun. The only thing is if you take out the main headliners of a line up and you might find a lot of the acts are similar for most of the festivals, which proves a big challenge to both those promoting the festival and for the consumers choosing which ones they attend, especially in these hard times.

So with so many festivals to choose from it does seem like the boom has peeked for now and perhaps the answer is simple, if you are attending festivals in 2013, in particular if you only plan to attend just one, do your research. Just because a festival is big doesn't mean it's the best, there are hundreds out there and in the most part they are all run brilliantly by great people who genuinely love music and want you to have the best time possible. And be sure keep an eye on our Festivals section for all the latest news on this year's upcoming events.