Outdoor music festivals have evolved since your grandmother’s Woodstock days. Music festivals have adopted the technologies and advancements in digital media that, at one time, could have run them out of business. When listeners could have traded in their concert-going experience for high-quality music and video from the comfort of their home, the music festival industry took the new-age competition and used it to their advantage.
Developments like advanced sound equipment, breakthrough lighting materials, and massive LED screens made for impeccable viewing are not just enhancing the visual experience, they are creating a stronger tech-focused experience for attendees. One that challenges the market and has made the festival industry more profitable than ever.
It’s all about the experience!
While the motive behind attending a music festival is to hear music, visitors want a personalized experience that caters to their interests. They’re looking for a party-like atmosphere and special treatment, such as extravagant VIP access, and social media campaigns have found a way to promise them that through live-streaming, user generated content about their visit, and ads. And because there is an increased interest in attending music festivals, headlining bands are shifting their focus away from the age-old concert that many have seen before to the more popular festival experience. Basically, bands are at festivals because their fans are at festivals, and fans are at festivals because they are drawn to this new experience.
Festivalgoers also expect, and receive, a great deal more than a performance at music festivals. Artists performing live is one thing, but the added visual effects of pyrotechnics, on top of the goods sold by unique vendors at the festivals, makes for one heck of an experience that you can’t get anywhere else. When you add the ability to see multiple bands in one place, the food options excusive to festivals, and the spirit of coming together with others who like the same bands, one can understand the appeal. It’s no wonder that Summerfest 2017 had over 831,000 in attendance this year, showing a steady increase in visitors over the past two years.
Social Media Element
The thing about music festivals is that they reach and inspire thousands of attendees from many different backgrounds. Coachella is one of the most popular music festivals, this year expanding their grounds to hold 125,000 at a time, and these numbers will only continue to grow. Attendees want a one-of-a-kind experience, and, ironically, they discover this through social media, which can reach millions of users everyday!
However, social media strongly influences festival attendees and their expectations. Thanks to refined marketing in social media, ticket sales, and festival attendance increase yearly, drawing in more and more attendees. When you add live streaming and increased social media activity to the mix, you have more than just advertising via word of mouth, but by the means of share, post, and like.
Digital Media, Marketing, and Corporate Support
Corporations want to expand on the increased use of social media by having a strong presence at music festivals. From tents on the grounds to full-on festival sponsorships, companies benefit financially from any marketing they can do, no matter the scale.
With digital advertising, through ads and banners on festival websites where tickets are purchased, and a media presence that connects to different visitors before, after, and during the festival, companies can gain a unique type of exposure. Live streaming and digital access actually encourage physical attendance, which is exactly what sponsors want! Festivals like Coachella, FireFly Music Festival, and Summerfest have free apps so everyone can get real-time information, from bands playing and ticket purchases right from your phone to maps of the grounds and wristband registration. The majority of apps actually allow you to visit their social media pages directly through their app, where you are encouraged to post, share, and tweet the details of your visit.
Additionally, corporate sponsors love festivals, because the festival itself has done all the hard work! It has gathered all these people to see these artists, and they just have to add their voice, digital or not, to the mix!
So the next time you consider attending a music festival, remember that this is an enhanced musical experience from the dirt patches of yesteryears. As advanced technology continues to find its home at music festivals, who knows what the music festival experience will look like in years to come!
What do you think of the new music festival experience now that digital media has changed the game? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us!