Music festivals have long been a place where the opportunity of having thousands of influential young minds all in one place was seized to promote something. At Woodstock it was Janis Joplin preaching about the importance of the music itself, and Max Yasgur encouraging the crowd to be a model for future festivals. Today, in our brand-saturated society, big name companies have partnered with festivals to send their own messages.
The boundless evolution of the festival scene is no secret, but what has seemed to last the test of time is the importance of the festival goers’ experience. Companies are advertising themselves at music festivals, but they are not putting their logo in huge print behind the main stage. Instead, they are heading into the audience and using their advertising budget on ways to accommodate the attendees.
This experience-focused trend seems to be occurring at festivals of all sizes and popularity. Smaller festival Bunbury, in Cincinnati Ohio, had charging stations all around sponsored by nearby Miami University. While Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s largest sponsor, Ford Motor Company, has sponsored its own stage—cleverly coined “The Garage”.
The even larger festival Coachella has similar non-stage tents. One of the most popular is Sephora’s DIY Beauty Bar, where one can freshen up with the company’s makeup products and even put on a hydrating facial mask. Another is a photo booth that allows attendees to share their photos, via the tent’s free Wi-Fi, to instantly win prizes.
These brands are using festivals as opportunities to make a personal connection with their audience. After standing in the sun all day, a free air-conditioned space or a fully charged phone battery can mean the world to audience members.
Many businesses looking to sponsor festivals are turned away if they are not willing to with a unique way to tend to the crowd. It is not exactly clear why music festivals are the holy land where a "zero-tolerance" policy for in-your-face advertising has prevailed, but this restriction seems to be paying off. Though an obstacle for most brands, the companies that have utilized the challenge and put in the extra effort to find a way to cater to the audience have ultimately made the most lasting impact on the festival goers.
Headed to the show? Let us help make an experience.