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4 Learnings Advertisers Can Take Home From Summer Music Festivals

Summer is almost here, and that means that the music festival season is upon us. The festival industry inhabits a unique corner of the…
4 Learnings Advertisers Can Take Home From Summer Music Festivals

Summer is almost here, and that means that the music festival season is upon us. The festival industry inhabits a unique corner of the digital media landscape, where a majority of the buzz is drummed up on a seasonal basis. With a niche product and a limited amount of time to promote themselves, extensive planning must go into developing a marketing strategy. Despite the unique constraints that festival marketers face, there is a lot to learn from some of America’s largest music festivals’ digital strategies.

Create Content that Satisfies Needs For Your Consumers

Firefly Music FestivalSource: Firefly Instagram

As fans prepare for music festivals, they have to consider more than just what artists they’re going to see. However, figuring out where to stay, how to get there and other logistics can be afterthoughts in this process, and Firefly recognizes that. On their YouTube page, the most recent videos cover preparation and safety during the festival. They have videos providing optimal routes to get to the festival grounds and some “pro-tips” from people who have attended in the past. They also have a video graphic on their Instagram of the airports closest to the venue.

Steve Jobs once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” By dedicating some of your digital content to satisfying your audiences “unknown” wants and needs, you’ll be on your way to establishing your brand as an authority that’s also looking out for the best interests of your consumers.

Build A Brand Aesthetic that Promotes Secondary Revenue Streams

Governors BallSource: Governors Ball Instagram

The weather may have dampened this year’s Governors Ball, but it didn’t rain on their impressive digital strategy leading up to the festival, which can offer two essential learnings for advertisers.

A majority of their digital content was created using still frames and extremely vibrant colors, especially in their Instagram stories. Though it’s high quality, viewers still get a sense that they’d be able to create something at least similar to it. These visual elements create a genuine and familiar feel, which helps bring the festival to a level playing field with their audience.

By establishing this authentic aesthetic, they were able to promote their secondary products, like food vendors and activities to participate in at the festival, while seeming more like an attendee and less like a social media marketer. Festival tickets essentially sell themselves, so by dedicating their marketing resources to promoting other revenue streams, they put themselves in a better position to maximize returns during the festival. Consider this as you begin to implement new product extensions/lines.

Infuse Your History With Your Brand

Vans Warped Tour

Source: Vans Warper Tour Twitter

Vans Warped Tour is currently celebrating its 25th and final summer of shows. They kicked off the summer with a date in Cleveland, Ohio on June 8th at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, where they held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of their permanent exhibit. Following the theme, most of their digital content is dedicated to the history of the cross-country tour. They’ve developed a digital content series called Warped Looks Back, highlighting acts that have historically played on the tour including Blink 182, Katy Perry, Simple Plan and The All-American Rejects.

Warped Tour has provided an example of conveying where your company is in its lifecycle through social media. While younger music festivals have a more outgoing tone, Warped has adopted one that’s nostalgic, which is in tune with emotions that attendees may be feeling with the tour coming to an end. By focusing on Warped Tour’s history in their message strategy and events, they’ve been able to switch their brand from “Punk Rock Summer Camp” to a piece of music history. If you’re ever considering a branding change, look Vans Warped Tour as an example of how to adjust your digital message strategy accordingly.

Show, Don’t Tell, The Value of Your Product


Source: Coachella YouTube

Coachella has taken an interesting approach to their digital media strategy, and it plays off of peoples’ “fear of missing out” very well. They live stream artists’ sets from the event and post videos of individual song performances. The YouTube channel also has many interviews with the performers during the festival. These work as a way to advertise for next year’s show before this year’s is even over: those who decided not to go are seeing first hand exactly what they missed out on, furthering the likelihood that they will want to attend next year.

Since Coachella is one of the most established American music festivals and also the most attended (per day), they don’t need to do any additional advertising for the event. However, their efforts have proven to be exceptional, considering they have the most views on their YouTube videos out of these four festivals.


Even though you may not work in the music industry, there are lessons to draw from the efforts of Firefly, GovBall, Warped Tour and Coachella, and they all stem from a general theme: use your marketing budget to tell consumers more than what they already know or what they can easily find out. Give them a value outside of who is playing and what time they go on. Pique their interest with information or entertainment that they cannot obtain on their own. Content like this has the potential to perform well and drive consistent traffic to your social media channels.

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By Jake Watkins, Storyhunter Writer