It’s been reported that there are over 800 annual music festivals in the U.S., but this number continues to grow every year. According to Billboard, approximately 32 million people go to at least one of these music festivals, and many of them travel hundreds of miles in order to make the event. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that music festivals are incredibly popular, so it’s not surprising that many marketers want to host experiential marketing activations at these events.

Hosting an experiential marketing event at an established, well-known music festival can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Brands that are working with smaller budgets may wonder whether it’s worth it to host an event at a first-year festival, which is bound to be more affordable. Here’s what you should consider before making this decision:

Lack of Audience Information

Established festivals can offer marketers a vast amount of information on the people that attend their event. Festival organizers know how old their audience is, where they live, what they do for a living, and how much they make. Nielsen and other data companies have even more detailed information, including how likely they are to purchase certain product categories and how much they’re willing to spend. For example, Nielsen data reveals that people who attend Bonnaroo are 59% more likely than the average consumer to purchase liquid coffee.

This kind of data helps brands determine whether or not the festivalgoers are part of the brand’s target audience. However, first-year music festivals will not have this type of information to share with marketers. Brands must decide if they want to host an event within the festival without knowing with certainty if the festival will draw the brand’s target audience.

Marketing Plans

Before making this decision, it’s important to ask the festival organizers about their marketing plans. How are they planning on marketing the festival? What channels will they use to reach their target audience? How much money are they willing to spend on marketing? If the marketing plan seems incomplete or ineffective, the festival organizers may not draw in the huge crowds they are anticipating.

Musical Acts Scheduled to Perform

Marketers can learn a lot about a festival—even a first-year event—by looking at the musical acts that are scheduled to perform. It’s a good sign if the festival organizers have managed to book household names that will draw in a lot of people. But, if the names are not recognizable, this could indicate it’s a smaller event.

Be sure to research each of the musical acts online—especially on social media. This is a great way for marketers to learn who listens to these musical acts, how popular they are, and whether or not fans are within the brand’s target audience. If you’re trying to reach high school and college students, for example, it’s not wise to host an experiential marketing event at a festival with musical acts from the 70s and 80s.

Research the Venue and City

It’s best to research both the venue and the city where the festival will take place. Start by looking at the venue to determine how many people it can hold. Remember, only a fraction of the people who attend the event will interact with your brand. If the venue holds 50,000 people, there’s no way that all 50,000 will see your branding or stop by your event. Keep this in mind when figuring out if hosting an event at the festival is worth it for your brand.

You should also ask festival organizers where your event will be set up within the venue. The event should be located in an area with a lot of foot traffic, preferably near an entrance or exit. If there’s not a good spot for your event, it’s probably not worth the investment.

Next, research the city where the venue is located. It’s true that people are willing to travel to attend music festivals, however they may not want to travel very far for a first-year festival that is not well known. For this reason, it’s best if the venue is located in a populous city. Cities with large public universities are ideal since many festivalgoers are college-aged adults. These adults will not have to travel very far to attend the event if it’s in the same city as their school, so this is a good sign that the festival will be a success.

Be sure to also look at local calendars to see if there are other events scheduled for the same date and time as the music festival. First-year festivals are not established enough to have a loyal following of festivalgoers, so many people may choose to attend other events taking place in the city instead.

Other Sponsors and Brand Partnerships

Ask the festival organizers if other brands are involved in any way with the event. You will need to know about other experiential marketing events, sponsorships, and brand partnerships related to the event. If your competitor is planning a huge event at the same festival, this is something you should know before hosting a small-sized event just a few dozen feet away from them. Analyze the list of other brands that are involved with the festival to determine if this is a good fit for your company.

Are you interested in hosting an experiential marketing event at a music festival? If so, contact the experiential marketing experts at Factory 360. We will research a wide range of music festivals to figure out which ones are right for your brand. Then, we will assist you with every step of the process from planning the event to hosting it and measuring its success. Call us now to learn more about our marketing services.

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