Festival Production: Leveraging the Fan Experience

  • Sara Harmouch
Back to News & Events

Why are concert and festival production teams increasingly paying attention to the total fan experience? The answer is that a better fan experience means that the promoter or event organizer will see more:

      • Brand Awareness
      • Fan Loyalty
      • Revenue Opportunities

Any entertainment agency that provides concert or festival production services knows that one of the critical elements of event production is the total fan experience. As the effects of the pandemic diminish their impact on the live entertainment industry, the importance of fan experience is becoming even more crucial.

Richard Black, President & General Manager at Superfly described this new phenomenon perfectly in an interview with XLive Global: “Driven by the consumers’ desire to not only make the most of what they missed out on but be more thoughtful on what they do and who they do it with helps fuel their need and appreciation for human connection.”

Consumer behavior and technological innovation are fueling industry growth. Modern consumers are becoming more interested in the “experience lifestyle.” Social media has made it easy for artists to find communities that share their interests and build devoted fan bases.

Concert and Festival Production Companies Are Responding to What Fans Want

Mandolin asked 4,000 live music fans about the future of live music, 82% stated that they would spend extra on “perks” in addition to ticket prices. Those perks include access to digital recordings, concert footage, virtual meet and greet, merchandise packages and more. While this data was focused on virtual events, the demand for fan experiences can also be translated to in-person concerts and festivals.

festival productionMany popular music festivals have created VIP packages that give its attendees the personalized experience they desire. Global Citizen, for example, has created multiple level VIP packages that generated more than $1M for the event’s sponsoring charity (Eventbrite). Another great example is the Governor’s Ball whose VIP upgrades give their attendees access to VIP viewing areas, fast lanes at each festival entrance, private WiFi in VIP viewing area, air conditioned bathrooms, free water and more. The festival also offers platinum VIP and cabana upgrades. Governor’s Ball platinum upgrades are offered to a hundred people only. This exclusivity increases the value of the tickets and fuels additional interest amongst consumers.

Entertainment Agencies Know That Improving Fan Experience Is Vital

Why should festival and concert organizers focus on improving fan experience at their events? The answer is straightforward: Developing a remarkable experience for your attendees leaves them wanting to come back for more events. This is essential if you want to

  • Enhance brand awareness
  • Build fan loyalty
  • Increase revenue opportunities.

Enhance Brand Awareness for Future Concerts & Festivals

A positive fan experience will most likely lead to a word-of-mouth awareness campaign and amplify your reach within the attendees’ personal circle. People are more likely to share their experiences with friends, family and colleagues which will result in a more positive brand recognition for your event. Including a social component to your events like a dedicated hashtag or social media filters (Instagram and Snapchat) can help increase your online brand recognition. Make sure to engage with fans who are talking about your event online.

Increasing Fan Loyalty and Future Ticket Sales

Now more than ever, event organizers need to focus on the fans. Make your event stand out for attendees by enhancing their first post pandemic concert or festival. Making sure every person that walks into your event leaves with a positive experience will ensure that they come back. This results in a loyal fan base who will support and attend future events.

Increasing Revenue Opportunities for Festival and Concert Organizers

In a recent article, Eventbrite “estimates that VIP experiences account for a sizable chunk of money —10% of ticket sales— and generate approximately 25% of revenue.”

Fan Experience Assets Can Appeal to Sponsors

Consider how you can leverage fan experience at your event to attract sponsors. Brands want their name attached to unforgettable events with engaged and loyal fans. Think about what brands are best suited for your audience and what your sponsor goals are. Create activations that will yield the most engagement among attendees and generate a good return of investment (ROI) for your sponsor. Check out our Festival and Event Sponsorship Development blog for more info on developing a strong sponsorship program for your event.

Six ways Concerts and Festivals Can Provide a Better Fan Experience

1.     VIP Packages

2.     Speedy Admissions & VIP Parking

3.     Premium Food and Beverages

4.     VIP Restrooms

5.     Behind-the-Scenes Access

6.     Multi-Event Passes

Two in five Gen Z consumers have purchased or plan to purchase concert and festival tickets for the upcoming summer. The same group is looking for ways to stay safe and healthy as they return to live events. What could event organizers do to offer their fans a personalized experience that will leave a positive impact?

entertainment agency VIP fan experienceVIP Packages

The most effective fan experience is offering VIP upgrades to attendees. VIP packages can include exclusive merchandise, fast lanes, VIP viewing areas, private WIFI, meet and greets, soundcheck experience, Q&A with the artists and more. There can be multi-level tier packages at different price points, all offering different personalized experiences for the fans.

Speedy Admissions and VIP Parking

Speedy Admissions into venues and events can be included in VIP upgrades or sold separately. Nowadays, fans camp out overnight in front of venues to get as close to their favorite artists as they can at both seated and general admission events. Offering speedy admissions to your attendees can be a valuable offering for most.

Poor traffic and parking conditions at a venue or event can deter people from attending events. Offering VIP parking that’s easily accessible and within a short distance of your event is another asset that many concert goers would pay an additional fee for. You can also package parking as part of your VIP upgrades.

Premium Food & Beverage Packages

In a recent study, Oracle reported that 45% of fans had abandoned concession lines at least once in the past 12 months without making a food or beverage purchase because the wait was too long. Festivals often run for many hours, and having food and beverages readily available in the VIP viewing area offers considerable value to attendees.

You can also turn your general admission concert ticket into a dining experience and offer a limited number of VIP tables at your venue or event. You may also invite local food vendors to your festival for a fee.

VIP Restrooms

The Covid pandemic has increased attendees’ awareness of sanitation needs and cleanliness. Those involved in concert or festival production should be attuned to the growing importance of sanitation to attendees as well as sponsors.  Addressing this directly as part of your VIP  benefits will gives guests assurance of your concern for their welfare and give them peace of mind in attending the event. Air conditioned, sanitized bathrooms with dedicated attendants have become even more important since the start of the pandemic. Many fans will pay extra to be able to gain access to premium, clean and sanitized restrooms at live entertainment events.

Behind-the-scenes Access

The ultimate VIP experience for fans is getting access to behind the scenes at concert, festivals, or other live entertainment events. If it’s possible from an event and artists perspective, this offering will undoubtedly leave attendees sharing their exclusive experience with their friends, family and over social media.

Create behind the scenes bundles at your event that include group meet and greets, one on one meets and greets, dedicated lounge spaces with photo-booths, branded step-&-repeats backdrops for photographs. Some events transport VIP guests via golf carts to behind-the-scenes happenings and other transportation needs around the festival grounds.

Multi-Event Passes

While more popular in sporting events, multi-day festivals, concert series and other types of live entertainment events can benefit immensely from offering multi-event passes. The Houston Rodeo for example offers seasonal passes at multiple levels ranging from $400 for upper-level seats to $7,000 for Hess Chute Seats. A music venue can also offer concert series passes for the whole series or part of the series. County fairs offer weekend or weekday multi-day tickets to their events.  Another strategy is to sell general admission tickets to a concert series or festival and then offer VIP upgrades for various VIP events after they have already purchased general admission tickets.

live music eventTurning Your Live Music Event into a Full-Scale Festival

As consumers’ focus shifts to the experience lifestyle, it is imperative for festival and concert producers to intensify the fan experience at their events to stand out from the competition. Offering VIP upgrades and personalized experiences to your event goers builds brand awareness, increases fan loyalty, and drives revenue opportunities to your event.

Turning a music concert into an all-day music or community festival can increase attendance and attract support from the local community. As an entertainment agency, TSE has experience turning a music festival into a community supported festival.

You can do this by offering a broader range of experiences than just a music concert. If it is to be a community and family-oriented festival, then here a few things we have done to make it so. The first is making the festival kid-friendly to bring out families. Offering safe and staffed activities for kids allows their parents to enjoy the other festival activities without the need to worry that their kids are unattended. A fenced area for games, face painting, educational and fun activities gives parents the peace of mind they need to explore the other many activities you will have for them.

Creating an area with local organizations can showcase their services to attendees is another way to make it a “community” festival. You can also include commercial exhibitors selling carnival games, trinkets or merchandise as well.

Of course, you need to provide the food and beverages for a long day of activities for your guests. If you have the resources to provide those yourself, the food and beverage revenue can be a significant revenue source. Otherwise, you can get local food vendors and food trucks to provide the food and beverages you attendees will need.

Alcohol is another important source of income. Limiting alcohol sales to the event organizer or one vendor can provide significant income to the event. Remember that your event will require alcohol liability insurance as part of your event insurance package if you do that. You can read more about alcohol liability and event insurance requirements in this two-part article about Music Concert or Festival Insurance.

TSE takes community involvement a step further by trying to showcase local community performing arts organizations to perform during community festivals we produce.

The more local organization involvement, the easier it will be for you to attract local sponsors to your event.  Involving the local community in your festival production planning will increase attendance and community engagement. As you get more attendance and community engagement you can then move to larger sponsorships by regional or national brands. It all works together to create a really good community fan experience that is immersive and engaging and will keep people coming back year after year to your festival. Have a three-year plan on developing and growing your event to provide the kind of fan experience that will make it programmatically and financially successful for you as an event organizer.

A sure way to do that is hiring an experienced entertainment agency that can help you take your event to the next level and beyond. TSE Entertainment’s festival production services help pull together all the many logistical, performance, community, marketing and sponsorship issues involved in putting on a concert or festival.

Whatever level of need you have, TSE Entertainment can complement your existing team and deliver the help you require for your festival, concert, or other type of live entertainment event. Our dedicated crew of production professionals becomes part of your team. Use our expertise and experience to fill any gaps you may have put together and carry out your big event. We do as little or as much as you want. Contact our team today.

 

About the Author

Sara Harmouch

Sara always believed that music has a magical power to reach people in ways that nothing else can. Her passion for music and its business inspired her to pursue a career in the music industry. She recently graduated from Berklee Online with a degree in music business and is thrilled to apply her learnings and experience in music marketing at TSE entertainment.

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