Festival Production: Takeaways from Successful Music Festivals

  • Gretta Polsky
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Festival Production is not an easy calling. Planning for your very own music festival is exciting, yet it can be overwhelming! From securing a venue, booking entertainment, getting vendors, insurance, volunteers, marketing, etc., a lot of time and effort goes into pulling off a flawless festival. In this post, we describe some of the reasons why the most popular music festivals are successful. From those we offer you some tips on what to focus on when organizing your own.

Example of Successful Festival Production

Coachella

Coachella Music Festival

The Coachella Music Festival takes place in Indio, California and consists of two, three-day weekends or six days in total. Coachella is known for rock, pop, indie, hip-hop, and electronic dance music, as well as its signature art installations and sculptures on festival grounds. This year, the festival drew around 750,000 people in total, making it one of the most popular music festivals of the year.

Festival productionCoachella has been known for its street style fashion since the early 2000’s, when social media was just taking off. Coachella became the perfect place to be seen wearing the trendiest outfits to pair with its lively music scene. Brands also began working with social media influencers to promote their latest pieces and clothing lines. Because of the hype that fashion has created at this festival, it also has become a place for celebrities to be spotted, musicians or otherwise.

Coachella’s tiered ticketing options and different fan experiences have become particularly more popular in recent years. Their VIP package fan experience provides attendees with specialty food and drink vendors, air conditioned and shaded seating areas, and a closer walk to enter the festival. Since many people choose to camp on the outskirts of the festival grounds, these heightened amenities can make the experience more comfortable and allow for a more exclusive experience.

In addition to the great music, you will hear at this festival, Coachella is known for their art installations that make for the perfect photo opportunity! The fun nature of these installations makes for the perfect Instagram post and intrigues newcomers from around the world.

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits is a two-weekend festival that drew around 450,000 people in 2022 with its rock, indie, country, and folk atmosphere. Located in Zilker Park, it is a short drive from Austin airport to the festival. The city’s natural skyline also provides a stunning backdrop for each performer. Based on the 1974 musical television series Austin City Limits, the festival mirrors the intimacy of having a large artist in an attainable setting for many fans.

One of the main intricacies of the Austin City Limits festival is the homegrown aspect. While their budget is high enough to get artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kacey Musgraves, they also make it a point to showcase lots of local artists each day. This helps reach a closer-knit market of audiences that might not frequent other festivals but enjoy coming to hear their favorite bands play and show their support.

EDC

Electric Daisy Carnival

Next up is Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). This Vegas-based festival drew more than 450,000 attendees in 2022 across two weekends. EDC showcases mainly electronic, house music and dubstep featuring the best producers and DJs. The festival name itself is reminiscent of EDM (electronic dance music) and immediately ties the type of music that one will hear at the festival to their name. Event goers also can expect three-dimensional superstructures, LED lit, and glow-in-the-dark environments. There are also interactive art installations throughout EDC, free roaming carnival performers, and carnival rides that enhance the musical experience.

What sets EDC apart from other festivals is the theme that pulls everything together. The electronic music paired with lit up structures is sure to bring in a specific audience year after year. EDC is essentially a huge nighttime party that never ends. With “carnival” in the name, Electric Daisy Carnival lives up to fan expectations by providing entertainment above and beyond just the music. Beyond a photo-op, Electric Daisy Carnival gets attendees excited to dance all night long.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

This week-long festival is a celebration of New Orleans’ culture, drawing around 475,000 attendees each year. Since 1970, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has celebrated the music, food, and arts and crafts of Louisiana.

While music takes center stage, the festival’s culinary options are a close second. Hundreds of food options are available with an abundance of Cajun, Creole, and other New Orleans staples. In fact, there are even two cooking stages dedicated to demonstrating the rich culinary history of New Orleans and offering samples of signature dishes.

This colorful festival is a cultural immersion that takes many forms including music, food, and arts. Alongside Mardi Gras, the Jazz and Heritage Festival is one of New Orleans’ most trafficked events.

Tips for Making Your Music Festival Production Successful

Audience

Identifying your target market’s demographic and psychographic profiles is the first step in laying the foundation of successful event production. Keep in mind that the vision and experience you will be marketing to potential attendees will attract a specific class of people who will attend.

For example, EDC attracts people who want to be creative, free and crave the social aspect of a festival, while New Orleans Jazz Fest aims to educate and create a space for cultural immersion. When thinking about your audience, this might bring up ideas for a theme or even a festival name based on the vibe and energy you want to create. It might also begin the process of finding relevant vendors such as food or activities that align with the target market’s personas. Your festival will leave a lasting impact on attendees, so make sure to spend time cultivating a target audience that your event reflects. Delving into the psychographics and demographics will equip you to understand who they are, what their interests are and where to find them online and offline. Creating personas of your target market will help you craft a marketing strategy directed specifically at the people you want to attend your festival.

Location

When planning the location for a festival, it is important to keep your audience in mind. The surrounding environment and venue capacity matters, but make sure to consider what your audience wants and needs. Is the space accessible for fans and vendors alike?

Many festivals look for wide open spaces that prevent traffic overflow and are not too close to residential areas to not disturb them. The kind of music or entertainment you have will also influence your location selection. The entertainment might help you discern what kind of environment you want to create to complement it. For example, a folk music festival might be well suited for a big field or farm area instead of a cement parking lot. Others might be better suited at a lake or venue with physical activities for young people if that is your target demographic.

Ticketing Strategies

Having multiple ticketing options can help appeal to your attendees’ experience desires and budgets while also maximizing profits from your event. Generally, having a General Admission option alongside bundled options such as VIP or Platinum tickets is a good way to get started. Looking at Coachella’s ticketing options, guests enjoy being able to customize their experience while knowing what they can expect in terms of available amenities. A comfortable and seemingly exclusive experience ensures that your audience will share their experiences with their friends and family and will enjoy coming back each year.

For more information, take a moment to read:
Festival Production: Leveraging the Fan Experience

Marketing

The success of your festival is ultimately based on how many people attend. Spreading the word about your event all begins with identifying your target audience and learning how and where they consume information. Knowing this allows you to get information to them in the way and on a channel that they normally consume.

While big headlining names are important to grab the attention of the masses, having a fair share of popular local talent will be sure to drive attendance. Whether it is word of mouth, postings on local event listing placements, online and offline advertising, or using social media, the best marketing tactics begin with building a brand and overall image for your event and knowing the audience you want to attend.

Key Takeaways of Successful Festivals

For your festival to be a success, it is important to create a unique and memorable experience that sets itself apart from other festivals and events. Creating a cohesive fan experience filled with music, food, activities geared to the audience, and accessible amenities is the goal. From there it will be a breeze to market your event because the attendees will do much of the work for you!

Do you have an upcoming festival that you are planning? TSE Entertainment can make sure your event is a success with festival production, booking, ticketing, sponsorship, and marketing services. Simply give us a call at 800-765-8203 or email info@tseentertainment.com to get started.

Related Posts:

Event Ticketing Strategy: 4 Tactics to Sell Out

Concert Production: Do You Pick Your Audience or Do They Pick You?

 

About the Author

Gretta Polsky

Gretta is a recent graduate from Susquehanna University with bachelor’s degrees in Music and Business. With an interest in event planning, she looks forward to learning more about this process on a larger scale. Gretta has a love for pop and classical music and is excited to gain experience working in the music industry while on the TSE team.

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