Sunday, May 10, 2015

Festival Producers: 3 Things to Remember About Social Media

Electronic dance music has seen a sharp rise in popularity and now, festivals look to social media to stay innovative and relevant to festival-goers. I am an undergraduate economics student at Northwestern University with a certificate in integrated marketing, and I have found two articles that stress how important social media is for festival producers to stay ahead of the game.

The Atlantic recently published an article titled How Fashion Co-Opted Coachella by Alexandra Cheney detailing how fashion houses are attracting followers away from the festival grounds and to private parties. The 16-year-old music festival has developed a cult following of sorts. In the days leading up to this festival, fans document their journey to Coachella Valley all over social media, tweeting about who they can’t wait to see to what outfits they plan on wearing. Looks are becoming more important then the actual music being played. Luxury and commercial brands aggressively spend to attract influencers, consumers and “fashionistas” to invite-only pool parties and tented fashion shows. A new trend in festivals is the creation of external parties like these designer house pool parties that add an air of exclusivity that everyone wants a piece of. In fact, many festival-goers go to established events outside of the festival grounds. “No-Chella” has taken over Coachella – being seen and getting that exclusive party-invite can be more important than what is happening on the festival grounds.
Electronic dance music has been dubbed the music of the millennial generation. We thrive on connectivity. Phil Hudson’s article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle titled TomorrowWorld parent studies EDM fans examines how EDM is becoming a culture and lifestyle for fans. Electronic music thrives on connectivity and fans enhance their experience by sharing their experiences all over social media. Chatter about EDM, music festivals and fan preferences take place on the Internet. With so many festivals emerging across the country, the only way festivals can differentiate themselves is either by bringing in an impressive lineup or by doing something no festival has done before. Electronic music is here to stay and the challenge is in figuring out how to capitalize on the music festival industry.

There are three action points any festival producer should consider.

1. Go Social – The most successful festivals have highly active social accounts with a combination of user-generated content, popular hashtags and festival announcements.

2. Listen Online – With the majority of festival goers online, social listening helps you stay in touch with your fans and hear what they like and dislike.

3. Music First – There’s a reason why they’re called “music festivals” and not “fashion festivals”. Don’t sacrifice your sound for the extra fashion show!

Electronic dance music and the festival culture have taken over the millennial generation. To succeed in the festival industry, producers need to think of ways to stay innovative and relevant in the music scene but without compromising the music. Social listening and paying heavy attention to social media has become a necessity rather than an after-thought for any serious festival producer.

About the Author

I am a Northwestern senior majoring in Economics, minoring in Asian American Studies and completing my certificate in the Integrated Marketing Communications program. I am currently still seeking a post-graduate job in the marketing industry, ideally looking to work in the music festival scene. Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter or drop me a message at I would love to talk more about the changing music scene!

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