Although many headline tours have been slow to restart post-pandemic, outdoor festivals have experienced a massive boom since the return of live events. Fans are more ready than ever to attend concerts to see their favorite artists, and festivals offer the opportunity to get a full day or weekend’s worth of live music. But as antsy as people are to get their fill of live music, you still have to create a strategy when considering how to promote a music festival in 2022.
You’ll benefit from the fact that people will want to attend the festival, but you can’t expect the event to promote itself. Like any other event you promote, you need a comprehensive plan to have a successful event, and that includes a great strategy for getting the message out to eager fans.
How to Promote a Music Festival
If you’re looking for a place to start as you figure out how to promote a music festival, it never hurts to examine what other promoters are doing.
Although we’re still waiting to see if the Mawazine festival in Morocco will keep the crown as the largest festival in the world in 2022, we can still analyze some of the festivals that have already taken place or are coming up.
One of the reasons music festivals are selling better than indoor concerts is simply because the festivals take place outside, which poses less of a risk of COVID-19 infection. This is reflected in some of the stats comparing pre-and post-pandemic attendance:
- Festivals in 2021 were predicted to reach 87% of their 2019 attendance compared to concerts, which were anticipated to experience 53% of their 2019 attendance in 2021.
- Lollapalooza felt only a little post-pandemic impact. In 2019, the festival hosted 400,000 attendees, averaging around 100,000 people each day. In 2021, they welcomed over 385,000 people to keep their average close to the 100,000 per day mark.
- HARD Summer, the first big event in Los Angeles post-COVID, only lost about 10,000 fans between their 2019 (170,000 people) and 2021 (160,000 people) festivals.
- Coachella didn’t seem to suffer any post-pandemic hits considering that passes for Coachella 2022 (which took place April 15-24) sold out within hours of going on sale… in June 2021.
And the list goes on and on. Clearly, these events are well known and we’ll attended– but they got that way for a reason. It’s valuable to take note of their tried and true methods, as well as how they handled the pandemic situation. Here are some additional points to consider as you develop your strategy.
Do: Know Your Audience
Thirty-two million people attend at least one US music festival every year, which means you’re likely dealing with a broad audience. Your festival might promote a niche, like how When We Were Young caters to millennials who grew up with alternative/emo music.
Sticking to a theme or genre can help you narrow down your audience, but you’ll still want to follow the 80/20 Rule.
According to the 80/20 Rule, 20% of festival attendees will be “hardcore festies” who drive most of your event revenue. The other 80% of attendees are the ones you’ll have to convince to attend your specific festival. We can break down the 80/20 Rule even more:
- 20% of all festival attendees are hardcore festies that attend an average of 5-6 festivals each year
- 50% of all festival attendees are moderate festies that attend an average of 2-3 festivals each year
- 30% of all festival attendees are casual festies that attend only one festival each year
The fewer festivals a person attends each year, the more legwork you’ll have to do to persuade them that your event is the can’t-miss festival of the year. Understanding your target audience will help you determine the best way to promote your festival given their music interests, what social media sites they spend time on, and how much they’d be willing to spend on the experience.
At the same time, you want to attract the hardcore festies to your event because 81% of serial festival-goers post on social media while they’re at the festival. These ticket holders are valuable to your revenue stream, and they also serve as festival influencers who will help you promote your future festivals.
As you figure out how to promote your music festival, it’s essential to strike a balance between catering to casual, moderate, and hardcore attendees based on why you believe they’d want to attend your festival.
Don’t: Ignore COVID
Although we all wish that COVID was a distant memory by now, it’s imperative not to act like it never happened. While some fans simply want to escape to a place that feels more “normal,” many others want to know that they won’t be stepping into the next super-spreader event.
Whatever you decide, whether it’s acknowledging you’re leaving preventative health measures to festival goers or whether you implement something stronger, you need to have a health and safety plan in place. This shows people who are on the fence about whether they should attend your festival that you care about your audience’s safety.
At the same time, you’ll want to have a comprehensive ticket return or exchange policy. Money is tight for everyone right now, and some people may not want to pull the trigger on buying tickets if you have a strict no refund policy in case something comes up. Giving fans a bit of leeway after everything they’ve been through over the past couple of years will go a long way.
Do: Use Your Headliners
The number one reason people attend festivals is the headliners, so use them to your advantage.
Over half of hardcore festies learn about a festival from an artist playing at the festival. So one of the easiest ways how to promote a music festival in 2022 is to enlist the artist as a fan recruiter.
Now that social media platforms have made it easier than ever to collaborate on posts and share content, you can promote your festival by getting the artist to share the information with their fans. Their fans will be excited by the prospect of seeing an artist they love and want to learn more about your festival.
If you’re still unsure how to establish the target demographic for a given festival, profiling your headliners’ fans is an excellent place to start. Getting a better idea of who their fans are will provide you with more clarity on who you should be promoting your festival to.
Don’t: Only Cater to Locals
When you’re deciding how to promote a music festival, don’t simply stick to marketing to the locals. Over half of hardcore festies and 34% of casual festies have traveled outside their state or province to attend a festival. For the right lineup, the miles don’t matter.
Besides having the right acts playing your festival, you want to sell the experience as a whole to the out-of-towners. If you sell your event as an experience that is a vacation in and of itself, more people will be willing to travel a greater distance.
As you promote your festival to people who would have to take a road trip or a plane to attend, talk about other things to do in the area, see if you can offer hotel packages, and demonstrate why the trip would be worth their time and money.
Do: Upgrade Your System
It’s 2022. If you’re still using a spreadsheet or notepad to map out how to promote a music festival, it’s time for an upgrade.
With the right event management software, you can make promoting your music festivals a breeze. You can get a system that has everything you need in one place, from calendar management to real-time analytics.
You’ll be able to finalize your epic lineup faster with a solution that enables you to generate and send out offers quickly. You’ll be able to stick to your marketing budget with real-time expense and financial tracking to keep more money in your bank account at the end of the day.
As you move forward and promote more festivals, your software can offer historical and forecasted insights to finetune your future strategies. You’ll be able to accomplish more while doing less, meaning you’ll get to spend more time doing the fun things surrounding music promotion. Everybody wins.
Get the Software that Works Smarter, Not Harder
To recap on how to promote a music festival in 2022:
- Ignore COVID
- Only cater to the locals
- Know your audience
- Use your headliners
- Upgrade your system
Prism is the only live music event management software that simplifies the nitty-gritty of music festival promotion so you can focus on selling out your phenomenal event. Our solution combines calendar management, venue communication, financials, and analytics into a single platform to make it easy to find what you need, whenever or wherever you need it.
Sound like something you could use? Get started with Prism today.