Festivals on Socials
Story by Jillian Gronnerud
Maybe you are a seasoned festival veteran who witnessed the Tupac hologram at Coachella in 2012, or maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to attend a debut live music event and permanently rid yourself of festival FOMO (fear of missing out). Regardless of where you sit on this spectrum, it is worth taking a post-Fyre Festival look at the way social media is influencing young people to spend their most valuable resources – time and money – this festival season.
It is nothing new to say that social media and music play pivotal roles in shaping the millennial identity, but when these two industries collide, we encounter a live music experience that is becoming entirely unique to younger generations. For a shocking number of millennials – a whopping 66 percent of U.S. twenty-somethings, according to Billboard – the beginning of spring also means the beginning of festival season.
An increasing number of young people are attending live music events each year and event organizers, sponsors and vendors are relying more and more on social media figures as the engines driving a profitable and memorable festival season.
Event management companies work with corporate sponsors who, in turn, will often work with social media influencers to market the event and their products to their followers in a unique way. Festivals and their sponsors first seek out influencers with a large following who match the aesthetics of their event. Influencers can promote clothing brands, technology, accessories and pretty much anything else while also generating publicity for the actual festival. The social media stars themselves generate a kind of brand loyalty that could inspire festival-goers to choose one event over another. Essentially, social media allows users to both absorb and create the kind of spaces or experience they want. People choose which festivals they want to spend their time and money on partially based on influencers and social media stars they already follow and interact with.
Social media stars promoting these huge events are being paid to attend, which is a luxury most young people literally cannot afford. The popularity of music festivals has created a market that is heavily saturated, with hundreds of events each year – approximately 110 in the U.S. alone, according to Fest Forums – increasing the amount of consumer choice. Even though prices for big destination festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella continue to increase, potential festival-goers can relax and remember that the number of shows to choose from is greater than ever. Finding an event that fits your taste and your budget may be way less difficult – and way more fun – than you might think.
Looking for smaller, local shows might require hopping off Instagram for a few hours to avoid the usual flood of festival posts, but it can be seriously worth it. Smaller festivals and one-day events still offer the chance to see a ton of great artists at no shortage of interesting venues and more intimate shows offer an entirely different experience that is far less likely to break your bank.
Those who are interested can find an incredibly extensive list of upcoming festivals and music events happening across the globe, which is updated regularly, in the events section of Pitchfork Magazine. Music publications, travel blogs and lifestyle publications are abundant and diverse, making them great places to begin the search for small festivals and events.
This festival season, don’t be afraid to ditch the status quo and think outside the (Instagram) box when it comes to finding your next memorable music experience.