Successful Music Festival Marketing

by Jun 11, 2019Strategy | Entrepreneurship, Blog, Content | Social Media | Email, Marketing

Although I’m no professional, after attending many different music festivals, it’s easy to see which music festival marketing strategies are effective and successful.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube seem tailor-made for music festivals. Now more than ever, social media serves as a place for businesses to promote products, events, and even themselves. There are endless ways to reach an audience in today’s digital world.

Many festivals engage with their audience through social media platforms, and there’s a reason why. Digital users have been coached to rely on social media for entertainment. What about the festivals that don’t heavily rely on social media to drive results? There are a few of those festivals, too.

Every festival has a marketing strategy, but there are only a select few that have a successful festival marketing strategy.


Bonnaroo is more than a festival – it’s an experience. Each year, thousands of people gather in Manchester, Tennessee for one weekend. This weekend consists of not only great music but an overall great experience.

The festival made its first appearance in 2002. Just one year later Bonnaroo made Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 50 Moments that Changed Rock and Roll. How?

Bonnaroo understands its community. The festival is unique. Attendees are drawn by the music and creative programming. They keep coming back because of the connections made with other attendees who have similar life experiences. People come from all fifty states and some even come from other countries. That’s what sets this festival apart from others.

The festival has gone from a material goods-based economy to an experience-based economy. Because of this, Bonnaroo has been able to incorporate more unique experiences into their festival. Despite Bonnaroo’s cross-genre music lineup, it’s likely that many young attendees have never been to nearby Nashville’s Grand Old Opry. In 2018, event organizers brought Opry performers to the festival. That’s unique.

Bonnaroo has been a successful festival since its beginning in 2002, but over the years, the festival has focused on its core community and their wants and needs. By doing this, the festival is able to create an incredible experience each year. Plus, the festival supports the location which creates positive relationships without outside artists or vendors.


Oh, Lollapalooza. This is a festival I can’t stop attending. It’s relatively “cheap” for a four-day festival. Plus, it’s located in Chicago which isn’t too far from home for me.

This festival must be doing something right since tickets typically sell out within hours of being released. But, what is it exactly that they’re doing?

One thing that Lolla is known for is its lineup release. Tickets go on sale before the lineup is even released! Crazy, right? How could this tactic be so successful?

By keeping the lineup a secret until tickets are sold out gives the festival the ability to create natural excitement and curiosity. Doing this prompts the fans to purchase tickets before they know who’s playing. What if their favorite artist is in the lineup? This creates a sense of urgency since fans know that Lolla tickets sell out quickly. Smart.


Tomorrowland is a global electronic music festival held in Belgium each summer. In 2017 it recorded the largest amount of social media engagement of any music festival. Ever. It generated 1.2 billion points of contact on numerous channels. So, what was their marketing strategy?

The festival hosted live-streaming videos on their website as well as their social media platforms. By doing so, their engagement grew into the billions. Tomorrowland reached audiences all across the globe by utilizing live-stream video.

But, how did the festival cater to fans that don’t have access to Facebook and Instagram? The festival hosted live streams on Tencent, a social media platform used in regions that don’t have such access. According to Digitell, 30% of fans who watch the live stream of an event attend that event in person the following year.

Whether physically or virtually, the entire world was able to experience Tomorrowland. How fun! I happened to be one of the billions that watched the live stream on their website. I can only dream of attending Tomorrowland. Maybe one day…

For those individuals that missed the live streams, the after-movie on Facebook generated huge engagement numbers as well. There are other after-movies on their YouTube channel that have earned millions of views. These after-movies are also great for encouraging attendees to return the following year since they’re given the same feel-good experience that makes them want to return.

By capturing real-time footage of the festival, an online experience was created for viewers resulting in billions of social media interactions.

Successful Strategies

There are plenty of other festivals that are building their reputation through social media and through their community. There’s no doubt though that the three festivals mentioned are doing something right. By understanding their audience and their needs, these festivals are able to connect with their attendees in ways that other festivals have never thought of.

Although music festivals and local businesses are two very different things, some of these tools can be utilized to boost your own audience and up the engagement rates.

Understand your core audience. Support local businesses. Utilize social media.

Are you looking to change your marketing strategy? Download our free Marketing Strategy Kit which includes everything you need to update your strategy.