To Sponsor or Not to Sponsor: That is the Question.

Currently, one of the biggest trends in music is the presence of music festivals. These festivals host a number of bands from all different genres, pulling large audiences of varied consumers in to enjoy the shows. Festivals are generally a couple of days long and promote a laid-back lifestyle complete with camping tents and hammocks. We can thank Woodstock for this specified musical platform. However, is it also a platform for something else? In recent years, music festivals have also hosted a number of sponsors, who market their brands by simply surrounding festival goers with advertisements and products.

But what is the benefit for companies that sponsor these events? Since companies spend time and money to become an integral part of the festival atmosphere there must be some sort of profitable gain. The major draw for companies is the audience. Generally speaking, attendees are in their late teens to late 20’s. This generational demographic, once targeted, are often very loyal consumers to their favorite brands. Companies hope to capitalize on this while festival-goers are having a good time, enjoying the music, and are open-minded. This audience is also very important because they have a larger disposable income than most. The ability to spend upwards of $400 for a two day music festival, says to companies that this demographic is, for the most part, either affluent or avid consumers.

However, there is also a downside to being a sponsor at one of these events. Companies have to be very aware that if the audience does not perceive their product as one that coincides with the overall experience and atmosphere of the festival then they will either be completely ignored or considered an annoyance. For instance, a brewing company will do a lot better and be viewed much more positively than a law firm or insurance agency. In order to be successful as a sponsor you have to ensure that your product will enhance the mood, environment and fit the audience profile.

One of the best examples of sponsorships working harmoniously with the specific nature of music festivals is Firefly, which was held for the first time this summer in Delaware.  Firefly made all of their vendors and sponsors local companies who brought a higher class of food and drink to the campsites. Instead of bombarding attendees with big named company sponsors Firefly chose to keep the music festival experience more authentic. Dogfish Head, their beer sponsor, even unveiled a new brew named the “Firefly Brew.” The event also had a TOMS Shoes tent, where you could purchase a pair of canvas slip-ons to be painted on-site by a local artist.

Firefly was successful because they accompanied their musical line-ups with relevant sponsors, which in the end created a newer, more evolved and authentic version of a music festival experience.

Lauren HabigHannah EureErin KiffmeyerAlly WaltonGene Lee

7 thoughts on “To Sponsor or Not to Sponsor: That is the Question.

  1. I believe that to sponsor a product at a music festival is a good idea. Most of the people that are at these activities are either teenagers or in their twenties. I believe Firefly did a good job because they used relevant sponsors that the crowd was actually into. To be a success, you must attract your audience with things they are interested in!

  2. I think that brands should utilize the hype of music festivals and become sponsors. Although many festival goers are loyal consumers to particular brands, it is true that with festivals comes open-mindedness and a sense of experimentation. The Firefly festival was unique in that it used more un-heard of sponsors, and a lot of young folk like the idea of being a part of something other than the main stream. Toms became a hit because of it’s message that by purchasing a pair of canvas shoes, you’re contributing to society and those in need. If more brands attached a service to their brand, they might find more success. I do think that sponsorships at festivals will succeed, especially with a crowd that is in to “experimenting”.

  3. It is always important to know your audience and the people of the Firefly music festival did better than some of the music festivals I’ve been to. Although I didn’t go to the Firefly music festival, the idea to have a TOMS Shoes tent is brilliant. They are very popular shoes for the same demographic that would be attending the festival and to have the chance to get an artist to paint them is awesome. I like when festivals have a lot of venders who are local businesses because it is important to help local and small businesses thrive.

  4. I love the approach Firefly Festival took with the all authentic partnered sponsors. Incorporating TOMS and local artists was an innovative idea. It seems the festival surpassed the experience as a whole with the sponsors and music mix. I would be interested to know if it was beneficial from the sponsors standpoint, because they may not be that well known yet. So if the cost and energy to be co-partnered with Firefly was worth the new customers and existing customers outcome. It really does seem there is a music festival for all genres, at different times of the year, all over the states. The progression shall be interesting to watch.

  5. I feel like as long as a festival has sponsors that can somehow relate back to the type of music that will be present than the festival goers can find a way to relate themselves to their products, hopefully producing a successful outcome and profit for the attending sponsors. I just wouldn’t really seem to make sense to have random sponsors they just happen to run across one day at their festival if there is no way for the attendees to relate to the product.

  6. Although I have never been to a musical festival, I believe they could by a great place for businesses to advertise. I think as long as the advertisements are relevant and don’t hinder bad vibes for the fest-goers, it’s a good way to get local businesses name out to consumers who may have never heard of them. Also, without sponsorships from various businesses, big name bands may not even attend these low-key festivals.

  7. Companies sponsoring Music festivals have more specific interests and have to carry out different tasks than just any normal promotional event. Because this event (the music festival) is not focused on the sponsor themselves and the music instead; their job is vital, it is to only enhance the mood. I like how you pointed out how at music festival a brewing company is going to be more popular, efficient, and successful because they are accommodating the festival-goers opposed to a law-firm company. Although these very same festival-goers may just as likely need a lawyer at the same time; the people’s attention is only on the music. The only thing important to them at this time, are the commodities provided enhancing their experience. This topic is interesting to me because it is entirely true out of all the music festival experiences or even concerts that I have experienced; if the company sponsoring the event did not provide a nice cold beverage, or mouth watering munchies, then the product and company was more likely to be completely ignored.

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