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