Well that´s easy for us: because a lot of Best Nights are happening on festival grounds and we are passionate about creating more and better Best Nights. Maximilian and I went to ten diverse Music Festivals across different genres, sizes and geographies this summer to find new trends and to observe how our portfolio company https://woov.com/ is creating special moments.
Besides a lot of fun we also found four trends that all of them shared despite their differences. At the same time we found four trends that are moving in opposite directions for the different kind of festivals and that ultimately allow for a clustering in three main categories, as we call them:
- Festivals for which the acts (or historic track record of acts) still function as the main booking driver
- Festivals for which the overall experience acts as the main booking driver
- Festivals adopting more features from cluster 2 to transform from a music to an experiential festival (“Mixed”)
4 overaching trends
Outfield outpaces Infield
This is not new but it definitely feels accelerated: we have met young guests that snuck in the trunk on the festival campground just to stay there for four days, or other guests that have not seen the main stage even once during a whole week.
Sustainability not given at bottom-line
Although we have seen great micro-measures with regard to sustainability and responsibility like collecting food left-overs and tents for the homeless or personal portable ash trays to leave no cigarette buds behind, the overall results of every festival we went to were full containers of trash – mostly filled with cheap and new outfits and camping gear, apparently only bought to used once.
Political stage not hidden anymore
We have seen political messages that are calling for action – not only on all stages and all acts but also at a lot of other places throughout the festival ground.
Legal drugs less of a festival essential
A lot of consumers we have talked to or visitors around us did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes as they were either budgeting along the multiple festivals per season or looking for a different functionality for these occasions that the legal drugs did not provide for them.
4 opposing trends
Group individualism vs. collectivism
While the traditional music festivals were focusing a lot on groups of friends in & outfield, we have seen more of an open culture and a higher number of individual guests at the experiential festivals.
Consumer vs. contributor culture
Influenced by “Burning Man” principles, we have seen that a lot of emerging festivals allow (or request) contribution of the visitors to make the festival work while traditionally people were only responsible for their fun (& safety).
Weakening positioning for broader audience vs. enforcing positioning for keeping myth
While a lot of traditionally genre-focused festivals are opening up their music selection to tailor to new target groups or older festival-loyalists, we see the opposite movement on all experiential festivals, where principles are more rigidly enforced to keep the vulnerable myth of the festival.
Style: Fitting-in vs. self-expression
While a somehow uniform style (like band shirts or white sneakers with light blue jeans) is shaping more traditional festivals, we see a strong urge for self-expression and more awareness of ones own outfit at emerging festivals (even though that can also look quite uniform).