Wanna Know The Ins and Outs of Music Festival Marketing? Start Here!

Marketing a Music Festival Can Be Quite the Daunting Task. Use This Guide As a Starting Point.

A crowd of people waving their arms in the air before a band playing on stage. Someone prominently displays a heart sign above their head.

Music festivals are one of the most exciting events one can attend. The lights, the crowd, the stage, the acts — all these elements coalesce into some of the most electric experiences. 

However, just cause you’re hosting a festival doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have people lining up to buy tickets. You still need to get the word out, just like any other event. Let everyone know the where, when, who, and what of your festival. To that end, music festival marketing is a key part to organizing a festival that will be remembered for years to come. 

So where do you start? Well, right here of course! In this article, I’ll give you the rundown on music festival marketing. By the end, you’ll be one step closer to hosting the festival of your dreams. 

Here are the topics we’ll be covering:

  • How to represent your music festival
  • Social media marketing
  • Your festival’s website
  • On the ground marketing
  • Merch

How to Represent Your Music Festival

Large crowd cheering in front of a bright stage on a dark night. Confetti flies overhead.
What’s the vibe of your festival? Dark and loud? Bright and poppy? Show it in your promo material!

Before you create any marketing material, you must first know how to position your festival in the eyes of the public. To do this, you need to be able to answer these questions:

  • What makes your music festival special? 
  • Who is the primary target audience for your festival?
  • Why would someone want to attend your festival?

To help answer these questions, you might look at other festivals and see how yours compares to them. And you should research what demographics most consume the types of music in your festival. All this research will benefit your upcoming festival and any future events you might want to organize.

Once you answer these questions, you can begin designing your festival’s marketing material. This material, posters, emails, social media posts, and the like should all include logistical details such as the location, date, ticket price, and where to get tickets. 

Your festival marketing should also adhere to a common theme that matches your event. If your festival primarily features artists of a particular genre, such as rap, then that should clearly come through in your marketing material. Accurately representing the content festival’s content is in your and your attendees’ best interest. 

Marketing Your Festival: Social Media

With how ubiquitous social media has become in our daily lives, it’s no surprise that the various platforms are a great way to spread the word about your festival. Social media posts allow you to inject a lot of personality and charm that might be lost in other forms of marketing. And it’s the easiest method to quickly hear what people are saying about your event.

Whether you make the posts yourself or hire a social media manager, you’ll want to endear yourself, and by extension your event, to your audience. Don’t just post a picture of the artist lineup, include a caption that shows off your own excitement. Interact with your audience in the comments. If you're lucky, much of the marketing will be done for you as people interested in your festival share your posts within their circle.

You can also enlist the help of social media influencers. Someone with a large following can give your event a great boost in visibility. But don’t just pick anyone. Try to find someone who has an interest in your festival’s niche. That will result in a much more genuine endorsement when it comes time to present your event to their followers.

Remember to keep in contact with your lineup of artists over social media. They can be another great resource for marketing that can be mutually beneficial. You could organize interviews with them where you talk about some of the music they’re going to perform. Or you could post clips from other festivals they’ve done on your social media.

Marketing Your Festival: Website

Coachella website. Dates for April ticket sales in the middle of the page. Palm tree on the left, ferris wheel on the right. “Coachella” in the top left corner.
Your website could be a potential attendee’s first impression of your event. Make it a good one! Image courtesy of Coachella.

You probably won’t be able to cram all the information about your festival into a poster or social media post. Your website should be the hub where ALL the information about your music festival lives. This includes vendors, dress code, emergency information, the merch store, and more. Perhaps most importantly, this is where attendees will buy their tickets. 

Your website should follow a theme in line with the rest of your festival’s marketing material. And it should be easy to navigate. It may be difficult to do all this from scratch, so make use of website creation software such as Squarespace and Wix if you need it. Or hire a website designer if you have the extra funds.

Make sure your website is easy to find. Include links to it on all your social media pages and email communications. For your on the ground marketing, you can include a QR code on any poster or pamphlet you hand out. 

Marketing Your Festival: On the Ground

A graffitied wall with a number of posters promoting tattoos, concerts, classes, and other events.
Posters, flyers, and pamphlets are a great way to get the local community involved with your music festival.

Just because we live in a digital age doesn’t mean we should forsake local marketing. Putting up posters and handing out flyers can be a great way to generate hype for your music festival among locals. And don’t forget, your advertising doesn’t just have to be for attendees. You can gear some of your marketing materials towards local volunteers and sponsors, helping hands that can be integral to your festival’s success. 

You shouldn’t just go around passing out flyers aimlessly though. Scout out some spots where a lot of people congregate, especially those that your target audience hangs out in. University campuses, city centers, popular restaurants and shops, these are all great places to spread the word. 

Besides physical media, according to Bloomerang, appearances on local radio stations or news channels is another form of on the ground marketing that could be useful to you. Although, depending on your target demographic, they may be more or less likely to tune into these outlets. 

Marketing Your Festival: Merch

Two people, framed in neon blue led lights, wear shirts with a matching design. 
Make your merch a statement that gets people interested in your festival.

Compared to the other marketing methods, merchandise is unique in that it is an advertisement that you can sell. Every t-shirt or hat you sell is another walking billboard for your festival going out into the world. 

It can be difficult to sell merch for a festival that is new or lacks notoriety, so it’s imperative that you make your merch enticing even for those who know nothing about your event. Consult artists and designers as you're creating your merch. Make sure your merch lines up with the theme of your festival and stands out compared to merch of other festivals. 

While selling your merch is ideal, sometimes giving it away can be of bigger benefit to your festival. Hosting merch giveaways on your social media pages can be a great way to get people excited about your festival. 

You should utilize all the marketing methods outlined in this article to advertise your merch. It’s especially important that buying merch on your website is easy for visitors. However, much of your merchandise will likely be sold during the festival itself. In that case, it can still be useful if you plan on making your festival a regular thing. Almost like an investment in your future festival’s marketing.

Now Tell the World About Your Music Festival

And with that, we’ve reached the end of our guide. I hope you learned something about some of the avenues one can take when marketing their music festival. Social media, websites, on the ground campaigns, and merch are just a few of the best options available. 

Comment down below any tips and tricks we may have missed. Or tell us about how you marketed a festival you’ve hosted!

Nathan Eke

Nathan Eke is a professional writer based in Pittsburgh.
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