“Engagement” is a popular buzzword being bandied about our business, and with good reason. Connecting with the fans at your festivals is imperative to future success. Especially in these days of short attention spans, and the demand for convenience and instant gratification. Truth is, in America, most new music festivals fail after their first year, not only because of the stiff competition, but also because something’s just missing: the connection.

The successful festivals, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz Fest have tapped into this great, missing ingredient and are engaging fans in new, interesting, and innovative ways. While you may feel you’re already making that connection with your crowd, there are some dynamic new ways to make the festival goer experience at your event even better. The key is to always be finding ways to engage your audience, and enhance their experiences. 

Pre-event engagement is more than adverts and promotional imagery. It’s about building memorable experiences and catering to your crowd’s wants and needs. Use your mobile app (I sincerely hope you have one) and create a custom “radio” station featuring the bands playing at your festivals. A win/win for both exposing artists to new fans, and giving your artists a new platform to share their music.

Have you considered cashless payments? RFID wristbands can be sold ahead of time, during the ticketing purchase, and gives you and your fans the best of both worlds. For festival goers this means no need to carry a wallet or cash, and best of all, shorter queues. You can accommodate fans further, with pay-as-you-go plans during set-up. For organisers, this means instant sales reporting, more control over revenue and an accurate way to transact at your events. Look into it.

On-site, consider utilising iBeacon technology. If you’re unfamiliar, think of it as the ability to push any type of content to a fan’s mobile device via an app based on their exact physical location. This could be a discount for a beer, a scavenger hunt notification, a band’s set list, or an offer to upgrade to VIP tickets. Very exciting technology. 

This is just a start, there’s always more coming down the line, and new ways to reach fans are always being developed. By better engaging your fans, you’ll be on the road to building an enduring, popular festival.

By Scot Richardson, general manager, Crowdtorch by Cvent