The Event Production 2023 main stage conference saw a panel of young promoters and marketing professionals discuss how the event industry can better engage with, and excite, a Generation Z audience.

The panel featured S&C Productions head of partnerships Chris Jammer, Mustard Media strategy director Sian Bennett, Metropolis Music live music promoter Alexandra Ampofo and former Festival Republic head of marketing Jack Walsh.

Asked whether there is still a strong appetite for purchasing tickets for live events post-Covid, Bennett said young people are spending money on “fewer but bigger experiences”.

She said the concept of ‘mimetic desire’ is important in engaging young people in events, particularly on platforms such as TikTok. “If you could bottle up one secret to selling out a festival or event it would be nailing the idea that everyone wants to go to that show. Gen Z people really value other people’s opinions and reviews.”

Bennett also raised the significance of “perfection fatigue” on social media; the idea that lo-fi videos and  content that appears “handmade and human” often outperforms studio-shot content.

Walsh said, “The irony is, these days, we’re seeing bigger pickup on the content that took 10 seconds to make and cost nothing, as opposed to a £15,000 edit.”

In agreement, Jammer said, “It used to be our pride and joy to make those after-movies and spend massive budgets on them, but over the years that’s faded away.”

He announced that Strawberries & Creem festival in Cambridge will take a year off ahead of celebrating the event’s 10th anniversary with a “scaled-up version” at a new site closer to London.

Jammer, who also runs Cambridge Club festival which is targeted at an older demographic, said his approach to both events differs: “Younger festival goers gearing towards community platforms, including Discord and WhatsApp Communities.

“There’s going to be an upcoming trend of working with superfans in your space and getting them to create that content in lo-fi form.”

Walsh added, “This brave new world is very freeing, where up-and-coming challenger brands can be competing with the biggest brands, because the barriers to entry are lower.”

Walsh said Reading & Leeds Festival working with Music Declares Emergency to promote its sustainability campaign, ‘No Music on a Dead Planet‘ was an effective way of keeping young people engaged, particularly by working with big name artists.

Bennett, who claimed that 40% of Gen Z people are using TikTok over Google for search results, said ‘instant gratification’ is key with younger audiences: “You need to be so instant with them. I don’t think they’ve even got the patience to write an email subject line. The fact you can go straight to them on WhatsApp, you can sell a lot of tickets by doing that.

“I need to get to the point quickly, and I need to be really visual in the way I’m trying to get something across.”

Ampofo said, “When we look at our data, short and relatable is performing way higher than our long emails and mailing lists. It’s trial and error, but but we’re seeing a change in consumer trends.

“Your customer service has to be on point and move with the times in order to convert people into ticket buyers.”