Festival Season: Coachella lessons

Would it be fair to say that Coachella kicks off the festival season?! As the second-most- in-demand concert ticket, it is one of the largest music festivals of the year,  setting the tone to its’ cult following. But why are we interested in it, besides the obvious allure of musical acts, art installations and celebrities? There are three elements that stand out above the rest. We see these elements already trending among our clients, and are sure others will stand up and take note.

First, webcasting. This year Coachella pulled in remote viewers to the stages and tents on the polo fields in Indio Valley for two, three-day weekends. Both weekends were full of pre-taped interviews as well as live-streamed musical acts. Viewers could choose from multiple stages each day, and watch (as I did) for hours from the comfort of their own home or viewing party. While, you may miss out on the full, bare-foot-sun-kissed experience, it boosted “attendance” and buy- in tremendously.

There is a significant trend this year in webcasting, and we find ourselves pushing content to remote viewers several times a month. While personalized, audience engagement is important, it can be unrealistic for companies spread nationwide.

Second, the camera work. The amount of cameras, quality of equipment, artistic shots, and directing of all sources together make this a fantastic show to watch remotely.  If you want the real camera operator perspective, select the ALT J or Hot Natured options and you will be able to choose which camera you watch from. One video view proves talent, experience and equipment are crucial to quality production.

Lastly, production dollars. Imagine a venue that is a blank polo field in a desert coming to life with stages, tents, art, pop-up restaurants, and even a ferris wheel. This production takes a significant amount of dinero to pull off, but with big rewards, it grossed a record-breaking $78.3 million last year. Not only does the extra money towards production create a greater attendee experience, but I have to believe those attendees spend more, talk more, share more and push this event to the next level the next year. This year, general admission tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes. While items such as stage washes, switchers, lighting, etc. may seem like a place that is “fluffy” in the budget, it ultimately impacts the entire experience and not in a positive way.  It is a great example of how an investment on the front end can make a large impact on your return.

Other lessons to take note of: videos, stage design, LED technology, quality sound…. I could go on.

(Thank you to Coachella, and all of the production staff and artists involved, for the inspiration.)

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