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Attracting Younger People to Attend their first Music Festival.

Andy Robertson

Music festivals have been around for many years, and it is not unusual for teenagers to view attendance at a festival as some kind of rite of passage. With music festivals likely to be facing an aging festival-goer demographic the industry is taking steps to encourage younger people to attend their first festival. What can organisers do the encourage more first time festival-goers.

Various initiatives exist around the world that encourage the younger generation to attend their first music festival organised by government or industry bodies. European countries such as Germany, France and Italy issue vouchers from their governments to those turning 18 with a value of between €200 and €500 to be spent on cultural events and activities. In the UK the AIF (Association of independent Festivals) recently ran a similar scheme for those who were denied opportunities to attend festivals during the pandemic along with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Their ‘First Festival Campaign’ was targeted at anyone in the UK who turned 18 between 1st September 2019 and 31st August 2023, those eligible were able to buy a ticket for their chosen festival for just £18. What initiatives can festival entities run to encourage more first time visitors from younger generations.

Student and Youth Discounts.
Creating a student or youth discount scheme can generate ticket sales from potentially new customers and is a great way of generating attendance from this key demographic. Ticket buyers will have to provide evidence of their age or student status to qualify for any such discount. Festival organisers can also target colleges and universities with these offers on an exclusive time limited basis to generate interest.

Issues that Attract Younger Audiences.
It is essential for organisers to understand that younger generations have different priorities and concerns when deciding to attend or not attend a music festival. Media coverage is driving an interest in sustainability and emphasising an event's sustainability credentials can help to reassure them that a festival is eco-friendly and socially responsible. Safety is also a key factor that is considered, especially after adverse coverage in the media in recent years. Organisers should clearly communicate what measures they have taken to ensure the comfort and safety of all festival-goers.

Youth Focused Activities.
Creating activities and themes that appeal to younger generations will make a festival more attractive to attend. Thorough research on what's trending amongst the target demographic will help define activities for consideration. This could include workshops, dance-offs, art installations and interactive experiences utilising the latest technology. The festival site can incorporate designated photo opportunity locations that make it more social media friendly. When curating the artist line-up organisers should have a thorough understanding of the performance artists popular with younger audiences as this may substantially differ from the traditional line-up used on previous events.

Social Media Channels.
The use of social media channels is essential in reaching a younger demographic as this audience rarely accesses traditional media. Channels like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are currently their preferred platforms so any advertising campaigns targeted to young first time potential festival-goers should utilise these channels. Partnering with relevant influencers can also help to support these targeted campaigns and make them more effective. 

How festival organisers plan to attract younger first-time festival-goers will depend on the emphasis that they want to give to any initiatives. Obviously prevailing local rules and regulations will limit the age groups that can be targeted with European countries considering the over 18s as adults but in the United States this age could be between 18 and 21 depending on the state. Investing in getting the younger generation to attend their first music festival will ensure that the industry is creating future festival-goers and ultimately contributing to their long-term survival.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by katicaj via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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