Music Festivals Offer Unique Marketing Opportunity

image from www.2camels.comHow to get part of that crowd to join your team.

This guest post comes from Scott Perry. With his great free email newsletter and web site, the New Music Tipsheet keeps the industry informed of new releases as well as commenting on trends and sharing industry news.

While all you managers (and artists) out there are fielding offers for next year's festivals, start thinking NOW about what you can do to maximize your outreach to these massive audiences.

One of the biggest problems for every act is building your base from 0-5000. And it used to be, you'd be all alone (or have to spend an arm & a leg) to build a following.

But think about this -- a festival isn't just another gig, it's a marketing opportunity, a huge vehicle you can use to build your following. As festival season approaches, get your strategy together to figure out how to get part of that crowd to join your team. Used to be, if you're slated on the small tent at noon, you were screwed, but at least you were happy to be invited to the party. These days, there's no reason for  attendees to miss you if they didn't catch your official performance.

Pull a few pages out of the Phish playbook

Check with the promoter to see what is & is not allowed, but tap into that crowd to make them aware of you, to sign up to your email list, your Facebook fan page, your Twitter feed. Offer content for the festival's site, leading up to the event – videos, live chats, contest goodies, which all help get your name out there.

Give up a pair of your tickets as a prize to encourage folks to retweet you. Tweet your fans to meet you the night before at a hotel barbecue. Have an onsite scavenger hunt – put your posse next to the lemon icee stand at noon, next to the corn dog stand at 2pm, next to the churro cart at 4pm for fans to pick up some kind of band goodies.

Hell, managers and promoters should work together to shake things up this festival season, pull a few pages out of the Phish playbook and really surprise fans with cool treats above and beyond the scheduled chaos -- host an impromptu acoustic set in the parking lot for kids waiting to get onto the grounds. Have bigger acts do a surprise set on the tiny tent at noon just to freak people out. Wake up campers in the middle of the night by playing from the back of a golf cart. Twitter all this stuff however you can –- that is, if you can even get any reception on the grounds (promoters -- pleeeease work with your cell providers to boost reception!).

Allow yourself to be YouTubed / Flickr'd / tagged walking around the grounds passing out tamales in a bear suit.

Baby bands, you have no followers. You've been invited to play a venue that fits 50,000 people a day. If you're staying backstage all day drinking beers with your pals, you're missing out on a huge opportunity.

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