What Coachella Wants, Coachella Gets

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Published on May 16, 2018, at 9:05 a.m.
by Alana Doyle.

On Jan. 5, 2018, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was completely sold out, three months before the weekend-long events on April 13-April 15 and April 20-April 22, 2018. With a maximum capacity of 125,000 people per weekend, Coachella is one of the largest music festivals in existence and manages to attract people from around the world to celebrate the arts. Headlining this year’s festival were Eminem, The Weeknd and Beyoncé.

In 1999, Goldenvoice, an entertainment company, developed the festival in the Coachella Valley in southern California. Originally, one-day tickets were sold for $50, and the company barely made any profit for the first few years. In comparison, tickets for the event are currently sold for roughly $500, changing year to year. Despite the lack of publicity and attendance initially, the festival still had popular acts. Coachella’s first year had Beck and Rage Against the Machine as headliners.

How did Coachella become a staple for indie fashion styles and artists? What influence did public relations efforts play in the growth of the festival? How can PR practitioners learn from the success of the event? What did Coachella publicists do right?

Established a brand.
Even without locations or a description attached, posts about Coachella are quickly and easily defined. Palm trees in the distance, a ferris wheel, brightly colored walls, stages surrounded in high-definition screens … these elements are all aspects of the festival’s brand. Recent fashion styles, like the “flower crown,” were staples for the event. Once Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival drew attention and made a name for itself, fans aided in the development and reach of the brand.

Over the last few years, several companies have turned to Coachella as a channel to reach influencers. By providing free samples or items to festival attendees, a company will have its products seen by hundreds of thousands of people in person and on social media. Coachella is well-known for its emphasis on fashion, which has been a beneficial opportunity for a variety of companies and organizations.

Defined the audience.
Attending a weekend-long music festival has become a societal norm for the millennial generation. A flood of trend-setting young audiences fill the crowd at Coachella year after year. Different from other notorious music festivals, Coachella aims to reach a wide variety of people by incorporating not only electronic dance music, but also rap, rock and other popular genres of music. Thanks to the consumers’ role in building the festival’s brand, Coachella fans are loyal to the festival and look forward to the world-famous event.

Photo by http://www.bassnectar.net/family-photos/ via wikipedia.com

Incorporated digital marketing strategies.
In order to effectively reach the target audience, the use of social media marketing is vital. Coachella drops the lineup of performers online, and from there, fans share and spread the word with other users on a wide variety of platforms. Not only does this help with publicity, but it also encourages interested parties to purchase tickets and ultimately impacts the festival’s bottom line.

Booked notorious performances.
Coachella proves it’s all about who you know … or who you book. Coachella 2018 was headlined by one of the most popular artists in history, Beyoncé. Alongside top-of-the-line performers come A-List celebrities in attendance at the event. Thanks to social media, Gen Z and millennial audiences are able to virtually experience the festival through the lens of their favorite influencer or celebrity, which encourages them to attend Coachella the following year.

In order to generate multimillions of dollars in sales revenue, public relations efforts must be incorporated into strategic planning for music and arts festivals. When analyzing the success of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the audience-to-brand connection and digital influencer marketing are key.

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