Festivals & Brands: How to Successfully Collaborate to Build Meaningful Experiences

Millions of people around the world travel to attend music festivals each year. Music festivals excite fans with the promise of showcasing all their favorite artists over one day or over a weekend. Top festivals can draw huge crowds; for example, the California-based festival Coachella which attracted over 750,000 attendees in 2022. Large music festivals like Coachella are known for drawing show-stopping, flashy costumes, decorations and performances as festivals aim to return bigger and better each year. 

Artists aren’t the only ones hoping to make a splash at festivals. Brands have identified music festivals as prime opportunities for marketing activations. Since music festivals are a hotspot for influencers, and the events are highly shared across social media platforms, brands see music festivals as a prime opportunity to capture attention for their products. 

Why should brands activate at festivals? 

Festivals offer numerous opportunities for brand marketing. 

  1. Large attendance – Music festivals can draw thousands of attendees who are excited to have fun and be entertained. Having a large attendance means more people for brands to engage through in-person activations at the event. 
  2. Celebrities and influencers – Celebrities and influencers are a staple at any music festival. They dominate the online festival space by posting outfit changes, concert footage and curated content from brand activations. Many influential figures are hosted by brands who pay for their tickets and sponsor the trip in exchange for content. Activating at an event with a significant influencer presence increases the likelihood for influencers to post about your brand online, reaching their extensive audiences. 
  3. Social media coverage – At every music festival, social media is flooded with content from concertgoers and influencers. By hosting a brand activation at Coachella, brands are more likely to receive increased online coverage due the event’s extensive social media footprint.

What to consider for music festival activations

Online and offline, brands can create exciting activations and campaigns at music festivals. The goal of marketing at events is to generate attention for products and create brand awareness. It’s essential to consider how to maximize an activation’s potential for the greatest possible reach and effectiveness. 

  1. Relevance to the festival and brand – Creating an activation that addresses attendees’ needs and wants is the best way to ensure success. By developing an activation that is both relevant to the festival and true to the brand’s product offerings, brands can leave a positive impression on attendees. 
  2. Integrate digital – At Coachella 2022, Absolut Vodka hosted an in person festival experience complimented by a similar metaverse experience for remote attendees. The rise of remote participation technologies means that merging physical and digital experiences can extend the reach of potential activations. 
  3. How “Instagrammable” is the activation? – In order to persuade attendees to post content of the activation, it must be “Instagrammable.” By making the activation visually appealing and highly interactive, attendees will be likely to want to share across their social media platforms. 
  4. Offer a giveaway – Giving something away, such as a product or swag, is a great way to attract concertgoers to an activation. The audience will then go home with a souvenir that reminds them of your brand keeping you at top of mind. 

Example: Garage at Osheaga 2022


Garage is a fashion brand targeting young women. Osheaga is a popular Montreal-based music festival that attracts a trendy Gen Z crowd, making it the perfect opportunity for Garage to create an impact on this demographic. In 2022, Garage partnered with Osheaga and launched an extensive campaign centered around Osheaga with multiple components. Most notably, Garage hosted an on-site activation called the Garage Glow Up Bar. Since fashion and makeup are vital to complete festival looks, Garage capitalized on this by creating a space for concertgoers to stop by throughout the day for touch ups. Attendees could even add gems and temporary tattoos to their look, applied by Garage’s team. The Garage Glow Up Bar successfully drew a crowd because it provided a valuable service to attendees for free. Additionally, Garage’s activation at Osheaga included an Instagrammable tunnel for photo ops, sponsored the Ferris Wheel, and a festival ticket giveaway contest. To create a higher social media reach, Garage also sponsored dozens of prominent influencers who then wore Garage clothing to Osheaga and posted about it on their social channels. 

Music festivals offer plenty of potential for brands looking to reach new consumers, create social media buzz, and generate increased brand awareness. Music festivals promise a high volume of attendees and easy access to social media influencers for creating content. By considering factors such as relevance to the festival, digital integration and visual appeal, brands can customize creative activations that will excite and engage the public.