Webinar: The Future of Festivals


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Webinar with Eventbrite, Festival Awards, Virtual Festivals and Festivals.ie on Feb 26, 2014. Recording can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdZUoz5ASJk

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  • Let’s take 3 to 5 min to introduce everyone.Bethan (our moderator) will be introducing your name, but you can say whatever you want about your experience. Please keep it short, registrants have already seen your profile on the registration page. Would be great to say something fun when you introduce yourself, like, best moment at a festival ever, or first festival you attended…
  • I want you to take a view of when you were first establishing your event:
  • Much has been made of the impact of the economic crisis on festivals over the last few years. Headlines crying ‘is this the death of festivals?’ have become much more commonplace than in 2007, when it seemed the whole world was in love with festivals. There’s no doubt that financial pressure on young people who attend festivals, and continued negative media reports about the health of the economy presents a challenge.Of the 123 promoters surveyed by Festival Awards UK last year, 21% believe that the reason for festivals finding it harder this year compared to last year is the current economic conditions. The 2013 UK Festival Census results show that 27% of people said they attended fewer festivals as a result of the state of the economy. This is up from the 20% who said that they attended fewer festivals as a result of the economic conditions in 2012’s Census. Looking back further in time, in 2010, 19% of respondents felt that they attended fewer festivals.  However, 40% of 2013’s respondents said it didn’t impact their festival plans. (46% in 2012;2010, 43%). What this indicates is that there’s still strong support for festivals and that people feel attending a festival is still a key part of their spending habits.  As the festival market matures, people are becoming more discerning about which events they attend. Higher expectations and a more cautious approach to spending compared to before the stock market crash mean people are being much more picky about what they go to.What’s interesting is that the results are broadly similar in Europe. Except for one key element – European festival-goers were more conservative with their bar spend than British festival-goers!
  • When asked how much they spend before a festival (excluding ticket), 23% said £10-£50 (31% in 2012), 33% spent £50-£100 (29% in 2012), 17% spent £100-£150 (15% in 2012) and 11% spent £150-£200 (9% in 2012).  By comparison, asked how much they spend while at a festival (Fig 4), 18% said £10-£50 (18% in 2012), 30% spent £50-£100 (28% in 2012), 19% said they spent £100-£150 (22% in 2012) and 19% spent £150-£200 (19% in 2012). Although marginal differences from year to year, the increasing amounts being spent before a festival indicate that people are certainly prepared to spend – and although it may be too early to say – it hints at returning confidence. It also suggests people are making their festival plans earlier in the year.Looking further back, the UK Festival Census 2007 showed that 19% of people spent £10-£50 at a festival, 35% spent £50-£100, 32% spent £100-£200 (2013 total: 39%). This increase in expenditure at the higher end of the scale indicates there may be other ways of growing their income without increasing ticket prices across the board. Our 2013 survey showed 10% of respondents bought VIP/premium camping facilities at a festival that year, and 90% of those who did said they would consider doing it again. While some may be feeling the pinch, there are clearly others who aren’t – and their needs can be catered for without alienating the existing customer base.Potential question for audience: What’s your experience of VIP sales?
  • Why do people go to festivals? Mostly it’s for the content. This survey focused on MUSIC festival goers. So for attendees, it’s the music – 53% of people said it that was the thing they love above all else. A further 22% go because they can “escape from normal life “ and 11% love hanging out with their friends the most. Festivals are indeed a unique experience, which combine people’s passion for music with a sense of community – something which is borne out away from the festival itself via social media. Some of the best festivals have fully engaged fans all year round, people they have conversations with and communicate with at all times of the year. It’s this opportunity to escape from normal life that is so wonderfully compelling. The escapism offered by festivals can be seen in a beguiling array of expressionism on-site. From fancy dress to silly hats, exploring new music to just sleeping in a tent, British people love throwing off their day-to-day routine and having new experiences.
  • Generally people are all very positive about their festival experiences. When asked what is the biggest downer for them at a festival, the largest proportion say nothing was bad. Following that, 16% feel the biggest frustration for them is when their favourite bands clash on the bill. Otherwise, there’s a fairly even spread (at about 6% for each factor) mixed between having to rough it without clean showers or toilets, the price of tickets, the cost of food and drink on-site, muddy conditions, overcrowding, and restrictions on what you can bring in.  In fact, when asked what home comforts they miss most at festivals, 34% say they don’t miss anything. Unsurprisingly 26% miss clean flushable toilets, while 15% say they miss their bed and 15% miss their home shower the most.Marino: Facilities are about RETENTION and ATTRACTING AWIDER AUDIENCE (maybe more attendees in their 30’s). No one goes to a festival for it’s fancy loos! But people may decide NOT to return because of bad facilities!
  • SPONSORSHIPFor many festivals, sponsorship of some shape or form is a vital income stream, although some feel it isn’t appropriate for their audience and refuse to approach brands. In the last five years there has been a marked sophistication of brand activation at events. No longer a straightforward badging exercise, festivals and companies are working together to create added-value elements that improve the overall experience. The impact of this increasing refinement is reflected in attendee attitudes towards sponsorship. In 2012, 15% of people believed that sponsorship at festivals made the overall experience more enjoyable. This year, that has leapt to 23%. The proportion of people who feel it puts them off has fallen from 9% to 6%, while those that say they don’t notice it has also dropped – from 17% to 13%. The vast majority (57%) say they accept that festivals need it, but say that it doesn’t improve their enjoyment.Marino: Instead of thanking sponsors, acknowledge what the sponsors tangibly added in terms of value “Without our sponsors, we would have had to increase our ticket price by 10%, we would not have been able to give you free water, or invite the 20 bands that played for us at this festival”SOCIAL MEDIASocial media has transformed the way promoters market their events and gain new audiences. It enables event discovery, a cheap and effective marketing tool and – crucially – a ready-made way of having a two-way dialogue with your community.
  • At Eventbrite, we are fascinated by the mechanics that drive social commerce. We track sharing behavior to help event organisers tap into a new channel of distribution. As the foundations of ecommerce are shifting due to the influence of the social graph in driving transactions, our findings apply broadly to all eCommerce. This impact is what we call “Social Commerce”= the intersection of social media activity and eCommerce – where sharing leads to tangible revenue, where a transaction can be traced back to a Facebook “Like” or a Tweet.As social networks continue to gain traction at incredible speeds, event organisers are investing heavily in building communities online, and many are grasping for ways to measure the impact of this investment.  Eventbrite’s social commerce report reveals that every time someone shares a paid event on Facebook, it drives additional revenue back to the event organizer, and additional page views of their event page. So we’ve identified two important metrics to track this social commerce behavior:Visits Per Share—the amount of additional traffic generated by each act of sharing.Dollars Per Share—the average value of the additional tickets sold through this share.
  • Note: - This data comes from our analysis of social media and ticket purchase behaviour on event registrations pages hosted on Eventbrite. - When using Eventbrite to purchase a ticket, there are two moments when an attendee can share information on the event on his social networksAt ticket discovery stage, we have 2 social media toolbars on the event registration pagePost-purchase, at this point the attendees has the opportunity to make noise about the event he committed to attending. This set of data is for ALL types of eventsin the UK.
  • This is specifically for festivals and outdoor events, using Eventbrite, in the UK. Justification of these data points: According to James, 92% of festival goers use Facebook, so the fact that a share on Facebook about a festival drives the most incremental ticket sales, is not surprising. According to James, 56.5% of festival goers use Twitter, so the fact that a tweet about a festival drives the most traffic to the event registration page, is not surprising.
  • This is specifically for festivals and outdoor events, using Eventbrite, in the UK. The impact of a Facebook post or a Tweet is not surprising. As most sharing takes place post-ticket purchase, most of these posts are – basically – about one of your friends attending and event and asking you if you want to come with!!!! It’s a very compelling message for you to go and check out the event!
  • Social media is contagious!!!People who discover an event via a social media share are 3 times more likely to share information about this event on social networks! This is for all events using Eventbrite in the UK. This data highlights the importance of making it easy for people to share information about a festival with their social networks.
  • This content has been graciously shared with us by Ben Challis, Co Founder of A Greener Festival, that awards festivals around the world who have been instrumental in improving the sustainability of events.I’ve identified 4 goals that are key focus amongst festivals trying to be greener. Composting and Water Saving:A great example of composting is the Winnipeg Folk Festival in Canada.Some of Winniped’s most commendable initiatives include the composting and plate return program, building with re-purposed materials. The plates are re-used and washed on-site and almost anything unused (which is minimised) goes into the compost bins.  These efforts extend to the festival area where composting for extra food and cutlery is located next to the plate return area (for which you get $2 back!) and beer cups are thrown in sleeves to be collected and composted. In the future the festival plans to continue to reduce their environmental impact with steps such as installing enough taps so the sales of water bottles can be discontinued.In the same spirit,the Shambala Festival, had a total ban on bottled water with a “Bring a Bottle” initiative and free filtered water powered by gravity.At Welcome to the Future in Holland, festival's 'water bars' are also a great initiative to encourage the reuse of bottles. Green Transport: The Winnipeg Folk Festivalhas been organising efficient transport to the festival: due to the 'out of town' nature of the festival, transportation is facilitated by a free and busy shuttle program on the city bus that drops you off at the front gates - and a very popular cycling program that gets you first entry to the campground.  In Holland, the audience of Welcome to the Future have adopted the cycling scheme, this cycling scheme has grown from just 300 people to over 6,000 choosing to cycle to the festival in 2013. Renewable Energy: In The UK, At the Wood Festival, created to be one of Britain’s greenest events: Everything is powered completely on renewable energy, harnessing the power of sun, wind, used chip-fat and now wind turbines!  Wood has composting loos-with-a-view and the stage is made of wood, with a cheery thatch of flowers  growing on its roof. This year Wood are reducing power consumption across the site; a number of tents were powered by mains electricity from Braziers Park, supplied by Ecotricity. At the Shambala Festival, there was the marvellous initiative from theElectric Hotel team: At their stand, attendees could recharge their mobile phones from solar, wind and human power.USA festival Bonnaroo festival also led the way by installing a new 50 kW solar array on-site that powers over 20% of the festivals electricity needs.Cleaning up the mess:Bonnaroo continues to lead the way in sustainability for music festivals: The festival established a “trade-in” contest with CleanVibes, where festival goers are challenged to trade in “stuff”, including cigarette butts, to receive points -- he/she with the most points wins tickets to Bonnaroo 2014.Discussion points: NIALL to contribute at the end with IE examples, government scheme, grant…James also will want to commentHow aware of sustainability is the UK and Irish festival audience? Do you think sustainability already plays a role in the decision about which festival to attend?
  • Mobile is not about following a “trend” it’s about improving the overall attendee experience, and selling more tickets!today we see 1/3 of traffic on Eventbrite coming from mobile devices, globally. As we develop our mobile optimized event pages, we see an increasing conversion rate from mobile devices Going mobile does not just mean being convenient, it means fitting closely to the behaviour of the consumers: the usage of mobile devices peaks at different days and times than computers usage Thursdays and Fridays are big days for mobile while Monday and Tuesday are for desktop. [CLICK]Mobile use also peaks in the evenings when web use trails off.From 5pm onwards you can see that traffic from desktops slows down drastically, whereas, traffic from mobile devises continues to be strong until 8pm or 9pm. Having a mobile enabled ticket sales page means your box office is opened 3 to 4 ours longer every day!Question to the audience: Is the event page where you sell tickets to your festival already mobile enabled?
  • Today, 15% of festival tickets are purchased from a mobile devise in the UK, on Eventbrite. This percentage turns to 1 in 3 tickets purchased from a mobile devise, when the festival has been discovered via a social media post. OK, 1 in 3 festival tickets purchased from a mobile devise… mobile has turned into a major point of sales for festival organisers!!!Discussion points and poll questions: In your understanding of the UK and Irish festival landscape, are mobile-enabled registration pages the norm? If not, are they becoming so? Are Festival organisers aware of the opportunity offered by mobile in terms of incremental ticket sales? Let’s talk scanning tickets at the door: What is the norm in the UK and Ireland? Scanners? Using a mobile device turned into a scanner? Manual ticket check-ins?Question to the audience: How does this data sound? Is it what you have experienced as a festival organiser? Do you sell between 10% and 25% of your tickets via mobile?
  • New mobile technology is changing the landscape of how onsite logistics is managed in a really big way. Mobile apps for festival organisers: When equipped with smartphones and tablets armed with barcode scanners and check-in apps, such as Eventbrite’s Entry Manager, event staff can instantly verify tickets right at the gate, allowing for shorter lines and quicker entry. Fraudulent behavior is also virtually eliminated, and real-time entry data helps gate staff make on-the-spot decisions to manage bottlenecks. Once the event is over, this information helps organizers plan ahead for next year’s crowds.Example: In the Summer of 2012, I was attending the Warp Tour, in San Francisco, a festival ticketed by Eventbrite and using our mobile technology at the door. The line of attendee was impressive to say the least! There are two cool things I noticed at the door: Kids have a tendency to cram their ticket into their pocket, making the ticket sometimes impossible to scan. This is not a problem as with Eventbrite Entry Manager, each Entry staff has access to the guest list from his smartphone and can check in someone manually… or check if they have already come in and are trying to be clever!After about an hour of attending flowing in, the police arrived and wanted to know how many attendees were in already. Because all the smartphones using the entry app are synchronized at all times, we were able to give them the exact number. Had they wanted to know if a specific person was already in, we could have also shared this information on the spot with them!Mobile apps for attendees:for instance Eventbrite app, are a great way to enable event discovery and spur-of-the-moment ticket purchases. Furthermore, attendees have all the information about the event at their fingertips (integration with Google Maps, opening and closing times…), they can be active on social media while going to the event, while at the event or after it, and it’s a lot greener not to ask attendees to print a ticket PDF!Discussion:- Niall: Even if your site offers the worst mobile experience, mobile still represents about 20% of your traffic, so mobile needs to be harnessed by festival organisers, especially as your festival is aimed at young people! You may be damaging your brand with a bad mobile experience.
  • Hybrid festivals attract bigger audiences and bring in more revenue.As niche passions and hobbies spur new types of festivals and shows, another emerging trend is to broaden an event’s appeal by adding complementary activities and attractions. Within the industry, this is called “hybridization,” and many event organisers have already caught on.Hybridization can help a festival grow its audienceFor instance, the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival casts a wider net by incorporating complementary lifestyle vendors and attractions such as craft beer, wine and spirits, exotic cars, food, and live music. Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival has grown from a local music and arts event to a three-day carnival of world-class musical acts performing alongside more eclectic offerings such as the Bumbernationals Soapbox Derby, poetry slams, and the Grand Kabuki Theater of Japan.Hybridization can grow festivals and consumer events even in a down economy. Events that include a wide range of activities offer ways for people to spend their money wisely and have a good time without traveling too far from home. With more things to see and do, attendees are more likely to come with a larger group of friends and family, stay longer, spend more, and mark their calendars for your next event.Hybridization can benefit communities and stimulate tourism. The Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, for example, has grown its annual Biketoberfest from a scenic motorcycle rally started in 1991, into a four-day celebration that involves local businesses and events. Biketoberfest includes live music, a swap meet, the “ROAR” Motorcycles for Women event, and dozens of food and drink choices offered at venues throughout the city.Hybridization can attract a broader range of sponsorsCalifornia’s Gilroy Garlic Festival boasts McDonald’s and Pepsi as major sponsors of this annual event. Along with garlic-flavored food and drinks, the festival features live music, children’s activities, a beauty pageant, and arts and crafts. The Wanderlust Festival, with seven annual events across North America, has gained sponsorship from The North Face, Smartwater, Target, and Adidas. Catering to passionate yoga enthusiasts, Wanderlust offers four days of live yoga classes in addition to musical performances, dinners, wine tastings, films, and hikes.Discussion points and poll questions: We spoke a lot about North American examples here, what festivals in the UK and Ireland or Europe can you think of that are growing via hybridisation? Niall and Chris want to give examples of Irish and UK festivals hybridisation
  • RFID Bracelets: Aside from mobile phones and tablets, “wearable” technology is the trending tool used by festival-goers. This new technology not only enhances your fan’s experience, it can also spur more spending and greater marketing awareness and allows you to better know your audience. It can also increase your event visibility when RFID is used in synchronized with the wearer’s social networks. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) built into wristbands worn by festival-goers allows for ticketless entry and cashless in-festival purchases. When synchronized with the wearer’s social networks RFID turns your participants into promoters as the bracelet performs automatic check-ins and status updates on attendees’ social networks.Example: Attendees can activate various activities at the festival, with their RFID bracelet, sending an automated up date on the wearer’s social network about the fact that he/she is participating in the festival, and in this activity in particular. The post if pre-populated by the festival organiser, and for best practice, would include a photo and a link to the festival website or registration page. Pre-Paid Smart Cards: Pre-paid smart cards carried by attendees are another new trend. These cards provide rapid entry, and can reduce lines at vendor stands, and simplify merchandise transactions. With pre-loaded funds or a linked bank account, there’s no longer a need for cash to change hands, adding in speed of transaction, safety, and immediate information to the festival organizer about what activity or purchase is most popular. Festival attendees can make in-event purchases with the tap of the smart card. Research shows that smart card bearers spend upward of 40% more when they’re not opening their purses and wallets to pay for food and merchandise.The data generated by RFID bracelets and smart cards gives festival organisers access to up-to-the-minute revenue totals and the ability to track hot-selling merchandise and top-performing vendors. This knowledge is invaluable when planning the layout and product mix for future events. It can also help identify opportunities for increased sponsorship revenues and higher-performing vendor locations. “On-person” technology also gives vendors the added benefits of cashless transactions and granular sales data, along with the opportunity to offer interested customers special offers and marketing programs.
  • Webinar: The Future of Festivals

    1. The Future of Festivals
    2. Welcome and About us James Drury Chris Swindells Niall Murtagh Marino Fresch
    3. Topics of the Day! • What do festival goers want? • Social Commerce: Sell more tickets! • Trends impacting festivals globally
    4. What Do Festival-Goers Want? 4
    5. What Do Festival-Goers Want? About the survey Preferred festival size The survey was conducted in October 2013, during the Festival Awards voting period. 15% of respondents favour festivals of 5,000 to 10,000 attendees. 12% favour festivals attended by 30,000 and above. But 36.5% say size does not matter. •  3,380 people responded to the survey •  42% male •  58% female •  60% aged under 30 •  17% 31-40 •  49% “single and unattached” 40.00%   35.00%   30.00%   25.00%   20.00%   15.00%   10.00%   5.00%   0.00%   What is your ideal size of festiva? Series1  
    6. What Do Festival-Goers Want? Impact of the economic recession on festival attendance UK Europe 40% of respondents say the eco slowdown did not 40% of respondents say the eco slowdown did not impact their festival plans. 27% said they attended fewer festivals this year. 9% spent less on alcohol impact their festival plans. 29% said they attended fewer festivals this year. 20% spent less on alcohol    
    7. What Do Festival-Goers Want? Spend before the festival Spend at the festival 1/3 of respondents spend between £50£100 before the festival 30% of respondents spend between £50-£100 at the festival
    8. What Do Festival-Goers Want? Major turn-ons Major turn-offs 53.5% of respondents enjoyed the music the most at the festival they attended. For 22% it was the escape from “normal” life. “Getting dirty” and “the outdoors” both score the lowest at 2.4% each. 28% of respondents would be turned off by fewer acts on stage. ¼ of respondents would be turned off by a 5% increase in ticket price. 30.00%   25.00%   20.00%   15.00%   10.00%   5.00%   0.00%   Which of these would be most likely to put you off going to the same festivals again next year? Series1  
    9. What Do Festival Goers Want? Major disappointment this yr Most missed home comfort 16.5% of respondents said their biggest 1/3 of respondent did not miss any home disappointment was favourite bands clashing on the running order For 13%, it was the price of food and drinks on site. comfort! ¼ of respondents missed clean toilets the most. A shower, and a bed (15% each) also scored highly in the home-comfort miss list! But for 17%, it was none of the above! Note: loos 71% of respondent would like luxury loos at festivals
    10. What Do Festival Goers Want? Perception of sponsors Social media usage 57% of respondents accept that 92% of respondents use Facebook 60% use YouTube 56.5% use Twitter festivals need sponsors, but it doesn't improve their enjoyment 100.00%   90.00%   80.00%   70.00%   60.00%   50.00%   40.00%   30.00%   20.00%   10.00%   0.00%   Do you use any of the following social media? Series1  
    11. Social Commerce: Sell More Tickets! 11
    12. Social Commerce: Sell More tickets! All Events: Value and traffic per share Each share on Twitter incurs the most incremental ticket sales, and also brings the most traffic to an event page. Value of a share (all events) £2.17 £1.31 £3.22 £2.41 Visits per share (all events) 11.8 19.5 38.2 16.3
    13. Social Commerce: Sell More tickets! Festivals: Value and traffic per share Each share on Facebook incurs the most incremental ticket sales for festivals, Each tweet brings the most traffic to a festival page. Value of a share (all events) £2.17 £1.31 £3.22 £2.41 Visits per share (all events) 11.8 19.5 38.2 16.3 Value of a share Festivals Visits per share Festivals
    14. Social Commerce: Sell More tickets! Number of shares needed to sell a festival ticket Festivals: Every 2.6 tweets of Facebook share => you sell an incremental ticket… Nice! 1 TICKET SOLD 2,6 17,6 shares shares 2,6 shares
    15. Social Media: Sell More tickets! Event Discovery via social media creates a snowball effect Discovering an event via a share on social media makes ticket buyers 3 times more likely to share information about this event on social media themselves. Non social discovery Ticket Purchased Discovery on Social Media Ticket Purchased 3X more likely to share information about an event on social media, after having discovered it on social media
    16. New Trends Impacting Festivals Globally 16
    17. Trend 1: Sustainability Wood Festival 100% green loos Welcome to the Future recycling bins Bonnaroo “Trade in” contest to clear cigarette butts Shambala total ban on bottled water Welcome to the Future – Cycling scheme Winniped collection of Empties
    18. Trend 2: Mobile Technology Mobile trends at Eventbrite Mobile page views by hour 1/3 of traffic Desktop page views by hour 5pm   2/3 of traffic
    19. Trend 2: Mobile Technology Types of devices used to purchase Festival tickets In the UK, 15% of festival tickets are purchased from mobile devises This percentage increases to: •  1/3 when the event has been discovered via a share on social media All events 25% 14% All events 11% 89% 20% 80% Festivals 15% 85% 33% 67% 75% 86% 19% 81%
    20. Trend 2: Mobile Technology 20
    21. Trend 3: Hybridisation •  Grow your audience •  Benefit communities and stimulate tourism •  Attract a broader range of sponsors
    22. Trend 4: RFID
    23. Wrap Up à  What festival goers want: To have a great time! Good content, good customer service, being part of a community and all at a fair price à  Social media: Each share about a festival on Facebook brings £3.12 in ticket sales. Every 2.6 tweets or shares on Facebook, an additional ticket is sold! à  Sustainability is a growing responsibility and trend amongst festival organisers à  Mobile technology and RFID enhance the attendee experience and festivals revenues à  Hybridisation for festivals means attracting a larger audience and more sponsors 23
    24. Thank you! James Drury Niall Murtagh james@festivalawards.com niall@festivals.ie Chris Swindells Marino Fresch chris.swindells@virtualfestivals.co.uk marino@eventbrite.com http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/l/music