BY: BROCK MARTIN, Sales Development Rep

Every attendee likes to experience their big weekend out in a different way. Some diehards show up with a strict itinerary of musical performances they just can’t miss out on. Others graze at the food options and art installations with the music as the backdrop to their big adventure. Others even party outside of festival grounds and pop in to catch the headliners! Understanding that a festival must accommodate as many perspectives as there are attendees is key to achieving an optimal market share.

Why do people attend one music festival over another? With the proliferation of music festivals as a big-money enterprise, there are scores of options, millions spent on branding, and an arms race to book blockbuster headliners. Behind all the big stars, bigger money, and bright lights is a relatively simple spectrum of indicators that dictate the choices of potential festival attendees.


Demographics giant Nielsen recently undertook a study as part of their annual 360 Report that queried festival fans what is most likely to sway them towards a particular festival. Their results are nothing short of illuminating. First and foremost in prominence: 86% of fans state that the lineup is of major importance. With booking fees occupying so much of festival budgets, this should come as no surprise. However, it would be incorrect to assume that this data suggests that a bigger budget lineup is necessarily a better one.


75% of festival attendees prefer to attend events that are near to their home. Although major events like Coachella and EDC Vegas may draw in people from around the globe, the bread-and-butter of a festival enterprise is people who live within 200 miles of the event. Much of this has to do with the added and inhibitive cost of travel—airplanes, hotels, time off work.


Fittingly, 68% of festival attendees queried stated that price is a major factor in their decision to purchase festival passes. It’s fair to consider price and location indicators as somewhat intrinsic to one another.


An often overlooked aspect of the ticket purchasing decision process: 66% of fans say that whether or not their friends are attending the festival affects their decision. For most people, going to a festival by yourself is no fun at all. Although a promoter can control the lineup and the price, how can a savvy outfit make sure that the festival is squad-friendly? Group tickets, group camping accommodations, and good social media outreach can make an event more attractive to groups of friends looking for a weekend out.


Lastly, 56% of attendees state that they often return to festival brands year upon year like an annual tradition. Achieving this is contingent upon building a strong and stable festival brand that people can trust. After a number of years, people look out for their favorite festival more than they do national holidays! However, this strong base—over half of all attendees—is only attainable after satisfying the previous four indicators.

So, all in all: 86% of fans prioritize lineup, 75% prefer to stay close to home, 68% hinge their attendance on price, while 66% go with the flow of their friends, and 56% are brand loyal die hards that can be counted on to attend year after year. In building your festival brand, making sure that your event appeals to all 5 of these factors will increase your likelihood of attendance, retention, and success.