Aftermovies are the beating heart of the festival marketing campaign.
Designed to showcase the complete festival experience with emotion and a strong sense of identity, aftermovies drive a huge amount of engagement on social media and typically act as the bridge between one campaign closing and the next beginning.
The best aftermovies reinvigorate fading memories in a visceral way, hauling the fans right back into their favorite moments from the event, whilst teasing out the FOMO in those that opted to stay at home.
Just about every festival produces aftermovies nowadays, but many festivals are stuck following a format that is little more than a string of attractive young people speeding up and slowing down to an agitating beat, eyes closed, arms in the air.
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But certain festivals have pinpointed aftermovies as their most powerful off-site brand builder. As well as driving ticket sales and kickstarting the new campaign, they set an emotional tone for the festival and meander deftly around the site, positioning each asset of the experience artfully and showcasing the variety of vibes one can expect to explore. That takes having an experienced and creative team, picking exactly the right music, knowing your festival intimately, and understanding its unique value propositions.
Most—but not all—of the aftermovies on this list are from 2017, highlighting a shift towards more innovative productions that integrate a variety of elements into the experience and position the events as something much more than just a music festival.
These are the aftermovies that every festival organizer needs to watch:
Oasis is one of the most interesting festivals on the destination circuit right now. After building ample buzz in its first couple of years, it smashed onto the scene in 2017, and this aftermovie was at the center of that.
Produced by Dutch studio GG.amsterdam, it presents not only the festival experience as a hip, discerning party but also the exploration of Marrakech as central to the event. This is a marketing angle being used more and more for destination festivals, but Oasis does this especially well.
Clocking in at a staggering 26 minutes, it wouldn’t be right to do a list like this without including Tomorrowland. The Belgian monolith is the world’s largest electronic music festival, and each year they seem to surpass themselves with epic aftermovies.
Apart from the undeniably cinematic quality of the video, we particularly like how the diverse moods of the festival are handled throughout. This gives the audience a generous scope of what they can expect to find when they shell out for the experience.
Amsterdam’s DGTL is one of the hottest festival brands in the world right now and has used its aftermovie to flex its conceptual scope.
Directed by the extremely talented Jerom Fischer and Boris Acket, this aftermovie opens by drawing aesthetic and compositional parallels between circuitry and city architecture, and it presents a variety of moods and textures which come together to showcase an innovative and dynamic festival with a very clear sense of its own unique identity.
The other super cool Dutch festival that is blazing a its own trail around the world right now is Dekmantel.
Mirroring trends that emerged in its own underground house and techno scene in the past year, the festival went lo-fi with its 2017 aftermovie, which seems to have been a collaboration between studios Matemade and Studio Crême and creative director Bas van de Poel. The striking VHS quality immediately sets it aside from the 4K crowd, while its delightfully neurotic and avant-garde tones are integral to the festival’s powerful and realized aesthetic.
Electric Zoo has always done things a little bit differently.
Aside from its unique marketing strategies and annual themes, the longstanding NYC festival has used its aftermovies to communicate the unique personality of the event into its digital assets.
They brought some much needed humor into their aftermovie for 2017 and played into the festival’s 6th Boro theme by building a bizarre narrative around a greaser wiseguy who gets a ticket to the festival.
Beyond the flashes of surrealist fugetaboutit vibes, it’s an extremely well produced albeit fairly standard aftermovie from LA-based Eyewax Films that gets that serotonin pumping again.
Boomtown Fair in England is well-known outlandish levels of creativity and imagination that they bring to the festival scene. Its aftermovies are a superb reflection of that, tapping into the developing theatrical narrative that has been spun across the festival and its districts since Chapter 5 (2014).
This aftermovie from the talented London/Bristol-based production company Clockwise Media does an excellent job of exploring the festival site dynamically, while giving ample attention to the narrative that might have been missed by attendees engaged in a more straightforward music festival experience.
Lightning in a Bottle
Anyone that has made the pilgrimage to Bradley, CA for Lightning in a Bottle knows that it’s a very special and unique event. The California hippie retreat is aesthetically fabulous, and with their extremely dynamic 2017 aftermovie from Ari Fararooy and Media Stranger, they really managed to capture that diverse and sprawling magic of this influential event
Iceland’s Secret Solstice is another extremely interesting destination festival that really knows how to amplify the unique selling prospects of its location.
Like DGTL, the videographers use a juxtaposition to open by paralleling the horseman on the country path (a not-so-subtle Game of Thrones reference) and the cars in Reykjavik. Very highly stylized and attuned to the effortless hipness of contemporary Iceland, this aftermovie from London/Bristol-based production team Entirety Labs does a very good job of showcasing the broadness of Secret Solstice’s local and international appeal.
First year cruise ship festival The Ark had the unenviable challenge of coming into an intensely competitive marketplace with no digital assets to work with. Sure, it had a stacked lineup and a very strong team, but it’s so difficult to market without the previous year’s content.
It’s no surprise then that their aftermovie was a winner. Soundtracked by a gorgeous Feist remix, the video pairs the increasingly popular hyperlapses with a steady build of anticipation and really does a superb job of selling the event.
There are few festivals in the world quite so majestic as Wonderfruit in Thailand. From the minds behind Robot Heart and Further Future, this festival has been making global waves in the past couple of years for its unique location, diverse programming and impeccable sense of identity.
The aftermovie is executed with such a deft touch it really positions the event as a vivid cultural experience and considerably more well rounded than just about every other festival on the global circuit.
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From getting the colors just right, to bringing the energy of a festival aftermovie right now to a languid downward dog, you’d have to be the darkest techno puritan druid not to look at this and think, “Damn, that looks like a nice time!”
Day For Night
Straight out of the gate, this video sets the festival aside from its competition and immediately pinpoints the attributes that make it such a celebrated outlier. Day For Night festival in Houston is a unique convergence of discerning music and compelling visual art, and the aftermovie team have really nailed the sense of immersion, a key element of the festival.
We also like the idea of flaunting the quotes from major press outlets. This allows the festival to highlight the critical acclaim it received in a tasteful, meaningful way.
The best destination festival aftermovies all spend as much time focusing on the location as they do on the festival itself. The opening shots from Time Warp’s Sonus festival in Croatia does a remarkable job of making it look like it’s staged on a distant planet, accentuating the vivid colors and geographical quirks of the landscape with some staggering cinematography courtesy of Italian production house Elephant Studio.
The quiet moments in this aftermovie are very subtly positioning the festival as a tonic to the madness of Ibiza, essentially saying, “If the White Island has gotten too crazy for you, come to Croatia!”
Dimensions (by Resident Advisor)
This video from Croatian festival Dimensions in 2015 isn’t a traditional aftermovie. It was produced as part of a video partnership between leading electronic music publication Resident Advisor and the festival, and it utilizes an articulate editorial voice-over to excellent effect.
The writer Ryan Keeling communicates a historical and cultural context to the festival which is largely absent from most aftermovies, and, while it’s a little heady (that’s a big part of the festival and RA’s brand) it recognizes that the festival-goers are interested in learning a little about the places they travel.
Primavera Sound Lineup Announcement 2013
A special shout goes to Primavera Sound for their incredible lineup announcement videos. Our personal favorite is from 2013, but honestly, they’re all fantastic and far ahead of the pack when it comes to the imaginative delivery of key announcements.
It’s also worth noting that this was paid for by Heineken. Festivals should be conscious that their audience is extremely lucrative and that brands are very much interested in high visibility content opportunities, so long as you can clearly show who your audience is.
This article focuses less on conversion and more on brand-building. There are so many variables when considering the effectiveness of a festival marketing campaign that to attempt to determine the precision of the aftermovie would ultimately lead to error. And its very unlikely that those metrics would even be made available to us. But with lineups, destinations and production largely becoming generic within their own little subscenes, aftermovies are crucially important for setting competing festivals aside from one another.
For instances, Oasis, Sonus, and Dimensions are effectively rival festivals. They are targeting the same audiences with similar lineups, nuanced vibes and a window into the local culture. Yet the aftermovies above present three entirely different events, and could sway you either way depending on what you’re looking for from a festival getaway that summer. Same goes for DGTL and Dekmantel, or Lightning in a Bottle and Symbiosis.
It should be said that we’re hearing from a number of respected aftermovie videographers that they are actively looking to branch out from this kind of content, citing obvious limitations in the form and the narrow emotional tunnel they’re lodged in. That’s a worry. It’s important to have some consistency year-on-year, and having a team with accumulative knowledge of your event and the fans will allow you to refine your message.
For those blessed with having a creative team that’s looking to push the envelope, you should be trying to engage them in fresh ideas, perhaps by integrating brands and publications into the picture to broaden the scope, perspective and budget of your festival content.