Festival Promoters Take Note: Millennials Like Events With a “Stronger Moral Compass”

BY: ROSS GARDINER, Intellitix Contributor

The intense political climate in the United States is affecting every single area of life, and it would seem that the millennial generation is more wrapped up in this fervour than their Gen X counterparts. Recent studies consistently show that millennials spending habits are heavily influenced by companies they consider to have strong moral compasses. Forbes reported that 73% of millennials are likely to spend more with “sustainable brands”, while 81% expect companies to make “public commitment[s] to good corporate citizenship”.

Regardless of what you think about the sanctity of festivals and gigs from this kind of trend, a recent study found that these spending habits translate to festivals and that fans are looking at shows as a means of making political statements.

“Millennials,” the study reports, “treat live events as a form of self-expression [and] self-improvement.” They found that 69% of attendees regard gigs and festivals as “the best way to show other people what they stand for” and 78% are more likely to attend a festival featuring artists who are “affecting positive change through their music”.

79% of millennials feel that coming to events make them feel “more connected to other people, the community, and the world”, which is up 10% from three years ago. Another impressive statistic is that 57% of millennials revealed that “engaging with a political cause online has encouraged them to take action offline”.  

The study also found that the audience doesn’t consider partisanship or political allegiance essential for creating social impact, so you don’t need to book a speech from Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, like Glastonbury did last weekend.

There are plenty of ways to make statements without expressing allegiance or alienating people. You can donate a portion of ticket sales to a charity, make your event more environmentally friendly, or simply express a sentiment of openness, like EDC did this year with its “All Are Welcome Here” marketing mantra.

Dutch electronic music festival DGTL has made sustainability a core element of its ethos over the last few years and generated positive publicity from going completely meat-free, citing the devastating impact that the meat industry has on the environment. But in their press outreach, they were careful not to look like they were forcing lifestyle choices on anyone, instead insisting they were informing “people about the drastic effects that our daily meat consumption has on our environment.”

Getting behind political candidates or polarizing social subjects can be difficult, and the risk of backfiring and upsetting sections of your audience is not something to be taken lightly. But the aforementioned causes and stances are simple, low risk, high impact ways of showing your audience that you are using their dollars to make the world a better place, beyond simply improving the vibe of course.