Music festivals have been around and growing in popularity for decades now, but over the years we have seen a number of changes in the ways technology impacts these events. Modern communications have probably made the most noticeable difference, although subtle changes in standards for performers across the music industry have also had an impact over the years.
Of course, technology is often a major element of the experience you get as a music fan watching an artist perform. Technological advancements, hand in hand with innovative and creative ideas, have allowed artists to push the envelope like never before and put in stunning shows, even within the limited space and time offered by music festivals.
This doesn’t apply to all performers, of course, and for many artists the technology they use when playing sets hasn’t changed for generations. Where the major difference has come in across the board is more to do with social media use and the way we communicate with other people online about our experiences.
Attending a music festival is the perfect time to share media on social channels, so it’s no surprise that people (particularly the younger generation of millennials) take every opportunity to do this. Tagging friends along with their musical heroes in their photo and video posts gives them huge potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people.
So how has this phenomenon directly or indirectly affected what actually happens at music festivals? Apart from the artists themselves encouraging guests to post on social media for their own self-promotion, this is also a huge opportunity for major corporate brands to take advantage and get their name promoted to a wider market.
This goes some way to explaining the huge presence of international brand names at modern music festivals, aside from the obvious requirement for sponsorship money which heavily subsidises ticket costs. Ultimately, the fact that technology has opened up this huge potential revenue stream for brands across social channels is the most evident change in the music festival scene around the world.
It is worth mentioning that advanced technology is most likely to keep affecting music events in the near future. Video streaming is set to continue growing, fuelled in part by social media, so we anticipate seeing this become more of a feature at festivals. The tricky part for promoters is organising a way of managing this without compromising on the fact that guests are supposed to be paying for tickets rather than watching the action online. As online advertising revenue through live streaming events becomes more viable, we are likely to see festivals heading in this direction, which could have very interesting effects.