The arrival of summer means festival season is now upon us. Major events such as Download, Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading are the highlights of the year for music fans and consistently attract hundreds of thousands of people.

And of course, there are hundreds of smaller festivals taking place throughout the country in all sorts of locations this summer.

As a result, many brands will see these as ideal opportunities to raise their profiles in front of a large number of people. However, businesses need to be very careful if they have an eye on targeting music fans at festivals.

After all, their message could fall on deaf ears if they don’t get it right, or worse, they could end up alienating both existing and potential customers.

Stephen Ackroyd, editor of the music magazine DIY, stressed that people go to music festivals to have a good time and not to learn the ins and outs of various brands.

He therefore believes that any messages companies try to convey need to be very simple and direct.

“This isn’t the place for a complicated message,” Mr Ackroyd commented.

“There will be beer, more beer and then chasers on the side. If you’re trying to get an overly complicated message, it’s unlikely anyone will remember it by the morning after”.

Mr Ackroyd went on to stress that the music is always the focal point of a festival for the people in attendance. This, he said, means revellers will not appreciate it if brands try to put themselves between them and their favourite artist.

Businesses were therefore encouraged to “work with the event”, rather than try to hog the limelight and “dominate too much”.

Firms were also advised to remember that the people they are trying to target will be standing in a field, perhaps in a fairly remote part of the country.

Mr Ackroyd insisted that this is an important fact to bear in mind, as it will be the wrong place and environment in which to plug something like new mobile apps.

“Handsets will be dead by the end of the first day – and that’s for the revellers who didn’t just swap their Sim card into an old Nokia 3330 for the weekend,” he remarked.

Despite issuing this lengthy lists of things to avoid doing, Mr Ackroyd pointed out there are still some effective ways in which companies can engage with music fans during a festival.

For instance, he said taking advantage of outdoor display opportunities at these events might be a good idea, as well as targeting revellers during the downtime in the campsites.

Alternatively, he suggested that brands consider giving away promotional items that may be genuinely useful throughout a festival.

“Have something free to hand out that might actually come in handy to someone with trench foot and a hangover the size of the Pyramid stage – that’s always a winner,” Mr Ackroyd said.

Branded ponchos, for example, might be greatly appreciated by music fans who are standing out in the rain all day.

Five things brands should not do at festivals, Campaign

Posted by Robin McCrink