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SXSW 2017

What Young Women Want from Music Festivals

Young women, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24, are among the most passionate fans at music festivals. The Young Female Festivalgoer (YFF) attends frequently, is highly engaged, has a large social network, and is therefore becoming increasingly influential to the festival landscape.

At SXSW 2017, GMR put on “What Young Women Want from Music Festivals,” a panel exploring the evolution of music festivals, marketing challenges, and ways for brands to connect with YFFs.


Director of Global Sports + Entertainment Consulting at GMR Marketing, Jackie Woo moderated the panel that included a concert promoter, a talent manager and a young female festivalgoer. The group discussed the evolution of music festivals, including shared fan struggles and how organizers are addressing them, as well as ways for brands to make their mark with YFFs. Here’s a breakdown.

Four common fan struggles

  1. FOMO: Oftentimes, festivalgoers have to choose between several bands that share the same time slot. Music festivals that book a lot of bands with the same fan base create fear of missing out, or FOMO, among fans. To combat this fear, organizers are scheduling additional, night-time shows at venues throughout the festival host city. This post-show content gives those who missed the performance another chance to see a favorite band, and allows fans who did see the show to relive the experience.
  2. Facilities: Brands that offer a step-up from the traditional port-a-potty are often sought out and thoroughly appreciated by YFFs. Smaller gestures like offering hand sanitizer or wet wipes score points as well.
  3. Transportation: Leaving a music festival can be a challenge for fans. Making it easy to get to and from the festival grounds is another way to win them over. Festivals score major points, and potentially a return visit, by partnering with a ride share company.
  4. Refreshments: Staying hydrated and well fed without breaking the bank is a major pain point for festivalgoers. Festivals that offer a variety of affordable food options, as well as hydration stations throughout the grounds win favor from YFFs.

Four ways brands can connect with YFFs at music festivals

  1. Wi-Fi: Offering Wi-Fi or charging lounges provides fans with the juice that’s needed to share pictures and posts of their experiences on social media. It also gives YFFs a chance to meet other like-minded musical fans.
  2. Giveaways: Hosting autograph sessions with bands or musicians creates a memorable moment for fans. Giving away something that can be signed, such as a vinyl record, makes for an even bigger impression among your target demographic and can help build brand loyalty.
  3. Q&As: Brands can also create an intimate fan experience by bringing bands and musicians in to do a Q&A session or acoustic set following their festival performance. Fans are much more likely to remember the event and may have more brand affinity afterward.
  4. Afterparties: Concert promoters are extending the festival experience into the evening hours by offering shows at musical venues all over the host city. This is another opportunity for brands to connect with fans on a much deeper level by creating a community out of a shared live experience. It’s also a great way to connect with a band’s fans who couldn’t attend the music festival.

Want to learn more about engaging festivalgoers? Download our full report.

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