Experiences are everything: your events matter to marketers

Live events provide a unique opportunity for artists and fans to forge meaningful personal connections. This post, originally published on Pandora for Brands’ Insights blog, explains why brands are increasingly looking at event sponsorship as one of the best ways to build awareness and reach new customers. 

 

You don’t need us to tell you that music has the power to create incredible experiences. It can cure a breakup, take you back in time and totally make or break a party. But some music experiences are just more memorable than others.

Nothing comes quite as close to the exhilaration of seeing your favorite band live. The act of sharing the moment with a community of fellow fans, sweating it out together as you scream lyrics from the top of your lungs—that’s when real memories are formed.

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SXSW in 10 tweets

Since launching 30 years ago, South by Southwest (or SXSW for those in the know) has grown from a charming little music conference into an expansive gathering that includes not just music, but also film and technology, and attracts more than 50,000 attendees to Austin, TX over 10 days each March.

Like many companies, Ticketfly will make its way to Texas to be part of SXSW this year. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with partners and industry friends. It’s also really fun — a week-long party with a soundtrack performed by the best bands.

Are you a seasoned “South-by” vet, with a proven hangover-avoiding technique and a Google doc with all the bands you plan to catch? Or maybe you’ve never been and are wondering what it’s really like? Either way, you’ll want to check out these ten tweets from the past ten years that we think capture the essence of SXSW.

  1. Word on the street

#FOMO is constant for all who attend SXSW. By the way, Wu-Tang did play a “secret” show in a closed down factory 20 miles outside of town…that started at 4am.

 

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Get ready for these Fly festivals

Festival season is no longer confined to the sweltering summer months. There are awesome festivals happening year-round—some starting as early as this week! Many of the best music gatherings in North America are powered by Ticketfly and we couldn’t be more psyched. Tell your festie besties and mark your calendars for these upcoming ‘fly fests.

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SweetWater 420 Fest goes big with double headlining sets for ‘Lucky 13’

The number “13” carries a spooky superstition. But in the case of new partner SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta, 13 is a good omen, and a cause for a righteous celebration.

The three-day music experience, which doubles as an Earth Day festival (hence the 4/20), will hold its 13th annual event from April 21-23, 2017 at Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of downtown Atlanta. In honor of “Lucky 13,” organizers are pulling all the stops.

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6 unique summer festivals you can’t miss

Listen up New York, summer’s not just for music festivals. Catch a different kind of beat with these out-of-the-box fests where music is just a side dish. We’re talking Darth Vader hot air balloon rides, knights in shining armor, and brews that’ll keep you cool in the sweltering heat of the summer solstice. No matter what your jam is, we’ve got you covered like SPF 70.

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Memphis in May is a true Tennessee celebration

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There’s a popular episode from Aziz Ansari’s hit Netflix comedy Master of None where Ansari’s character takes a date on a trip to Nashville. The trip ultimately goes well, and they have a great time dancing and thrift shopping and doing cutesy hipster stuff. But, with all due respect to Nashville, we can only imagine how much more fun the episode would have been if they took a slight detour to Memphis instead. Particularly in the month of May.

While all nonprofit organizations do work to better their communities, few do it quite like Memphis In May International Festival. The community-based group goes big and bold like a Tennessee rack of ribs, hosting a series of righteous festivals and events during the month of its namesake.

Festivities begin with the star-studded Beale Street Music Festival from April 29-May 1. This year’s lineup features some of the biggest names in music, from Neil Young and Paul Simon to Meghan Trainor and Jason Derulo. The festival was named among Travel + Leisure’s “2016 Music Festivals Worth Traveling For” and listed among Fuse TV’s “Top 22 Music Festivals for 2016.” Continue reading

Hip-Hop goes green at Broccoli City Festival

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Future, Jhené Aiko, and The Internet to headline multicultural Earth Day celebration
 

Hip-hop culture isn’t exactly known for promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Most mainstream songs encourage the opposite—liquor, drugs, and reckless spending of cash. Songs like Dead Prez’s “Be Healthy” never even stood a chance at cracking the Top 40. That’s because, as the NY duo famously stated: “It’s bigger than hip-hop.”

Brandon McEachern, founder of Broccoli City Festival in Washington, D.C., witnessed the greater societal problem firsthand. He was working for MTV in Santa Monica, California but frequented South Central Los Angeles to visit friends.  

“When you go to Santa Monica everybody is happy and running around, but when you go to the hood it seemed like people were sad. There was a lot of despair,” McEachern says. “What I noticed was when you go to Santa Monica, there are salad bars and juice bars on every corner. When you go to South Central, what do you see on every corner? Liquor stores; McDonald’s on every block. That type of stuff affects your way of thinking.”

That’s when the seeds for what would become Broccoli City—a multicultural Earth Day festival promoting healthy living and environmental sustainability—was planted.

“I felt like nobody in our community was doing anything on Earth Day, and when they did do stuff it was never geared toward blacks, Hispanics, or other minorities. I thought it would be so cool if I could bring awareness to my community without being preachy,” the 32-year-old North Carolina native says. “The best way to touch folks is through music.”

Enter the Global Coolin’ Earth Day Block Party. Held in L.A. for the first time in 2010, it featured healthy food vendors and some of the most buzzed about L.A. rap artists of the time, including Dom Kennedy, Pac Div and, buried deep on the flyer, a fledgling Kendrick Lamar.

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Despite the event’s success, there was too much competition in L.A. With his partner Marcus Allen and several relatives residing in D.C., McEachern saw the need for a similar event in the nation’s capital.

“They call D.C. the ‘Chocolate City,’” McEachern says. “There’s just something about the culture. It’s growing. It’s a good melting pot [and] there’s a lot of people of color there.”

They kicked off the first official Broccoli City festival in 2013. It was headlined by southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. and featured acts such as alt-R&B singer JMSN and DJ Tittsworth, among others. The festival also featured healthy food, yoga and fitness demos, art, and more. With time, the acts have gotten bigger: R&B icon Erykah Badu and uber-talented celebrity offspring Jaden and Willow Smith, among others.

McEachern admits that he uses the music to lure people in so he can expose them to the healthy aspects of the festival. “It’s like putting the medicine in the dog food,” McEachern explains.

A big part of that exposure is being able to secure vendors such as Whole Foods who are willing to give away free products.

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“Healthy food is expensive, but when you go to Broccoli City, healthy food is free,” McEachern says. “You might be walking through the festival and someone might just run up on you like, ‘Yo, you want this strawberry juice?’ You’ll be like, ‘Alright, I’m a try it.’ The next week when you’re at the grocery store like, ‘I’m about to buy beer, but I also had that good juice at Broccoli City. Let me get this juice, too.’ And that’s where it starts.”

This year’s festival is on April 30 at the St. Elizabeth East Gateway Pavillion. It features acts such as R&B singer Jhene Aiko, Grammy-nominated band The Internet, buzzing singer and rapper Anderson .Paak, and soulful crooner BJ the Chicago Kid, along with a second stage for local up-and-comers.

The big bait, however, is headliner and unstoppable Atlanta rap force Future. The “Fuck Up Some Commas” rapper might not be the first to pop up when you envision an Earth Day festival, but that’s exactly the point.

“You can’t preach to the choir. I want to touch everybody, especially in our demographic. Artists like Jhene Aiko—she’s cool, she’s conscious and that’s beautiful—but at the end of the day I wanna touch my people in the gutta. Those are the ones that really need the help,” McEachern says. “If I can get them to come just because they want to hear Future, once they get there, they have no choice but to see this stuff. Even though they’re gonna rock out to ‘Commas,’ on the way to see that, they end up getting blessed with some type of knowledge and some awareness of living healthy and sustainability.”

McEachern’s end-goal is to bring the festival to multiple cities and to make it free. He’s already put a piece of that in motion.

While the festival has already sold all of its 11,000 tickets—not surprising considering general admission was $59—people can still gain access through Broccoli City’s Earn a Ticket program. McEachern and his partners host events leading up to the festival where anyone who volunteers an hour or two of their time can walk away with a physical ticket in hand. The events usually sell out within minutes (they charge a $10 fee for supplies), according to McEachern. In recent weeks, dozens of volunteers have fed the homeless through efforts at DC Central Kitchen and social media inspired movement #HashtagLunchbag, and have helped plant a garden at an elementary school.

“Nobody wants to be unhealthy,” McEachern says. “It’s about somebody presenting it to them in a way they can understand it. It’s about meeting people in the middle and really being able share this message, and us coming together as people of color and really standing up for our health and standing up for our families and standing up for our communities.”