Food festivals have been an effective destination marketing tool for a long time, attracting an affluent demographic, generating buzz and filling up hotels. So too, music festivals before them – classical, rock, and more recently, jazz. Now, Las Vegas that’s often ahead of the pack in identifying major market opportunities, is onto a big visitor builder for millennials : electronic dance music, the EDM festivals. Building on the success they’ve enjoyed with their promotions of DJ events, lounges, and parties (the New Yorker reported that a club with a DJ can rake in as much as $1 million just for one night and it’s worth it), they just announced they’re hosting Rock in Rio in May 2015. This will be the first stateside edition of the event, founded in 1985, that has featured acts ranging from Bon Jovi and Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen, Shakira and Paul McCartney. Last year’s festival in Rio sold out all 600,000 tickets in four hours.
The organizers call it “more than a music festival, an extensive promotional platform with a broad mix of radio, digital, mobile, print, cinema, cable TV and trade & entertainment magazines”. Partners include iHeart Radio, Clear Channel and NCM Network with cinemas across the USA.
Calling itself the “City of Rock”, Las Vegas expects 80,000 people a day. It will feature five stages, streetscapes representing Brazil, USA and UK; amusement park rides and a VIP area said to celebrate the global flavors of music, food, drink, art and more.
Promotion just started last month. Miami, too, just closed its Ultra Music Festival, a spin off of the World Music Festival. Ultra drew 165,000 people to Bayfront Park. It was tough to find a hotel room even in outlying areas, and hotels racked up extra revenue with satellite events such as the Gale Hotel’s elite Red Bull guest House, a music showcase for the energy drink and the W Hotel’s Music Lounge.
Besides tapping into what is estimated at a $4.5 Billion market, EDM festivals reach Millennials with money (tickets aren’t cheap) and an opportunity to expose them to a new destination. Plus, as Cynthia Sexton who handles brand partnerships for leading music labels was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald, “Big brands, whether car companies or alcohol, have been watching the lifestyle and seeing that this genre is no longer a niche on the sidelines”.The only caveat is that , as you may have read about with the trampling of a security guard at the Ultra Festival, special care has to be given to security and crowd control.