Festival attendees have expectations too

My students have the opportunity to rate my online workshops in event planning. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. But it did make me wonder whether people also rate music festivals. More importantly, what exactly do they rate?

I know there are professionals out there who write reviews. The Festival Guy for example. People can also write a festival review on the Fest300 website but hardly anyone seems to have done so. Some festival fans vent their opinions on Yelp. But Yelp isn’t my go-to-website when I want to find out more about festivals. Perhaps it should be?

Event expectations

I’m curious what people like, or dislike, about a festival they have visited. A few days after attending a conference, I received a request to fill out an online survey. They wanted to know whether I thought the conference was value for money. Whether I thought it was a well-organized event and whether the catering was up to scratch. The answer was ‘no’ to all of these questions.

Keeping things interesting in one of the tents at a festival

Keeping things interesting in one of the tents at a festival

There were panelists that had to talk an hour(!) about new event safety regulations. Everything that could be said about this subject was said within 30 minutes. At lunchtime 100 delegates descended on the 1 food truck available. Turned out the chef wasn’t ready for the lunch break yet. In this case my conference experience wasn’t great. Perhaps my expectations were too high. You know, it being a conference about event planning.

Fuji Rock and real life

Festival attendees have expectations too. With so many festivals around and so many people going to festivals, there is actually some kind of feedback available. A research study conducted in 2013 found that 80% of festival attendees were considering booking a hotel room rather than staying on a festival’s campsite. That seems a lot to me. Having said that though, I’m in the process of booking tickets for Fuji Rock and I’m thinking of staying in a hotel. I know, I know…

That same report from 2013 goes on to say that 53% of attendees go to a festival because of the music. Almost a quarter of festivalgoers try to escape normal life. That’s a great attitude and quite sad at the same time. Only 26% of festivalgoers missed a clean flushable toilet. A visit to a portaloo on day 2 of a festival always serves as a stark reminder that normal life is not so bad after all.

Figure out their expectations  

Figure out their expectations 

Another study from 2014 suggests that almost 90% of festival attendees want to escape normal life. That is indeed a massive increase compared to the other study. I guess it depends on how you ask the question. Anyway, if people want to escape real life than a festival organizer should provide them with an alternative experience.

Personalised experiences at festivals

Yes, you need good music but you need more than that. According to a report from EventBrite a festivalgoer expects “more choice and more personalised experiences whilst at your festival”. You, the festival organiser, can find out what your potential audience wants by analyzing data you’ve collected online. This is information from an EventBrite report so to get all this info you should probably use their services.

Your fans expect an experience! Do you know how to manage their expectations? The festival setting, the music, the people, the vibe, and perhaps some clean portaloos. Even better, portaloos with lights. Time to start thinking about the experience your festival has to offer. Meanwhile you can email me if you want to rate a festival.