Festivals are growing up.
When one usually thinks of a festival crowd, one hears great music and sees throngs of young people dancing, drinking, and debauching with abandon. Somehow, if it’s not an updated and live version of the Woodstock film it just isn’t much of a festival.
However, that’s not the reality of the festival market, and more importantly, one of the important festival trends. Festivals and their audiences are growing up.
Of course there are still thousands of festivals that attract today’s youth for today’s music and art. Today’s crowds are safer and more community minded than ever before. There are still wild and wonderful days and nights, but given the crowds of thousands and even hundreds of thousands it can be amazing to see how well organized, how thoughtful, and how caring these young audiences are. The festival youth trend is clear: crime is down; fun is up.
Festivals are getting wiser with age as well. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and posted in KadmusArts’ daily Culture News, grown-up festivals are tailoring their product and festival experience to an adult demographic. These festivals are not about old singers singing old songs to old audiences. Festivals still thrive when they create an experience of discovery: mix acts you know with ones you don’t.
While big festivals still draw hundreds of thousands of fans, there is a growing sweet spot in boutique festivals that are thriving with a more narrow focus on older audiences. Who loses their love for music? Who loses their joy for the live experience?
There is good business in tailoring festivals to the generations who have grown up and out of Woodstock.
Festivals are smart enough to follow the music and the money: adult rock and adult experience add up to adult money.
- Bill Reichblum