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Study: Consumers are Willing to Travel 500 Miles for Fan-centric Experiences

It’s hard to believe it, but festival season will be here before you know it. From Coachella to Bonnaroo to CMA Fest to Governors Ball to the slate of brand-owned properties cropping up, the music festival sponsorship space shows no signs of slowing down. To give you a leg up on your fan activation strategies, we gleaned insights from Thinkwell’s Trend Report on Fan Festivals & Events. The study offers data on consumer motivations, success factors and festival must-haves based on the answers of 1,100-plus U.S. consumers, ages 18 to 64, who were polled on a range of topics around fan experiences in late 2019. Among the findings: people are willing to cough up a lot of cash (some as much as $2,500) to vibe with their tribe. Read on for more insights from the report.

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Exclusive touchpoints are paramount.

Consumers expect a lot out of brand activations these days, particularly when it comes to access. They pay good money to attend festivals and fan cons, so they want the most bang for their buck. According to the report, fans consider exclusive content, merchandise, food and beverage options, and photo ops event “must-haves.”


Event spending is on the rise.

Global spending on experiences is predicted to reach $8 trillion by 2030. In fact, spending on live experiences has grown by $5 billion every year for the last decade in the U.S. alone. In terms of festival spending, the report showed that nearly half (46 percent) of respondents were willing to spend up to $1,000 for a quality fan experience. An additional 17 percent said they’d spend up to $2,500. And when it comes to snagging exclusive merchandise, fans reported expecting to shell out up to 40 percent of their event funds.


Logistics matter.

When respondents were asked about what makes a festival worth the cost, answers included fun engagements, like celebrity meet-and-greets and social experiences with fellow fans. But when they were asked what makes a fan event successful, their top three answers all pertained to logistics: A well-organized layout, easy lodging and solutions for parking and transit. Bottom line: No matter how many A-list artists are performing or how much exclusive merch is up for grabs, an effective fan activation has to nail the event basics.


Fans are willing to go the distance.

Fans are prepared to travel great distances for the right experience, and we’re not just talking about a few subway transfers. Seventy-one percent of participants in the study reported they would be willing to travel up to 500 miles for a festival or fan event, with 58 percent reporting they’d be willing to travel by plane.

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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