Add Live Streaming to the List of Festival Essentials

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If festivals were like movie theaters, this wouldn’t be such a good idea.

But of course, festivals are about so much more than just the music! Which makes good live streaming an incredible enhancement, and a motivator for future attendees. In fact, I’d argue that the live stream is now an essential part of any successful festival – right up there with the bands and stages.

Take Coachella.  This past weekend, the festival’s three-day stream on YouTube was a smash, and at-home onlookers were treated to a great experience.  But what they didn’t get is that ‘experience of a lifetime’.  Because for that, you’ve got to buy a ticket… you’ve got to pay $300(+) and go!  Because nobody is going to trade a story about watching youtube.com/coachella from their PC – at least not a good one – and that’s the whole point.

But throughout the stream, users were encouraged to comment and spread the word on places like Facebook.  It’s an association with Coachella cool from your couch, a next-best for those whose finances, geography, schedule, or the simple sellout prevented a trip.  It lets hundreds of thousands of aspirationals in on the conversation – and that exponentially strengthens the festival brand.

That said, this is still an ‘early-stage’ space, and ripe for lots of innovation.  Part of the reason is that this sort of live-streaming has been difficult to pull off until recently, though Coachella’s broadcast consistently worked.  Beyond the basics, Coachella’s approach seemed smart.  It was a three-stage, three-screen experience, complemented by a schedule for each and some really great camerawork.  The audio – as hooked into a home stereo system – was pretty good.

And, Coachella Live even featured interviews between sets, though as someone craning his neck from the outside this year, I obviously wanted more – more on-the-ground camerawork, more archives, more options.  But again, maybe that’s the whole point.

And the most important aspect?  Coachella monetized this with a huge branding deal involving Wrigley’s 5 Gum, a tie-in that was impossible to miss.  Which means, more money from outside the Indio Polo Grounds – a lot more.

Written by publisher Paul Resnikoff… from home.