How can a musician, band or performer create an impact in the increasingly busy UK festival scene? This article has some great pointers on how to increase engagement with your audience, and give you some added presence in front of festival organisers.
Why do people go to festivals? Mostly it’s the music – 53% of people surveyed as part of the UK Festival Census said it that was the thing they love above all else.
And with live music events generating £2.2bn for the UK economy according to an Oxford Economics study for Visit Britain and with the amount of music festivals growing across the globe, it’s a tough job for festival organisers to secure the amount of ticket sales required to make the event a success.
But what about the musicians and bands at these events? How can you, as a performer, ensure your own success in a sea of other bands? How can you stand out against new bands coming through, as well as compete for space with so many established acts?
With the domination of social media as a communication channel, it has never been easier for those in the music industry to communicate with their audience, and this is even more important in the lead up to an event. Posting tour dates, event appearances and album releases will create a buzz around your “brand” and give you extra visibility with festival organisers.
Connecting with fans through social platforms is a great way of staying present and reaching out on a personal level. Inviting fans to comment and like on videos, posts and photos encourages two-way communication and by keeping these platforms regularly updated it gives you a sense of presence as well as giving fans something to look forward to.
As a musician, no matter how successful, its vital to never lose the connection with your fanbase, even whilst trying to build engagement with new audiences. Whilst social media can be great for more generic communications, it can also be used to engage on an almost one-to-one basis with your audience.
Fans want to feel close to you, not only as a performer but as an individual. Giving them something to look for at a performance, for example “'look out for Billy our drummer, wearing his infamous gold headband” or “'when we perform this track, we want everyone to sing along” will make your audience feel connected to you.
This will translate through to your appearance at a live music event – its so important to interact with the crowd and build up a buzz.
Make your performance one to remember
As a band or musician, you might find that a stripped back performance, raw lyrics and acoustic accompaniment are all that's needed to please the crowd, the less is more approach. But this will depend on how established you are as a band, what type of venue you're performing at and what the audience expects based on your past performances.
When it comes to festivals, engaging the crowd from the first chord played or first word sung is a vital part in keeping the interest. There will be bands clashing with one another on the line up and there will generally always be another option to go and see.
Giving the crowd both a visually stimulating performance as well as flawless audio guarantees a more memorable experience. Especially if the band are fairly unknown amongst their musical peers, you want the assurance that they'll remember your name and take further interest in up and coming gigs and album releases.
Publicity stunts are a great way of gaining attention as they are unique to those pulling them. The cleverer they are, the greater the amount of attention they attract as they make for a good story.
Making the stunts as relevant as possible makes it easier for the audience to relate to and understand; the more cryptic they are, the less of an impact they'll have. A really successful publicity stunt is one which carries a message, not matter how silly it is - it can ultimately be a positive reflection of the company/band/artist pulling it.
When you think about performing at a festival, up on stage singing your heart out to hundreds of adoring fans, its unlikely that your first thought will be about what type of music event insurance policy will give you the most comprehensive cover!
It can be a misconception that the venue or the organisers insurance will stretch to cover performers. Purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy really could set you apart from other artists, giving you the added confidence during your performance that if something should go wrong, you won't be personally liable.
With so many emerging bands and artists, finding your own drum beat to walk to can seem a little overwhelming. Using the creative side of the brain to reach out to your audience and deliver unique performances whilst staying true to your fans could be the difference between standing out or being lost in the crowd.