Branding Festivalization Assembling a coveted experience


  • Large, shared, communal gatherings innate to human existence
  • “Festival” showed up in 16th century "festus” meaning “joyus”
  • Music festivals have been around since Ancient Greece.
  • However, the relationship between music and lived experience has been left under-explored (Olsen and Gould 2008)


  • Woodstock, 1969; paved the way for music festival culture in post-modernism
  • Since then internet has collided with music - creating surge of mega-festivals
  • A lot of things to manage: music artists, media, security, wristbands, food vendors, water supplies, bathrooms, emergency medical services, attendees, volunteers, trash/recycling, sound equipment, stages

CONTEXT: Lollapalooza - Chicago, Illinois

Preliminary Research Questions:

1) How does the materiality of experiential marketing shape, frame, add to and/or detract from the festival experience?

2) What makes experiential marketing a success?

3) What does commercial sponsorship add/detract from the assemblage of a music festival experience?

4) How does the materiality of smart phones, web 2.0, and/or augmented/virtual reality shape, frame or limit the festival experience?

Never heard of Lollapalooza? Check it out:


Hannah Maisel conducts a depth interview with Toyota Brand Ambassador

Depth Interviews

  • Interviews ranging from 10 minutes to 42 minutes in length
  • 30 depth interviews total
  • n=?
  • Informant age range 17-48
  • Developed a question protocol in the Spring. Made adjustments throughout the time at Lollapalooza

Field Notes

  • Notes and photos were taken to capture phenomena observed


  • Step 1: Compiled recorded interviews, photos, videos, and notes
  • Step 2: Data review and discussion of emerging themes and patterns
  • Step 3: Literature review of related topics


  • What materialities must exist to create a coveted experience?
  • How do brands successfully market themselves in this environment?
  • How to brand in chaos, how to create an experience in an experience, help relive it, what makes it authentic?

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