The instrumental conditioning model offers a somewhat bleak overview of the reasons that millennials buy festival tickets. Yes, it is a relevant model, and for the ‘core group of "superfans" that are the bedrock of the UK's festival scene, attending four or more events a year’ (Savage, 2016) who have tried and liked, or tried and disliked, reinforced or punished for their consumer choices, it is an apt application. However, for those that have researched the festival via online sources, though they are choosing based on their individual wants and needs, they are reviewing and assuming based on others assessments. It is an admirable choice to research as trying various events for those not necessarily as enthusiastic as the hardcore music fan would be an expensive escapade.
There is also consideration of social learning, societal dictation and peer pressure. Large proportions of festival attendees acknowledge that they are societally obligated to attend festival due to the current festival trend. ‘They learn the depicted behaviour (attending festival) regardless of whether or not they are given extra incentives to do so (Bandura, and Grusec and Menlove, 1966: 499 & Bandura, 1971 :7) There is also the pied piper hypothesis in that within any social group ‘some members are likely to command greater attention and then dictate the actions and behaviours of others.’ (Bandura, 1971 :7) ‘This claim would be appropriate with a level of accuracy to the 74% of attendees that attended festival in groups of four or more in 2015/16.’ (UK Festival Award Market Report, 2016: 6)
There is also the case of classical conditioning found throughout the festival industry attributed to sponsors, celebrity endorsements and institutionalised festivals such as Reading, Leeds, Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight. Sponsorship in events is a condition of the corporate landscape that many of our much-loved festival now exist in. “Sponsor-event fit, perceived sincerity of the sponsor, perceived ubiquity of the sponsor, and attitude toward the sponsor are key factors in generating a favourable response from sponsorship. Sponsor-event fit also has interaction effects with perceived status of the event and personal interest in the event.” (Speed and Thompson, 2000: 227) A positive association with a sponsor can influence consumption just as effectively as choice can for others. Event branding is also another consideration that can impact consumption. Reading and Leeds are synonymous with their red and yellow branding continuity whilst the name Glastonbury automatically provokes a thought of the music festival. For marketeers and event managers to truly understand the millennial consumer, it takes careful consideration to recognise all elements of consumer behaviour models to provide a festival package fit for all.
Baby Boomers were the pioneers of the popular music genre and sub-genres. The creativity, the amount of new music available and the buying music consumption created a youth culture concerned with music. Festival’s had limited facilities, but the culturally defining performances by acts like The Who at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, 1969 and Deep Purple at the California Jam, 1974, rendered everything apart from the music obsolete. Millennials, however, are much more savvy, experience led, yearning for a complete and comfortable festival package. Event managers have recognised this, applying a home from home experience complete with artisanal food vendors, branded and sponsored stalls, ample toilet facilities, camping, glamping, yurts, Winnebago’s, clean drinking water, after event entertainment, amongst other aesthetically and experiential pleasing niceties. These additions have taken away in part the music culture of the event, but has nonetheless increased visitation on masse to the point that in 2015, music festivals generated “£1.1bn towards the UK economy” (UK Music, 2015)
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