The music festival season is well and truly here. Every year, the same festivals appear again and again, along with a handful of new additions trying to get a slice of the pie. Every year, however, they emerge with a slightly different look and feel. Sure – their core ethoses and sense of identity remain the same, but the way they brand themselves changes in order to maintain a fresh and appealing façade to both new and returning visitors. Visual identity is as important for the majority of these festivals as the experience of visitors.
Below are 5 music festivals, both old and new. Some have already taken places this year; others are still to come. Each one attempts to appeal to a different audience. The branding of a festival can help it to claim ownership of a niche. A festival with a powerful brand not only attracts high volumes of fans, but also the most in-demand performers. Here is a summary of what each festival stands for and how it’s trying to set itself apart from the crowd:
Primavera Sound Festival
Primavera Sound is an annual music festival that takes place in Barcelona. It often has an eclectic line-up, and this is reflected in its bold and visually brave branding. Adverts and imagery associated with the festival this year includes illustrations of people bound by ropes and padlocks. What does this mean? Who knows. It’s memorable, intriguing, and most importantly fits the image of the festival that its organisers desire to convey.
3 words to describe the festival’s branding: eclectic, bold, intriguing.
Download Festival is a rock and metal festival that takes place every year in the UK. It prides itself on having a nasty edge but a welcoming and all-inclusive atmosphere. Flames, horns and growling dogs can be seen aplenty across its branding, but this never oversteps the line. Download Festival needs to have a sinister feel to fit the themes and mood of the performers it hosts, but almost does so with a wink and nudge. It plays on its darker side to great effect.
3 words to describe the festival’s branding: looming, aggressive, self-aware.
Eaux Claires Festival
Eaux Claires a new festival that will take place for the first time this July in Wisconsin. It’s the brainchild of Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, of the bands Bon Iver and The National respectively. It’s being billed as a back-to-basics, small town festival in the woods of Eau Claire and was first announced through a video about the festival and the heritage of the surrounding Chippewa River Valley.
Line-ups were posted to ticket holders in the mail before an official announcement was made:
To make this work, we need early leaders. You are among them. To show our appreciation for your support at the start, here’s a sneak peek at just one of the many artists from the lineup we’re assembling:
We encourage you to share your artists by tagging this information #eauxclaires and broadcasting it in any way you choose. In this way, three quarters of the lineup can be discovered before the full reveal.
3 words to describe the festival’s branding: warm, simple, clean.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Festival bills itself as the where the best figures from alternative music, both past and present, convene for a weekend of fun and musically diverse performances. The online music site is perceived by many to have added much fuel to the hipster movement of recent times and its critiques on new releases can often make or break up and coming musicians. They are self-proclaimed tastemakers, and the branding of the festival is refined, quirky, and driven by art and design. It aims for something out of the ordinary and high-brow, and mostly succeeds in doing so. Its logo, for example, is an animated GIF.
3 words to describe the festival’s branding: refined, artistic, sleek.
Glastonbury Festival, or “Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts” isn’t just a music festival. It’s an event in the cow fields of England’s West Country that’s home to all kinds of art forms. Its branding aims to reflect this, albeit in a somewhat dated and unrefined way. Its logo and identity look like a slightly tweaked form of Word Art and Clip Art and the festival’s website is equally as confusing and void of artistic inspiration. For Glastonbury though, branding and identity is an afterthought. What matters for this festival is what goes on in its fields, and its lack of a strong visual identity is made up for in its meaning.
3 words to describe the festival’s branding: simple, free, easy.