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Strategic Partnerships for Music Festivals

Andy Robertson

Although external sponsors are a vital part of music festival revenue streams there are times when a strategic partnership may be a more attractive option. Sponsors pay to access the festival audience through marketing and on-site presence but a strategic partner can offer something to the festival organisation that adds value and potentially save them money.

The business model for most music festivals means covering costs through ticket sales and earning a potential profit by selling vendors pitch space and selling sponsor packages. The strategic partnership option will mean taking a different approach to some elements of the festival’s financial model and will appeal to potential partners that want to reach the festival audience perhaps without having the budget for a sponsorship package. 

Forms of Strategic Partnership. 
The strategic partnership is more comparable to old fashioned bartering than an exchange of services for money paid. The music festival has enviable access to a captive audience both online and on-site making it attractive to commercial organisations wishing to reach that audience. The partnership model often manifests itself when an organisation supplying services to the festival foregoes payment in exchange for pitch space and branding. For the potential partner and the festival organisation this can be a win win scenario. 

Types of Partners. 
When considering all the contractors and suppliers needed to make a festival happen the number of opportunities for partnership can be huge. Suppliers of telecoms and Wi-Fi services or VIP food and beverage catering are probably the most common partnerships. They are essential services for the festival organisation and payment can be waived in exchange for advertising and branding opportunities. A telecoms supplier or drinks company may want to promote new products or services and push their brand for example.

Securing Deals. 
The music festival organisation has a valuable commodity in advertising space combined with their captive audience. It’s worth discussing partnership opportunities with suppliers who would ordinarily charge for their services. On occasions a price can be discounted in exchange for some advertising even if it’s just the equipment supplier or a logistics delivery company. There is no magic formula to securing a deal and every strategic partnership will have to be negotiated with the objective of both sides getting a beneficial outcome.

The strategic partnership is an overlooked opportunity for festival organisers to utilise the advertising space they have been unable to sell as sponsorship packages. Organisers can save on the costs of putting on their festival and any strategic partner should lead to a long-term relationship that may lead to closer ties and revenue earning opportunities in the future.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Photo by Thirdman via Pexels.

Andy Robertson
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