Ever since launching in 2012, Firefly Music Festival has stood out for the way it engages with fans to make each show bigger and better than the one before. Annual talent surveys have been a major part of this strategy, but now producer Red Frog Events is taking the idea even further.
In 2017, Firefly will become the world’s first fan-curated music festival and Red Frog Events will give more than 90,000 fans the opportunity to input on everything from line-up and camping options to merchandise and on-site attractions.
“We’ve conducted talent surveys at Firefly for years,” says Christiane Pheil, Red Frog Events’ Head of Creative Programming. “Then, it hit us – people love being integrated into the process, so why don't we expand it beyond talent?”
Firefly isn’t the first festival to learn that a fan-focused approach is a great way to drive growth and improve brand loyalty, but gathering so much feedback does present some unique challenges. That’s why Firefly’s team has learned to focus on three primary channels for engaging fans…
In addition to the annual talent survey, Firefly also sends extensive surveys to get an insight into what fans liked and disliked about the show each year.
“We incentivize people to fill them out,” says Christiane. “The more information we can get on how to improve, the better.”
“Typically, the vocal people on social media have been upset by something,” says Christiane. “By listening, you put yourself in a great position to win those people back.”
Firefly isn’t the first festival to discover the importance of meeting fans face-to-face, but Christiane emphasises it at as vital channel for finding out what fans think.
“Identify your superfans and lean on them to build your army,” advises Christiane. “They are crucial in building a community and helping people feel connected to your event.”
While Firefly is proud to make headlines as the world’s first fan-curated festival right now, Christiane is hopeful the format will soon prove successful enough to extend to other Red Frog shows in the future.
“One component I’m really excited about is the profile fans have to create to get involved. We will be able to cater individual experiences based on demographic, music preference, survey history, etc. For example – you could log into fireflyfestival.com and the content on the homepage would all be catered to you. Live in Philly? Here's a calendar of every Firefly artist playing in Pennsylvania next month.
“Customizable or personalized content is what the next festival generation is looking for,” says Christiane. “That’s the concept which guides us and, honestly, the opportunities for growth are endless.”
Find out more about Firefly Music Festival a fireflyfestival.com or explore the StreetTeam blog to find more advice about how to grow your music festival or live event