SXSW Best Fest For Reaching Music And Tech Tastemakers

With this year's keynote speech from no other than Snoop Dogg, perhaps it is not surprising that music is the largest association with the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW), according to Horizon Media's Finger on the Pulse survey.

But for those who are aware of or have attended SXSW, new technology is also a strong interest driver. To that end, among those who are aware of the event, 20% say technology is the single most important driver of their interest in festivals, compared to 11% of those unaware of SXSW. Likewise, 24% of past SXSW attendees go to festivals primarily for the technology, versus just 12% of those who haven't previously attended SXSW.

Men are more likely to be aware of SXSW than women (40% vs. 31%) and men are more likely to say technology is what would drive them to a festival (20% vs. 9% for women). However, when it comes to SXSW attendance, nearly as many women as men reported that they had attended the festival.

“It’s not surprising that for most consumers, music rules at festivals," says Kirk Olson, VP of Trendsights at Horizon Media. "But the fact that people who know or go to SXSW have a stronger tech orientation than most speaks to their unique, multidisciplinary mindset. They want to stay on the cusp of creative innovation wherever it can be found.”

SXSW stands out from other festivals because of its multidisciplinary offerings -- incorporating music, film, technology, and speakers, which covers all major bases for what draws consumers in. It is this confluence of activities that has helped SXSW rise in the ranks. More than two-thirds (36%) of adults are aware of SXSW, which lands the event above all other music festivals aside from Coachella. Among other well-known multi-day events, Sundance Film Festival has the highest awareness (74%), followed by the Tribeca Film Festival (53%), Burning Man (42%), Coachella (40%), Bonnaroo (31%), TED conference (28%), Electric Zoo (20%), and the USA Science & Engineering Festival (20%).

Still, while other festivals may have higher awareness, they do not offer the same kind of multifaceted environment that SXSW does, says Olson. “SXSW sponsors can maximize their investment by using social media to help event attendees and followers connect the creative dots between the different tracks. Sponsored posts, native advertising, real-time tweets about the interdisciplinary best of the fest. All of these can lead to viral sharing and incremental reach. It’s also the perfect time for brands to experiment with Instagram’s new carousel ad format.”

Weather and location are not major factors in determining festival attendance. Ultimately, music is the largest draw to get consumers to any festival (34%), followed by films (13%), celebrities (8%), interesting speakers (7%), and networking opportunities (7%)



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