How music festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo create great events and form a closer bond with music fans (and how you can use these lessons for your corporate event)

One of the best ways to get ideas for corporate events is to look at other large-scale, successful events. Music festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo are one of the most popular types of events today, with hundreds of thousands of people attending music festivals each year. The high energy, the combination of key offerings with newer content, and the high-level organization in these events make it easy to use lessons from music festivals for corporate events.

Music festivals perform a key function that all corporate events should seek to emulate: Giving people what they want, then making them realize they want more.

The promise of popular bands and a great atmosphere draw people in to music festivals. Once there, though, there are many more offerings, including lesser-known brands and sponsors. Similarly, you should bring in your audience with a certain offering or goal, and use that key theme to introduce new information and induce change. How else can you incorporate music festival ideas into your corporate event? Read on…

A Clear Point of View

Successful music festivals, and successful corporate events, know who they are and how to present themselves. The message sent by a music festival like the Warped Tour is crystal-clear and consistent, and so should your message.

Creating Emotional Energy

Music festivals are emotionally charged. The right lighting, sound system, music and environment combine to make an exciting, fun atmosphere. Creating a high level of emotional energy is one of the best ways to use lessons from music festivals for corporate events. Although your goal might not be to make employees dance, you can work to make the atmosphere inspiring and exciting, thus encouraging employees to implement later what they learn at the event.


At music festivals, attendees have access to a number of activities that go beyond the main festival, such as food and drink, games run by corporate sponsors, and lounges. Similarly, you can increase retention and add value to your event by breaking it up with various activities, such as small group activities, mixers, and food and drink.

Maintaining Momentum

Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo don’t stop when the festival is over. Throughout the year, music festivals maintain momentum with methods like:

  • Social media presence
  • Spotlighting fan creativity
  • Releasing CDs and videos from the festival

Similarly, corporate event organizers should seek to maintain momentum and implement change that goes far beyond the event itself. You can build up excitement and/or exclusivity prior to the event. After the event, follow through by implementing new programs or giving people an opportunity to reflect on their experiences.

The “corporate music festival approach” is one that is gaining traction all over the country. If you’d like to learn more about how to use lessons from music festivals for corporate events, One Smooth Stone would love to help.

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on October 29,2013. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing



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