Exploring Loyalty to Music Festivals: The Case of Roskilde Festival

Vivien Hódi & Valeria Bottiglione

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The music festival industry has experienced a huge expansion over the past decades. However, the competition has made the future less than certain. The growing number of players entering the market combined with the rising costs of facilities and artists’ fees is forcing festival organizers to seek new ways to stay attractive and generate loyalty. Engaging with the audience has become more than ever important. For music festivals to survive it is crucial to create, develop and maintain long-lasting consumer relationships. Technology advances have fundamentally changed the consumer-brand interactions. Through social media, brands can keep connections with consumers throughout the year. At the same time, the offline experience still represents the primary benefit that festival-goers value. The aim of this thesis was to explore the creation of loyalty in a music festival context by investigating the nature and motives of such interactions. The case of Roskilde Festival has been chosen, as the largest music and cultural event in Northern Europe, and currently affected by the increased competition in the Danish music festival industry. A theoretical framework was created based on brand-consumer relationship theory in order to examine how consumer engagement on Roskilde Festival Facebook page as well as in the offline context influence the attendees’ attachment to the brand, psychological sense of community and brand loyalty. To test the theoretical framework, eight in-depth interviews were conducted with four first-time visitors and four repeat visitors, who were also asked to fill in a questionnaire. By assessing respondents before and after the event, similarities and differences emerged regarding their offline and Facebook brand-related activities. Results show that before the event, attendees are mainly concerned about information on both the brand Facebook page and offline from friends, which mainly influenced the cognitive component of brand attachment. During the event, offline engagement played a central role for the development of love, passions and emotions for the brand, which are strengthen by the offline psychological sense of community (PSOC). After the event, participants engaged in brand-related activities by consuming the festival Facebook page content, and sharing thoughts and memories about the experience with friends, largely motivated by social interaction and self-expressive reasons. The three-phase process of engagement is what leads festivalgoers to establish a strong emotional bond with the brand, which consequently generate word-of-mouth (WOM) and re-attendance intention. Surprisingly, the most experienced visitors showed less enthusiasm in promoting and recommending the brand, as opposed to first-time visitors who display great excitement in advocating for it. Findings reveal that the brand Facebook page is mostly regarded as a mere source of information along the experience. Its role changed after the event because of the increased emotional attachment to the brand, resulted from the offline experience. This explains why PSOC on the brand Facebook page was found relevant only after the event, hence regarded as an outcome of brand attachment, rather than a moderator. 1 The participants’ need for self-expression combined with their passive engagement on the brand Facebook page suggested Roskilde Festival inability in successfully convey its brand identity, elicit emotions and build a community in which festivalgoers could reflect themselves and contribute to. The insights of this study provide a holistic and consumer-centric perspective on loyalty to music festival brands. We present a theoretical foundation for academics to reconsider and improve conceptual research models. Roskilde Festival organizers can employ these insights to manage consumer relationships in both the virtual and offline settings, by focusing on the individual´s different needs at each step of the relationship. Suggestions for future research include confirmatory researches testing the application of online-contextrelated model to offline music festival settings

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages294
SupervisorsNiels Kornum