Splendour in the Grass: why big brands are flocking to the event

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 18 April 2019

Splendour in the Grass continues to evolve as both an annual music event and a place for brands to target the highly engaged 18-35 age demographic, with this year's festival touting even more brands and activations.

The festival, which takes place in the North Byron Parklands during July, once again increased ticketing capacity, with each of the event's major sales dates, the Moshtix and Visa pre-sale, plus the main sale, selling out within hours.

This year the festival and its exclusive commercial partner and creative agency, Secret Sounds, are also touting an even bigger line-up of not just bands, but sponsors.

Visa, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Red Bull, The Iconic, Durex, Contiki, Carlton Dry, Strongbow Blossom Rosé Cider, Bonds, Rimmel London and SAE are just a few major names tied up with Splendour in 2019, with more to be announced.

Secret Sounds business director Andy Walsh describes the festival as a "unicorn of sorts", adding that the event is not limited solely to the three-days itself.

He says the agency has worked with its digital partners to create a multi-channel platform that allows brands to engage with fans right up until the festival weekend and in the months following.

"We are seeing a wide range of major brands working with Secret Sounds Connect to create strategic brand programs to light-up human emotions and engage a massive national audience," Walsh says.

"Tickets to Splendour in the Grass are in very high demand, but the journey for those going, and those who wish they were, last up to five months.

"There are key beats of strategic influence, the lineup reveal (tuned-into by millions), the travel plans, food, accommodation, fashion and day planning. It's becomes a long emotive opportunity to engage and be useful to this huge and influential audience."

Walsh says with Splendour now a brand in its own right, it's up to Secret Sounds to find ways to integrate sponsors into it "story and reputation".

Last year the brand welcomed its first major automotive sponsor, Volkswagen, as the event continued to grow its premium offering, also adding a pop-up Chiswick fine dining restaurant.

Secret Sounds also helped develop multiple brand activations, including the Captain Morgan bar, which saw thousands of festival-goers walking the site in bright red Captain Morgan hats.

Online fashion retailer The Iconic will also be building upon its 'laundry club' which it launched at Falls Festival this year, which is also run by Secret Sounds, taking place over summer.

The activation, which from the outside looked as though it was a place for attendees to wash their clothing turned out to be a secret club, featuring DJs and live performances throughout the festival.

"With the growth in attendance comes new opportunities for brands to add value, this could be festival utilities, logistics, entertainment or just doing more great stuff at scale," Walsh says.

"For all partners, we spend time to identify unique territory where they can natively entertain, provide utility or simply add to the Splendour story. For us, the right partner is the partner who wants to truly collaborate and help elevate the experience and stories for young Australians."

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