We were greeted on the morning of day one with blue skies (and barrels) that would see the ultimate start to our Splendour experience. However, it wasn't always going to be that smooth, as a shock hail storm struck as we were walking in, and this would be the last time we saw any grass at Splendour. No doubt this provided a huge spike in gumboot sales for the northern New South Wales retail sector and it remains the best $50 spent for me, essentially providing a $15-$20 per day accommodation for my feet. The blue skies would return no sooner than 30 minutes later, but the mud had taken over the grass.
Thanks to Virgin Mobile, we were provided with the best possible experience to witness one of Australia's top three-day festivals. There was no doubt a number of personal highlights, including Miike Snow, Tame Impala, Azelia Banks, The Gossip and Yuksek, but the main aspect that impressed me, and essentially was the reason why we were there, was seeing what a brand can do to to enhance the experience for festival attendees, management and artists alike, while ultimately delivering value back to its coffers.
Below is a summary of the highlights from our Virgin experience of Splendour in the Grass. Looking at things from a festival organiser's point of view, Virgin's sponsorship made the ultimate festival wishlists come true, from Live Streaming, Mobile Applications, through to customer benefits such as the Posh Pits and Wristband technology.
We were taken on a tour of the backstage area where the Live Stream was conducted like a broadcast that you would expect to see at a major sporting event. With a cost that runs into six figures, you can see why sponsors play a pivotal role in a Festival's product mix. Watch the rest of the Live Streaming here, including artist interviews and live performances. The results of this year's live streaming proved to be the second largest in Australia's history.
Some key numbers from the livestream include:
Mobile Applications at Festivals have become somewhat of the norm these days, especially the bigger, multi-day events. However, a good one is hard to come by, and most of them tend to get too confusing to use. However, the SITG app, in cahoots with Virgin Mobile, was the first one I relied heavily on at an event, providing the much needed planner functionality and the basic map (for the first day). The torch application was also handy at times. There were a couple of flaws, namely, the push notification didn't show the name of the acts playing.
After Day One, we, along with Virgin Mobile customers, were invited to the exclusive Channel V Recovery Party at The Beach Hotel. This included (and was a compulsory part of our Virgin experience) beers from 9:30am and/or Not So Virgin Bloody Marys. It also provided us with a sneak peek at Billy Corgan, which caused a buzz amongst the lucky few that were gracing the famous beer garden. This was once again another great activation and provided the necessary motivation for us to kick day two off.
What looked more like a Mosh Pit when we first turned up (due to the hail storm), the value of the Posh Pit was realised as the mud slowly took over the festival. Exclusive to Virgin Mobile customers, we continued to find ourselves turning up back at the Posh Pit due to the lack of queues for the toilets.
Probably the least valuable activation (but a nice touch all the same) was the Star Treatment Stop in Broadwater, approximately an hour away from Byron. It provided an excellent bump of excitement as we neared the festival. Coffee, some lollies and great chat with Virgin Angels were included too. However, not sure being man-handled was what we were expecting, although it is clear that this didn't matter in the photo above.
July 31, 2012 by Kyle Bell