According to Horizon Media’s latest Finger on the Pulse Study — the agency’s proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the U.S. population — music remains the biggest draw to the South by Southwest festival, followed by technology and innovation.
South by Southwest is one of the only major festivals that transcends music and incorporates film, technology, and speakers, drawing an eclectic crowd. While the other aspects are a draw, music is the number one topic that interests more than one third of consumers when selecting a festival to attend; 34% of survey respondents chose music as the single most important draw of festivals and agreed “I want to see the bands that I like and learn about new ones.”
Technology follows music as a driving factor of attendance; 14% said technology is the biggest festival draw and agreed “I want to be on the forefront of checking out what’s coming next.” However, those who are aware of SXSW are almost twice as likely as those who aren’t to say that new technology is their main driver to attend any festival; two in ten of the former (20%) said tech is their top festival draw, compared to one in ten (11%) of the latter.
Other drivers of festival attendance speak to the multifaceted content offered at South by Southwest. 13% of survey participants stated that they want to see what films made it to festivals, and what might win an award. 8% said that they’re interested in seeing celebrities who might be attending or be performing, and 7% said they’re most interested in what industry leaders will say during keynotes or speeches. The event is also a networking event for many, as 7% state “whether socially or professionally, I want to be around the types of people that attend.”
“This year, SXSW sponsors can maximize their investment by using social media to help event attendees and followers connect the creative dots between the different tracks,” said Kirk Olson, VP of Trendsights at Horizon Media. “Sponsored posts, native advertising, real-time tweets about the interdisciplinary best of the fest. All of these can lead to sharing and incremental reach. It’s also the perfect time for brands to experiment with Instagram’s new carousel ad format.”
Over one third of consumers (36%) are aware of SXSW, driven by males (40% vs. 31% of females). This falls right in the middle of the pack of awareness of other major music, film and technology festivals. Festivals with the highest levels of awareness are Sundance Film Festival (74%), Tribeca
Film Festival (53%), and Burning Man music festival (42%). 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).
Finger on the Pulse empowers the agency to connect directly with 3,000 consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights.