Why Music Festivals & T-Shirts Go Hand in Hand

June 6, 2017

Backyard tunes, lighting up the grill and gathering around a fire pit are synonymous with summer evenings and there’s no better evidence of this this than the rising popularity of music festivals.

Like a backyard jam session turned up to eleven, music festivals are a breathtaking display of entertainment, marketing and community. Over the years, few things have been as consistent a partner of music festivals than the festival t-shirt.

At least 32 million people attend at least one music festival each year. According to Billboard, 14.7 million of those attendees were millennials. People travel, on average, about 903 miles to go to a music festival in the United States. In 2015 there were 3.5 million tweets about Coachella in its first weekend alone.

There is a music festival for all different genres. From KCON bringing K-pop stars to the states, to the country crooners at Stagecoach and the Vans Warped Tour made popular by ska and punk rock in the ‘90s, there is something for everyone.

Along with the variety of different festivals out there comes a wide variety of festival attire. And while there is definitely a boho-chic “festival look” that has become almost a cliché in and of itself, there is one piece of attire that will never go out of the style: the t-shirt.

It’s no secret that festival-goers are willing to pay top dollar for an event. Coachella and Stagecoach, both hosted in Indio, California, generate $704 million in economic activity for the area. Platinum badges to SXSW, held in Austin, Texas, can cost up to $1,600 for a single festival attendee. Festival visitors still seek out quality experiences and quality merchandise to commemorate and show off their festival experience.

When merchandising an event, one of the best ways to stand out in the crowd is to provide top-quality items that hit the mark with modern trends. People want style, comfort and quality. Think fabrics with a soft-hand, light cotton or even fabrics made from ring spun combed cotton/poly blends.

A festival t-shirt is one of the best ways to show the outside world that you’re part of a special community. Music festivals are highly-sharable events. From Instagram to Twitter to Facebook, people want to talk about music festivals. One of the quickest ways to get someone interested in an event or product they don’t have is to make them feel they are missing out. The FOMO generated by music festivals (fear of missing out) is almost as essential to a festival’s long-standing success as the headliners they bring in.

To better understand the music festival market, it’s helpful to understand some of its most dedicated fans. Eventbrite found that one out of every five festival attendees spends more on music festival tickets in a year than the other four attendees combined. These mega-fans make up about 20% of the festival-goer population and attend an average of five to six festivals each year. The average age of this group is 32, with an annual average income of 75K. It’s important to take note of this data, since some may assume music festivals are only attended by teens. When you better understand to whom you are selling, the better you can target the market.

The festival market doesn’t start and stop with t-shirts. There is wide-reaching potential for selling to festivals. Whether attendees need cinch backpacks to help carry all their festival swag, want blankets to lounge on while listening to music, or are searching for the perfect cap to shield their eyes from the sun, the options are endless.

Though the music festival industry will continue to experience growing pains over the years as was made evident by the Fyre Festival debacle, it’s pretty safe to say that they will stick around for a while. As long as people enjoy sitting outdoors while listening to music, music festivals (and the festival t-shirt) will continue to thrive.