The importance of core intrinsic moments – Bestival

Whether it was that time you were (almost) set on fire by a steam punk drag queen, or wrestled your best friend dressed as a Kigu chicken, it’s fair to say your experiences at festival weekends are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Retold with friends over several glasses of wine, like battle scars, they become personal folklore you wear with pride and even sometimes a healthy pinch of regret.


Treasuring these experiences more than most is Joe Elkins, Marketing & Sponsorship at Bestival who was speaking as part of Pretty Green’s event, The Clearing: The Long Term Gains From a Moment in Time.


Launching in 2004, Bestival was an immediate hit on the festival scene, making their mark with costumes that saw them become the biggest fancy dress party in the world. It was this unique offer that Joe enthuses was so central to the experience, landing them devotees and word of mouth publicity for years to come.


Working at Bestival for the past 10 years, Joe recounts with glee his first visit in 2006, an experience that would prove pivotal to his future career. His tenure has overseen the likes of Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Missy Elliott grace the Bestival stage, mind-blowing headliners any festival would trade on. But, with the ever-increasing circle of festivals, Joe is outspoken about their efforts to stand-out in a crowded market, and reconnect with what ticket buyers will really remember about the brand…their experience.


On a crusade to bring ‘the experience’ back to the core values of the festival, Joe and the Team at Bestival are hell bent on re-shaping the fabric of this behemoth event in 2017, and how the music is fundamental to making Bestival what it is, but actually most people can’t remember who headlined, they just remember having an amazing experience (and nearly falling off the pier).


Citing the Rizla experiences which ran for years (something that Strings was heavily involved in, in a previous life) which showcased both established and emerging artists. The activity won the brand a devoted fan base and genuine advocacy – with festival goers still lamenting the loss of the stage to this day.


Joe also talked fondly about the creation of an experience for the Irish Tourist Board, which originally felt incredibly dry, but by working with Joe and the Bestival Team they created an amazing immersive experience called Shenanigans.


Both experiences adding real value to both Bestival and the festival goer. Something that brands all too often forget, “you’re there to build on the festival, not to compete” or  Joe touched upon one of his big commitments in the next few years, which is to help deliver even better brand eperiences at the festival.