Where fans meet stars, virtually and physically

Where fans meet stars, virtually and physically

I spent last week at my first ever Tamworth Country Music Festival and was blown away at what an entrepreneurial and forward thinking organisation Destination Tamworth is.

I was there facilitating a location-based mobile engagement experience. And who doesn’t want one of those experiences? No seriously, we were there to help Destination Tamworth allow people to interact immediately on their Smartphones with FanZone, enter competitions and vote for their favourite new talent in the Star Maker competition.

The Festival’s FanZone concept was genius. It was new this year and provided a physical and virtual hub where stars, punters and marketers collided – providing enormous opportunities for marketers to genuinely engage with fans.

FanZone, the shed and the content accessed by the Boxtcode Fanz, provided incredible access to the country music stars of today and tomorrow.

Feedback from fans and marketers alike was really quite phenomenal.

In the physical FanZone shed new emerging talent performed and were instantly broadcast onto social media.

Gavin Flanagan, Events Manager for Destination Tamworth, had the epiphany on a trip to Nashville and created FanZone.

It became the central meeting point both physically and online and a compass or road map for Festival activities. Fans would check in, head out and then return. Marketers responded with amazing giveaways like cars from Toyota in the FanZone.  FanZone was a great hub both on and offline.

As those who have travelled to the Festival before will attest, Tamworth has long been the home of great marketing ideas.

For the past 15 years or so the Toyota hat giveaway has had fans lined up along Peel Street. You pay $2 for a hat (country music style of course) and Toyota donate that $2 to The Melanoma Foundation.

The Telstra photo booth for social sharing was a huge hit as you can imagine.

As an event for marketers, accessibility to stars and fans was very different to the protracted and often nonsensical city negotiations with talent and their management. There was no pretence.  Organisers were agile. Other marketers attending were incredibly helpful and generous. Yes I heard you. What planet was he on again?

Stars and big brands really gave access to one another enhancing the experience for fans immeasurably. I thought to myself on many occasions during the week that something was missing. What was it? Oh yes…. There was no sense of ego. Again, an unusual experience for a city surfer like myself. The event truly was about showcasing amazing talent and doing right by fans and sponsors.

So my advice is come to Tamworth – open up your eyes and your mind – and you’ll spot an opportunity. Oh and the music rocks! Am I allowed to say that? See yawl at Fanzone in 2014!

Vincent Kelly (pictured with Becci Cole) is director of marketing for Boxtcode.

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