Festival Season Kicks Off With Grapevine! How Can Brands Use Festivals To Reach Consumers?

Festival Season Kicks Off With Grapevine! How Can Brands Use Festivals To Reach Consumers?

Starting with humble beginnings in 2017, and enduring the COVID-induced festival drought…Grapevine festival is back on the radar, kicking off the start of festival season! Here b&t’s Kristina Yanakieva talks about the brand opportunities posed by festivals.

Grapevine made its second to last stop of the tour in Hunter Valley this past Saturday 21’st of October. After kicking off in its home state of Victoria in the early days of October, the festival made its way through Queensland and WA before touching down in NSW and SA the day to follow.

Hayden James’ fiery set

Hope Estate became home to 8,000 + attendees for the day who trickled in from all over Sydney, Newcastle, and other surrounding coastal suburbs.

The lineup featured both legacy acts like the Wombats as well as major up and coming bands like King Stingray. Some other notable mentions are Spacey Jane and Hayden James who closed out the evening with a fiery set…literally. From indie, to house, to Yolngu surf rock – Grapevine acts tickled the fancies of a widely ranged demographic.

The 34 degree day kept its fans thirsty and its sponsors busy. The core host of the event, Hope Estate, delivered a full range of cold drink options. Between their beer, cider, spirit and wine offerings, there was not an empty hand in the crowd.

Aside from being a family owned and operated working winery, brewery and distillery, the Estate is home to Australia’s largest purpose-built outdoor winery concert amphitheater.

Head of partnerships for Untitled Group, Dwayne Thompson, highlights the value of partnering with wineries for a music festival, because it offers attendees a full weekend getaway experience.

For those that weren’t double parked and had a free hand to pick up a brush – the Pinot & Picasso activation was the spot to be. With a live painting wall running throughout the day, the sponsors upscaled the on-ground experience.

With 75 studios across Australia and 4 newly launched in the UK, Pinot & Picasso is killing it! It’s no wonder that they were the only sponsors that activated at every single stop of Grapevine 2023. “The business was founded on fun times with friends” said marketing communications coordinator, at Pinot & Picasso, Connor Talty – which ties in seamlessly with what this demographic is after.

From a brand growth perspective, Talty finds that being out in front of the public helps people recognize that they have Pinot & Picasso shops near their neighborhoods. I can attest to this as I myself quickly remembered they opened a new location in my suburb just weeks ago, which is now something I’m penciling into my weekend diary!

“People like sharing content, but now It’s completely focused on reaching that audience and emotionalizing them on ground” Dwayne points out. It seems that more and more, brands prioritize experiential activations to reach younger audiences.

Aside from experiences, we wanted to know what other drivers resonate with festival audiences, and the answer to that seems to be a brands story and how it aligns with th3e audiences values. “I think there’s a few brands that are striving to sort of capture the next generation.” Said Dwayne.

One of those brands, being Ugly Vodka. A sustainable Aussie vodka manufacture which reduces waste and emissions while supporting local farmers. They repurpose ugly, reject apples which farmers have no use for, and turn them into vodka! “We love their strategy and think it resonates also with our audience.”

Ugly Vodka team made their way around the festival grounds giving away free drinks to those who were able to answer the story behind the “Ugly” in the product name, turning it into a fun interview-like feature for their socials.

Overall, it seems that brands are still fairly modest with their activations and there’s some resistance to trusting the potential over-promise of attendance in the industry after COVID.

But, according to Thompson, a change is around the corner. “We are definitely seeing everything settled for sure. I think next year’s brands are going to absolutely let things off the leash again.”

From attending Grapevine NSW this year, it was clear to see that despite last year’s last minute cancelation of the NSW event, fans and brands alike were still very much buzzing to get back into it.




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