Street Team Marketing: Here to Stay or Fading Away?

StreetTeam-PostersGrowing up in independent music, I heard the word “street team” thrown around quite a bit. Fans signed up for a band or label’s street team and got a package of stickers, buttons, maybe some t-shirts and posters and informed friends and others about said musical entity. Street team members got into shows or VIP events for free and were continually sent free merchandise, and all they had to do is tell people about records and upcoming shows.

With the social media era however, street teams have mostly faded out … or so I thought.

My friend (we’ll call her Jane) recently brought street teams back to my attention. She was a part of the street team for What the Festival (WTF) earlier this year.

This intrigued me, as I haven’t thought about street teams for awhile. So I talked to a few people to try and find out whether or not street teams are relevant in 2016. Are festivals still using street teams? What about indie bands and labels?

A quick search revealed that Summer Camp Festival, Summer Set Festival, The Untz Festival and Bonnaroo (among others) have active street teams. Extending to the punk scene, Gainesville’s The Fest has a street team.

Colleges, businesses, trade shows and nonprofits also utilize street teams, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the music industry.

The Details
I thought that, since I already had the EDM-insider from Jane, I would reach out to Sarasvati from The Fest and see how they use street teams. After all, I’ve always wanted to go, so if there was some sort of free ride in, I wanted to know about it.

“We send posters and postcards for street teamers to put up around their area. That’s the only job we ask them to do,” replied Sarasvati upon me asking her what a street team member did. “There is no compensation.” I asked how many members their team had and where they were located. Sarasvati’s answer surprised me. “We don’t actively look for members … we had less than 10 people email us asking to participate this year. They were from all over the country.” Hmm… is this a sign that street teams are dying out?

I compared that to what Jane told me about WTF. “Basically, [I promoted WTF] through social media, and I did posters last year too,” she explained. “I had a ticket link and when people used my ticket link, I got points toward a free ticket and prizes. Some of the social media posts also got you points toward your ticket.”

WTF seemed to have a more effective street team and intriguing incentives. I asked Jane if the people who bought tickets from her would have bought them regardless. To my surprise, she said yes. “All of my friends went, so it was just convenient that I had the ticket link to get points. It’s more about who you know, and we happened to have a big group of us going to WTF, so they just helped me out by using my link.”

The Verdict
It seems that with large, well-known festivals, traditional street teams may be unnecessary, as people who attend those festivals would do so regardless. That said, street teams work well if the end goal is to get a crowd energized and build excitement, not necessarily to sell tickets. For example, Daft Punk did a creative online and traditional street team campaign to promote an album launch.

Get Street Team writes, “The key to street team marketing success, whether executed online, offline or both is recruiting fans who are truly passionate about your brand.”

Other Options

Email lists
Subscription lists are not spam … or at least, they don’t have to be if done correctly. Essentially, if you can get people to sign up for your email list, you can let them know about your next event. If they care about your brand, they’ll probably be interested in what you’re doing, and if they’ve signed up for your list, you have their permission to tell them about it.

Booth Marketing
Consider booth marketing at a festival within the same genre to spread the word. Avoid the same season as your event, so that you’re not in competition. Give out cool swag and ask attendees to sign up for your mailing list or follow you on social media. Personally connecting with potential attendees and answering questions on the spot can extend your reach and help gain new fans.

Keep in mind that my opinions come from an outsider’s perspective. How do you use your street team? How effective is it? Comment below or let me know your thoughts on Twitter @Robolitious.

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How to Build Brand Trust with Your Event Lineup

Photo-EventsLineUp

Love all different kinds of music? That’s great and all, but if you’re a festival organizer just starting out, you might want to refrain from including a diverse array of music in your lineup.

Here’s why.

Many nascent festival organizers think booking a wide variety of genres in their lineup will pull in an eclectic crowd and possibly sell more tickets. That’s a common mistake. Audiences want to know what to expect and be surrounded by folks with similar tastes.

Careful curation of acts keeps your brand consistent.

This isn’t to say that an event with a varied selection of acts can’t be successful, but generally, those festivals and events have already established themselves as a reliable brand. An event like Bonnaroo can get away with a range and feature hip-hop, indie rock and metal acts, but they’ve spent years building their brand. When they were starting out, their curation was dialed into jam bands and folk rock.

Pickathon in Happy Valley, Oregon is a strong example of a carefully curated event that established a reliable brand before branching out. Founded in the late 90s, Pickathon started as a party in the woods for like-minded music lovers.

While Pickathon was fairly laid-back in its early years, careful consideration was given to the acts that played the festival. Generally, they were acoustic, folk-inspired bands with “alternative” leanings—a genre that didn’t have many exposure outlets at the time.

Attract a Devoted Audience

By choosing gifted acts within a specific genre, they attracted a devoted audience that stayed faithful to the festival. Fans began to trust that the event organizers would deliver a quality lineup every year.

As the years progressed, this trust allowed Pickathon to become more adventurous with their booking while still drawing crowds. Once their identity was established, they didn’t have to rely as much on the bands or a specific genre to pull people; the people came because they trusted the festival to deliver quality acts year after year.

Now the festival features many bands that fall outside of the “acoustic” genre though it is still based heavily on acoustic-based acts. Audiences are turned on to incredible up-and-coming artists year after year. In fact, organizers estimate that 80 to 90 percent of Pickathon’s lineup consists of bands the audience is unfamiliar with.

It’s a testament to the quality of the lineup selection that audiences trust them to deliver their next new favorite band.

Find Your Identity  

BPT_Music_Festival _Graphic-01Careful, considered curation allows event organizers to dial-in their branding and discover their audience. While it may be tempting to be wildly diverse right out of the gate, your event will take longer to find an identity.

If you lack identity, it is hard for fans to identify your brand.

Be consistent in the beginning. Build trust. Once they trust your brand, expand your roster. Include acts that may fall outside your focal genre. Just make sure there’s something that will appeal to the audience you have built. They trust you to deliver, so don’t let them down.

Building that trust should be your number one goal as an event organizer. Once you have that, the sky is the limit.

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12th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

NYBF_2014Jen Gapay and Angie Pontani are no slouches. Not only have they created the biggest and grandest burlesque festival of its kind in the New York Burlesque Festival, now celebrating its 12th year, but they both have very impressive resumes outside of the festival.

As a performer, burlesque extraordinaire, Angie Pontani, “The Italian Stallionette,” was a key player in establishing NYC’s burlesque scene. She won burlesque’s most prestigious award, “Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World” in 2008 and has toured multiple runs in the United States, Italy, Australia, Spain and Hong Kong, earning the title of “Best International Touring Artist of 2009,” by The Naked City/Alternative Media Group of Australia. As a producer she has produced the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s The Titans of Tease, the 53rd Annual Striptease Reunion Showcase and the Saturday Night Competition. She was co-creator of the off-Broadway hit, This is Burlesque as well the on-going U.S. tour, Burlesque-A-Pades, starring the “#1 Burlesque Attraction in the Nation”(AOL.com), The World Famous Pontani Sisters. Angie will also be featured in the PBS series Great Performances, performing live at Lincoln Center with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. This is scheduled to air on PBS on October, 24, 2014.

Jen Gapay is the founder of Thirsty Girl Productions, which debuted in 1997 in Seattle with Capitol Hill Block Party, now one of the largest annual urban music festivals in the country. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Promotions Director at the Village Voice, where she created and produced the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island. Other notable accomplishments include the New York Boylesque Festival, which she co-produces with famed NYC producer Daniel Nardicio, and the Coney Island Talent Show, now in its fourth year. She was also the artistic director for the Dresden Dolls’ F**k the Back Row tour in 2006 and talent coordinator for several of their tours in the USA, Europe and Australia. This is just a smattering of what she’s done.

From Thursday, September 25th to Sunday, September 28th, they’ll host the 12th annual New York Burlesque Festival. You can pick up full festival passes from Brown Paper Tickets HERE, and we advise you grab some ’cause they’re going quick.

We were able to chat with Angie and Jen about the festival and burlesque in New York. Jen shared some advice to event organizers and producers considering having a festival.

Wow. 12 years is quite an accomplishment. What do you feel is the secret behind the festival’s success and longevity?

Jen Gapay: Thank you. I feel that having the festival in NYC has helped the festival grow.  Everyone wants to come to New York to visit and everyone wants to come to New York to perform and that has been extremely helpful. Also Angie and I work together well as producers, run a tight ship and know how to put on a good show, so our festival has a good reputation from performers and patrons and you can’t buy that.

What performers are you especially excited for this year and why?

Jen Gapay: I am particularly excited to see Imogen Kelly from Australia perform this year. She is an amazing performer who is known as Australia’s Queen of Burlesque and also took the title of Queen of Burlesque in 2012 at The Burlesque Festival Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. She has a variety of styles and is a very visual performer, and one not to miss.

It seems that the line-up of performers is more focused on performers from NYC.  Do you feel that the pool of talent is growing in New York as burlesque becomes more popular?

Angie Pontani:
Our line-up is definitely chock-full of NYC performers, but how could it not be? New York City is home to the biggest and fastest growing burlesque community in the world, we have an insane wealth of talent here. I think that is in part to burlesque becoming more popular and also because this is New York, a thriving hot bed for the performing arts as well as one of the birthplaces of the new-burlesque resurgence. But the festival also brings in performers from around the globe. This year we have folks from Australia, Helsinki, London, Canada, New Zealand and more, not to mention representation from just about every state in the union.

Do you feel that your audiences are made of predominantly New Yorkers or do folks travel to come to the festival every year? 

Angie Pontani: We get a good amount of New Yorkers, but there are a lot of people who come to town for the weekend, some make it an annual tradition. If you’re a burlesque fan,  what better vacation can you have then catching your favorite performers from around the globe right here in the Big Apple?

How has the New York burlesque scene changed since you started the festival 12 years ago? What makes the New York scene unique?

Angie Pontani: The scene has changed and evolved over the years. When we started 12 years ago it was much smaller. We didn’t have as much of an application process, we just invited everyone we knew in burlesque and that was about 60 people mostly from NYC, LA or New Orleans. Now we are sifting through over 300 applications from all over the world.  Burlesque has grown exponentially and one of the coolest things about seeing all these performers is you get a feel for the burlesque scene where they come from. Every city has its own vibe: Chicago is really theatrical, Texas is big and showy, LA has an ultra-glam spirit, New Orleans has the blues and New York has everything.

Tell us a little about the all-new Burlesque Bazaar.

Jen Gapay:  The Burlesque Bazaar is a new event we just added to the festival last year.  It’s taking place on Sunday, September 28th at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn and will feature over a dozen vendors showcasing costumes, vintage clothing, corsets, feather accessories, pasties, Burly-Q’s Nell’s pop up burlesque museum and even Fredini’s 3-D Scan-A-Rama that can scan your image right on site. We will also have a Q&A with burlesque legend Val Valentine and feature a live pinup shoot on stage with Don Spiro and stars of the festival. Plus, this event is free.

Brown Paper Tickets is seeing burlesque festivals pop up all over the country. Now every state seems to have its own festival. What is the number one piece of advice you would give to a burlesque producer who’s thinking of starting a festival in his/her town?

Jen Gapay: I think in order to produce a successful burlesque festival, it really helps to have  a thriving burlesque scene already built into the community, so make sure you have that before doing it.

Thanks to Jen and Angie for taking the time to chat. If you’re in the New York area next weekend, be sure to check out this world-class showcase of the best that burlesque has to offer.

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Tuesday Tease: The 11th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

NYBF_2013_400pxIt’s time, once again, for the biggest burlesque event to hit the Big Apple: the 11th Annual New York Burlesque Festival. The whole thing kicks off this Thursday, September 26 and organizers Angie Pontani and Jen Gapay (of Thirsty Girl Productions) always put on an unforgettable show. This festival is not only the longest running annual burlesque festival, but it has become one of the festivals that other producers look to for inspiration.

Every sub-genre of burlesque is represented: boylesque, neo-burlesque, nerdlesque, etc. Just one gander at this year’s lineup is enough to make your head (or tassels) spin. There are performers from nearly every corner of the planet: the UK, Sweden, Italy, Australia, even Russia! Basically, if you want to witness what is going on with burlesque in 2013, look no further. It’s all represented at this world-class festival.

We interviewed Jen last year in honor of their 10th anniversary and I encourage you all to check out that interview, especially if you are event producers yourself. Jen has an impressive track record of festival organization including The Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island, The Glamour Ball on Fire Island, The New York Boylesque Festival which is now in its 2nd year and The Coney Island Talent Show, now in its fourth year. She was also the Associate Producer of the documentary, Last Summer at Coney Island, which aired on PBS in May 2011.
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Tuesday Tease: The Michigan & New Orleans Burlesque Festivals!

fancy-pants-mi-burl-fest-13-flier‘Tis the season for burlesque festivals and we got two great ones coming up this weekend!

The lovely state of Michigan will get its first burlesque festival this Saturday in Detroit and we got to chat with the organizers Valencia Starling and Mabel Syrup.

Also, the legendary New Orleans Burlesque Festival kicks off its fifth year on Thursday and we are proud to announce that Brown Paper Tickets is ticketing their workshops! We are so excited to be a part of this legendary festival and we’ll highlight some of our picks for workshops, for those of you heading down to the Big Easy this weekend.

But, first things first: Michigan’s getting its own burlesque festival! This Saturday, September 21, the First Annual Michigan Burlesque Festival will take place at the Hasting Street Ballroom and Tangent Gallery in Detroit. A wide variety of burlesque entertainment will grace the stage on Saturday including: acrobatics, trapeze, silks, chains, hula hooping, traditional striptease, vocal numbers, veil fan dancing, bawdy comedy and more.

The main event will take place in the Ballroom and headliners for the evening include The Weird Sisters Circus aerial troupe, Cleveland’s burlesque queen Bella Sin, and Detroit’s very own Lushes LaMoan. The host for the evening will be the delectable and vibrant Foxy Tann and DJ Shane Bang will be providing audible pleasures. In addition to the star-studded line-up, the Tangent Gallery will be booming throughout the night, lined with artists and merchants displaying and selling their crafts, apparel, sweet treats and more! You can pick up tickets right over here. We recommend getting them now as they’re going fast!

Valencia and Mabel from Fancy Pants Arts and Entertainment were kind enough to take time off from the pre-festival craziness to talk a little about the festival and the burlesque scene in Michigan. Here’s what they had to say:
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Tuesday Tease: The San Antonio Burlesque Festival

san-antonio-burlesque-festival-logoThis Friday and Saturday, the second annual San Antonio Burlesque Festival hits the stage of the Woodlawn Theater in, you guessed it, San Antonio, Texas. While most folks are probably more familiar with the burly scenes in Austin or Dallas, San Antonio is proving to be another hotbed of burlesque talent in the Lone Star State. You can pick up tickets to the Friday Night Teaser here and to the Saturday Night Spectacular here.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past year is more and more burlesque festivals happening in towns that previously were not considered major hubs of burlesque, further proof that the current revival of the art form is spreading rapidly to every corner of the country. This is exciting for those pursuing a career in burlesque as it shows that a potentially lucrative career could be established by just touring the, rapidly expanding, festival circuit.

The co-producer of the San Antonio Burlesque Festival, Jasper St. James, was kind enough to take time out of his crazy, pre-festival schedule to chat a little about the festival, the Texas burlesque scene and to offer a little advice for those of you out there considering starting a burlesque festival in your own neck of the woods.

Jasper is a boylesque performer from The Pastie Pops Burlesque Troupe in San Antonio and has become one of Texas’ leading male burlesque performers. He made his festival debut at the 2012 Dallas Burlesque Festival and went on to become the “Audience Choice” winner at the 2012 Texas Burlesque Festival. He was also recently crowned the 2013 Southern Fried King of Burlesque at the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

We are honored that he took the time to answer our questions. So, enough from me. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. Jasper St. James:
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How to Plan Your First Festival

Festivals

Spring is almost here, and the festival season is upon us! With the weather on your side, a really great festival can easily draw attendees in by the hundreds and thousands while helping to expose your business to a larger audience. Interested in learning how to set up your first festival with success? Here are a few festival basics to get you started.

1. What’s your type? 
Festivals are mainstays of several types of industries. As you think about planning your festival, try and decide what you can bring to the masses, and surround yourself with people that understand and support that vision. Whether it’s food, music, art, or all of the above, determine your goal and start reaching out to groups or individuals you’d like to feature.

Tip: Festivals that have options for all ages reach a much larger audience. Keep families in mind when deciding your theme and booking entertainment.

2. Location, location, location
The location of the festival is almost as important as the type. Indoor or outdoor? College or convention center? Whatever the location, choose a space that people can easily get to and from. Somewhere close to bus lines with good parking is always a plus. Bathroom accessibility is also an important factor.

3. Think about the costs 
In this economy, price is an important factor when people decide whether to attend a festival. Consider offering early bird discounts to help generate a buzz weeks or months in advance! You might also consider student, senior, or group rates. Try to keep your general ticket price at a reasonable level so people are intrigued by your festival vision and not put off by the price tag.

Tip: Designing your event for families will help gain popularity and longevity. As you set your prices, think about offering family pack discounts.

4. Helpful security 
Safety is important, so it’s always a good idea to hire on-site security in case any problems occur. However, make sure that the security presence isn’t overwhelming or offputting to your attendees. Keep the muscle to a minimum.

5. Good eats
Whether you’re planning a music festival or a carnival, everyone likes to eat. Often times, people get most excited about the type of food and drinks a festival has to offer. As you plan, you may want to think about the local mom and pop food establishments in your area. Building a positive community is important for a festivals success; plus, cross promotion will also help to get the word out. Supporting your local businesses help gives your festival a local identity and treats your out-of-town guests to an unforgettable experience.

6. Stay organized 
Make sure to keep painstaking track of who is playing, when and where. Once those details are finalized, share it with the public! An attendee being able to plan their whole experience can help build excitement around a festival. Our custom Producer Page can help with this, or, if your festival’s a little more complicated, we work well with many calendar programs.

Would you like more in-depth assistance on setting up your first festival? No problem! Shoot us an email atPromo@BrownPaperTickets.com or call (800) 838-3006 (Option 5). We’d love to help.

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Rose City Comic-Con: Portland Enters the Fold

[Pro tip: if you just want to go straight to winning tickets, scroll to the bottom of this post for instructions.]

Can you believe that before this year, Portland, Oregon was lacking a Comic-Con? From the Emerald City to New York to, of course, San Diego, Comic-Cons have been cropping up the world over. Originally a niched convention for dedicated fans, Comic-Cons have become events of national appeal and acclaim; they’re an overall celebration of what it means to be a fan. In under two weeks — September 8 and 9 — Portland gets their own.

Comic-Cons, traditionally, feature tables full of comic vendors where you can meet artists and presses (often with specials!), panels of industry greats, and incredible workshops, and the Rose City’s is no exception. We got a chance to speak with intrepid Rose City Comic-Con organizer Ron Brister about some of the geeky staples in his own backyard, comics in Portland, and taking on the incredible feat of organizing a festival while still having a day job.

Describe the Portland comix scene and why you felt you needed to bring it a Comic-Con.

The comic scene in Portland is pretty vibrant. We have many artist and writers that live in the area, Dark Horse Comics is head-quartered here, and the largest independent studio, Periscope, are all located in the metro area. Based on all that, we felt that Portland was missing something, a more mainstream convention that celebrated all things Pop Culture. The events that we had in town either were stagnant, catered to a small subset, or where narrowly focused on one subject. Plus, we travelled to the conventions up and down the west coast only to run into all the same people from Portland. It was then that we said, “Hey, why don’t we do something like this in Portland?”

Of course, there’s a wider scope of pop culture than just comics — as is the nature of the modern comic-con. Is there still an emphasis of comics themselves, or is this about a wider landscape?

Rose City Comic-Con is a comic convention at heart. With that in mind we have focused our efforts on comic artist, writers, and vendors. However, comics these days have a massive crossover into other genres such as sci-fi and fantasy. Many of our guest are not only comic folks but they are also novelists, screen writers, musicians and actors. But I think the foundation for all those other creative mediums is comics.
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