Insights | October 4, 2023

Festival Season Rewind

There’s a change in the air. And no, it’s not just the days becoming shorter and cooler now that it’s officially autumn. Traditional event marketing continues to evolve as consumers expect more from brands than ever before. Brands should be positive contributors to society and use their power to bring people together. Some suggest the live event paradigm is in desperate need of a modern refresh. But what does this look like? 

At G7, we average over 250 events and more than 100 festival activations a year for a range of  clients, so we have boots on the ground at culturally relevant gatherings around the country. Here’s a roundup of a few brand activations that stood out in the crowd.

The Häagen Dazs Mini Mart at Outside Lands

Häagen Dazs

Häagen Dazs created a Mini Mart activation for Outside Lands, where they gave out free ice-cream flavors wrapped in their new Butter Cookie Cone. Giveaways such as  vanilla-flavored chapstick and gumballs were also a hit. The space mimicked an upscale city bodega where a live DJ performed, creating a fun atmosphere away from the main stages. A photographer was onsite to capture each festivalgoer’s sweetest moments.

Google Pixel

Launching at Rolling Loud California, Pixel provided fans with an interactive exhibit to experience 50 years of hip-hop by celebrating its past, present, and future. To showcase their Real Tone technology, a photographer took pictures of fans as they dressed up and recreated classic hip-hop albums. These images were used to create a digital gallery wall of album covers, and they were printed out for fans to take with them. An additional photo opportunity involved a giant throne made of boom boxes. Live Translate was also showcased in the footprint by translating lyrics of international hip-hop artists.

Festivalgoers enjoyed the giveaways and photo op at Cayman Jack’s Rivershack Bar.

Cayman Jack

One of G7’s most unique and nimble activations has been Cayman Jack’s Rivershack Bar. The experience has been on a national tour this year, hitting 11 destinations with two more still planned for 2023. Locations have ranged from food and beverage events to music festivals. Rustic, tropical decor brings the legend of Cayman Jack to life as guests enter the Rivershack Bar for a chance to win various prizes. Fans can spin a ship’s wheel to determine their reward. Complimentary samples are provided to encourage dwell time, and a photo opportunity with a cayman provides festivalgoers the ultimate sharable moment.  

Liquid Death

When Liquid Death shows up, it’s always on-brand—and their Liquid Death Country Club continues to be no exception. The entrance was guarded by two golden grim reaper statues, and the facade adorned a giant sign that read: “Sell Your Soul to Join.” Inside, fans could get airbrush tattoos, horoscope readings, and enjoy live music performed by a string quartet. And of course, there was plenty of death-themed decor inside, including a tower of golden skulls. Guests could also grab a complimentary tallboy at an on-site bar.

Forever 21 and Bunny’s Bae Bar

Forever 21 and Bunny’s Bae Bar had activations in general admission and VIP areas at Rolling Loud Miami. It was “a one-stop-glam-shop with everything fans at Rolling Loud need to refresh and elevate their festival looks.” Fans could pop in and glam up at a beauty bar to get neon French braids, peel-on tattoos, and plenty of sparkles. The decor utilized a flood of pink and yellow to provide an upbeat vibe for the space and Insta-worthy photo opportunities. Fans were treated to unique giveaways and could purchase merchandise co-branded by Forever 21 and Rolling Loud.  


G7 developed a first-ever music festival and artist partnership experience for Pringles. At the Pringles Playground, guests could mix their own music in a giant Pringles can, play games, win prizes, and interact with music artists such as BLXST, Coco & Breezy, Deorro, Lola Brooke, Armani White, and Tiacorine. Digital extensions of the music-driven platform included a Spotify connect quiz where consumers could find their Pringles flavor, multiple sweepstakes, and content created by artists and influencers. 

A brand ambassador (left) showcases samples while Deorro (right) mixes music.

So what does a modern refresh look like for event marketing in the festival environment? It starts by creating commonality between people, the environment, and the brand. Fans go to festivals for the music, art, and culture—not for the brand activations. It’s imperative that brands add value to the fan experience. That’s why at G7 we design each brand activation through the lens of the fan first and foremost. And when we can layer in an authentic connection to music through artist partnerships and engagements that help tell a brand’s story, we arrive at an event ROI that strikes just the right note.