The Great Escape Festival hits Brighton every May and has been going strong since 2006, establishing itself as Europe’s leading festival for showcasing new music. Multiple venues are full of live music for 3 days, the city is full of music heads and, to quote someone I follow on Twitter, “New Road Brighton looks like there’s a white male indie band breeding machine on the go…” (@caracourage).
Twitter was founded in the same year (a couple of months before) and so using the social network to add value to the first festival was not an option. Now, because everyone is using smartphones (I was actually told off for Tweeting during a gig by a friend who didn’t believe I could appreciate the music properly and tweet simultaneously) Twitter is an extremely valuable tool. You can follow the hashtag #TGE12 to keep abreast of what everyone is saying about the Festival (there are other hashtags around including #TGE2012 but the former is the one used by The Great Escape Twitter account).
On Twitter @GreatEscapeFest is not only tweeting about news and shows around the festival and informing us of gigs all over the city that we may have forgotten were on, but also actually communicating with it’s community too. Nice to see a human presence behind the account!
I love the fact the community manager behind Great Escape is out watching gigs (or has sent people out in their absence) to take photos and are enjoying the festival like everyone else. That makes that Twitter account far nicer to follow.
I also rate how they manage complaints and comments: after a complaint about queues, they managed to solve a problem. Now that wouldn’t have happened before social media unless people actually bothered to call – if indeed there was anyone to call.
Social media is now a critical component not only in terms of promoting events and raising awareness, but also in terms of sharing. People with smartphones love to share photos and comments about where they are and what they’re doing. By utilising social accounts, festivals turn their customers into promotional vehicles. Of course, they can’t control whether people share positive or negative experiences but if they have a crisis management plan in place then they are at least prepared for the eventuality of negative feedback.
I hope that @GreatEscapeFest continues to engage music lovers after the event to help keep The Great Escape up there the leading new music festival in Europe and give it’s social participants something back. A Storify of tweets, photos and videos would be a great way to curate something special from the masses of rich content out there. I’ll look forward to seeing what they do!
Now I’m off to catch some more live music and, despite my friends objections, I will certainly be tweeting too (@kerrywaller) #TGE12