Our Fearless Predictions for 2020 Music Festivals

As a company whose vision is to support all parties involved in the music festival experience–organizers, promoters, concert-goers, vendors and other partners–we thought we’d kick off 2020 with some thoughts about where we see things headed into the upcoming season.

Without getting bogged down and crunching numbers, we expect to see even more festivals than we did in 2019 along with a rise in attendance. There are just too many compelling reasons to attend these mega-concerts…they’ve become so much more than just a collection of bands and artists filling the air with music.

Drilling down just a bit, our expectations are that the bigger shows will only get bigger. It’s becoming a rite of passage for those who recently attended their first music festival to come back for more. For parents, it may entail bringing their kids. For Millennials, it may be about sharing the experience with friends. For others, it just may be expanding their sense of community.

So here we go…FlipTix’s quick look at predictions and trends for music festivals in 2020…

Embracing Culture: Most of us don’t go to music festivals just for the music. Yes, music will have top billing, but experiential elements are critically important as promoters seek to have their brands break through. Based on where you live, expect to see more wine tastings, art shows, craft beer launches, and tattoo/music festivals coming soon.

The “Green Banana”: The common thinking among promoters is that if they discover an up-and-coming act before they hit the big time, they’ll be able to book them before their fees become astronomical. Then by the time of the festival, they’ll be well-known or “ripe.” It makes sense; given the fact that music festivals are a risky business. We see it as an opportunity for fans. Instead of catching the same acts at festivals throughout the season, new talent and previously unknown bands may become more prevalent. Here’s hoping.

Girl Power?: As most of the major festivals announce their lineups, there’s concern about not only the lack of female headliners, but the lack of women in the festival lineups overall. There are a lot of factors involved and there’s no one party to blame. “..In years like 2020, the scales are tipped by a number of factors, including the logistics of which artists are on album cycle and prepared to deliver a live performance on the scale of a festival appearance,” notes Uproxx.

Still, with Taylor Swift hosting her own festival and with the exception of Missy Elliot heading up Governor’s Ball, Lana Del Rey pre-headlining at Coachella and Bonnaroo, and Stevie Nicks and Miley Cyrus high on Bottle Rock’s 2020 lineup, the big names are largely AWOL. The industry can do better.

Audience Segmentation: Festival organizers are looking for an alternative to the VIP/General Admission hierarchy, based on feedback from festival goers. The Governor’s Ball in New York on Randall’s Island has instituted an 18+ age policy in late 2019, essentially banning unaccompanied minors. While it may provide a lift to the overall experience, it’ll be interesting to see whether attendance is affected. Another festival, Electric Forest in Michigan, launched a loyalty program designed to reward fans for their continued attendance. Both will be interesting to watch as 2020 unfolds.

Beware: Politics: Can music festivals serve as a reprieve from the cultural divide as we head toward a contentious presidential election? Should they? Chances are Coachella headliner Rage Against the Machine won’t foster lots of warm and fuzzy feelings, but here’s hoping others don’t bludgeon fans with their political views.   

What’s your prediction for music festivals in 2020? We’d love to hear from you…

Dave Migdal, who handles communications/content for FlipTix®, has worked with some of the largest tech and consumer corporations on the planet along with living room-based start-ups. A veteran concert-goer, the closest he’s come to attending a Coachella-sized festival is when his older sister once had a ticket to Woodstock. She chose to work instead.

He lives in Carlsbad, Calif, with his tolerant family.

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