What is essential to a great music festival? What makes one truly memorable? And how do consumers feel about seeing brands in that environment?

We recently conducted a study to learn more about consumer sentiments surrounding music festivals around the world. This research involved focus groups, interviews with festivalgoers, and an online survey of 10,000 consumers aged 13 to 54 in 10 countries.

Here are some key findings from this project:

Line-up, production, and location are the core elements of the perfect music festival. Music is at the heart of any great festival. A big and diverse line-up is essential – festivalgoers want a wide range of music. It’s most important to have well-known artists, but many want to discover new artists as well. Festivalgoers expect a top-notch production with great sound quality and a visually stunning stage show. They also want a location that’s out of the ordinary but easy to get to.

Getting the food, logistics, and scale right make for an even better festival experience. Friendly security, free drinking water, and a variety of food aren’t things that consumers will say made their festival great – but they really notice when they go wrong! While the festivals that consumers rated as “amazing” were more likely to have over 50,000 attendees, smaller festivals have their advantages. They feel more exclusive and give an opportunity to tap into a niche.

Festivalgoers are open to seeing brands at music festivals – especially if it means a better deal. Just over half of festivalgoers say they definitely want to have brands at music festivals – and three-quarters do if it means cheaper ticket prices. Most see brands as helping to keep prices down and quality up.

When brands get it right, the festival, festivalgoers, and the brand benefit. After encountering a brand at a music festival, consumers felt and spoke positively about them, said they’d be more likely to buy or use them in the future, and looked up more information about them. That said, brands should avoid handing out poorly thought-out freebies that just litter the site. To be successful, they must either provide something useful to festivalgoers or facilitate a happy memory in some way.