Summer is right around the corner, which means music festivals are launching their 2012 websites with hopes of generating sellout crowds. Despite line-ups that are packed with mind-blowing bands, some websites are unintuitive and sloppy, making the path to enlightenment difficult for groupies of every generation.
In an attempt to determine the emerging trends among one of our much loved target audiences, music enthusiasts, we had some fun investigating websites belonging to our favorite music festivals. There are a few sites we’d love to help out, and a few we’d like to applaud. So, let’s pretend we didn’t miss Coachella 2012…
…and journey to sites that pave the way to some pretty amazing tunes.
Website: Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago)
Rank: Third Place
Lineup Favorite: Cults
Website Pros: Great display of vital Information; Aesthetically pleasing
Website Cons: Aggravating navigation; Purchase button overkill
Pitchfork’s Chicago music festival site is easy on the eyes, and contains all the information you need as a prospective festival-attendee. However, when your mother is Pitchfork.com, you have higher expectations to live up to. One of those expectations is that you will provide easy access to insider information about the upcoming and previous festivals. For example, photographs, “best of” lists and cool applications. The homepage by no means makes this information easy to access, which makes the site seemingly useless for users who already have a ticket. The only way to gain access to the inside layers of the site is by clicking on a band-name hyperlink, which is unintuitive. At the same time, I couldn’t miss the numerous links that lead to a less attractive, third party website for ticket purchase. The juxtaposition of the unaccommodating navigation and in-your-face purchase buttons creates the impression that Pitchfork couldn’t care less about its customers once they’ve emptied their wallets, and we know that can’t be true.
Quick solution: Your homepage reminds me of a postcard – beautiful, but boring and easily tossed. The funny thing about it is that in reality the site isn’t boring! All the developers need to do is link the red pitchfork section in the page above to the page below
For next year: Create your own site for ticket purchase- jumping from a beautiful layout to an ugly third party site is discouraging.
Even though it seems that art and error partnered in the creation of the 2012 Bonnaroo website, which I’m partially inclined to believe was done as a branding technique, the overall effect is impressive. I loved looking at the artwork and playing with the numerous applications, but as you can see from our screen grab, there are quite a few mistakes. Errors on the site include: random capitalization of letters, boxes that barely contain their text, overlapping of text, and the most annoying error – a pause button that doesn’t work. My favorite feature of the site is the lineup page, or should I say, “LINEup” page. It’s designed like an Apple playlist, in which users click band names and a song plays. Of course there’s a catch, an absent “stop” button and a dysfunctional “pause” button. The only way to stop the music is to leave the site or mute your computer. I realize that Bonnaroo probably encourages never letting the music stop, but sometimes a girl has to hit pause. Despite all the errors, this site is really entertaining and useful to those both with and without tickets to Bonnaroo.
*Editor’s Note: It’s amazing how developers catch mistakes once a site goes live. I returned to the Bonnaroo site about three days after drafting this blog entry and they had already cleaned up the mess on the homepage. The mess is still on the navigation of the subpages. My techy Ashe Avenue colleagues mentioned that the Bonnaroo developers could be using cufon to style their navigation fonts. If that is the case, then for some reason the js didn’t fire when I first visited the site, which could also explain the pause button issue. In any case, this site is presented a bit sloppy. Compare the screen grab above to the one below.
Quick solution: Tidy up the site!
For next year: Have the site ready to go and cleaned up prior to the launch date.
Maybe I’m being biased because Lolla is my favorite music festival, but I think this site is perfect. The festival keeps the same theme every year, but refreshes it to stay interesting. The site offers the same advantages as the Bonnaroo and Pitchfork websites, but creates an advantage by establishing a hub for those who already have tickets. The site also offers a free application that allows you to customize your own lineup. Let’s be honest, three-day music festivals take dedication. If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself being hauled off to see Lady Gaga instead of the Strokes. Luckily, by creating your lineup on Lolla’s site prior to the festival, you can avert this crisis and see all your favorite bands, no matter your state of mind.
1. Get creative with your personal branding. One trend we noticed was the customization of social media buttons.
2. Clean up your creative workshop. We know that getting creative sometimes requires making a bit of a mess, but have someone go in behind you and tidy up.
3. Go the extra mile. It’s not just about driving sales, it’s about creating hype. Create a temporary world for your fans to live in with apps, music lists, photographs and cheat sheets.