Coachella Festival / Festivals

Coachella 2023: How Social Media Influencers Are Changing the Festival Experience

All eyes will be set on Coachella 2023 as the arts and music festival is set to take over the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California for two whole weekends this late April. Since the rise of smartphones and social media, it has become much more than just a celebration of music. Coachella has become a hotspot for social media influencers to capitalize on their fame and a cultural event impossible to ignore.

As you scroll through your social feeds for the next two weeks, there’s no doubt you’ll run across a post from influencers you follow reminding you that they’re at Coachella. Since 2013 (which also happens to be the year Instagram rolled out ads), Coachella has become a hotspot for businesses to utilize modern social media influencer marketing techniques to launch their spring campaigns. In its 2018 edition, Weekend One reported to have a total media impact value of over $116 million and was also the subject of 460,000 social media posts. Companies mainly within the fashion and beauty industries collaborate with mega (1M+ followers), macro (500K-1M followers), mid-tier (50K-500K followers), micro (10K-50K followers) and nano (1K-10K followers) influencers at live events in order to get their products showcased in more creative and engaging avenues. 


With observations from all over the world, Coachella is a big commercial opportunity for both brands and social media influencers. Although some influencers are offered the complete package of an all-expenses-paid trip, others pay out of their pocket to attend the festival and seek out brand collaborations anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 to help cover some of their expenses. This collaboration mixed with the fun festival setting creates an enhanced visual experience to create a perfect influencer marketing campaign. The content captured that is then rolled out to viewers/customers not only generates revenue and engagement for both influencers/brands, but also creates a more authentic relationship with them. The countless unique moments that can be captured in the festival (from food, to the performances, to camping, to brand activations, to interactive festival art) are the perfect backdrop to create and share a compelling story.


The type of influencer and brand that benefit the most through this type of partnership are the ones in the fashion industry. Coachella is widely known as the most stylish festival of them all, and with that comes the power to influence fashion trends. Fashion trends for the year are well-established by the collaborations present at the festival. One of the biggest collaborations featured is that of e-commerce clothing company Revolve, which scouts and sends influencers such as Kendal Jenner (who generated the highest MIC at $1.4 million in 2018), TikTok creator Anna Heid and Influencer Kylie Larsen to the festival in exchange for branded content. It also hosts its annual invite-only #RevolveFest activation located just outside of the festival grounds. 

 “Coachella is so big — it’s probably the biggest festival and the biggest festival for influencers. Everyone is there and wants to make a deal and wants to be with the best brands, and the brands want as many influencers as possible to be part of their ‘activations’ … so they’ll actively recruit influencers,” Mae Karwowski, CEO of influencer marketing agency Obviously, told the New York Post.

Although in previous years most of the Coachella content posted consisted of polished 2-D pictures posted on Instagram, last year marked the first Coachella where TikTok was present. Tik-Tok has only amplified the different avenues that influencer/brand content is presented given the platform’s more authentic/candid video-based nature. For example, TikTok creator Kate Bartlett posted a video to her account last year where she took her viewers through her Coachella opening day, which consisted of her glam routine, pregame, outfit changes, meals, Instagram photo shoots and many other things. Although TikTok does open up more avenues for brand/influencer collaborations at Coachella, the trend on the platform last year featured a lot of creators bashing the festival due to it becoming more of a digital marketing event for brands/influencers rather than a music festival. Only time will tell if TikTok will see the same level of influencer marketing success at Coachella as Instagram and the other social platforms.


Coachella 2023 takes place on April 14-16 and 21-23. Join the Waitlist for Weekend One here and purchase tickets for Weekend Two here. Check out the full Coachella 2023 lineup below.


Image Credit: Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

Dance music enthusiast from San Diego, CA

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