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ack in the Nineties, when ‘going viral’ required a clinician and
a hashtag was a label attached to a bag of weed (probably),
suggesting increased branding at a festival was akin to
offering a high-five to the Queen.
Naomi Klein’s book No Logo went on to inspire a backlash against
the perceived corporate intrusion at events, with Radiohead
completing an advertisement-free tour, presumably to prevent us
mindless automatons from rushing out and buying stuff willy-nilly.
Flash forward to 2019, and there’s barely a festival without a
sponsored area, experiential activation or brand tie-in. Rob Da
Bank, whose Sunday Best record label and DJ career took off in
the Nineties, once told me that attitudes have softened towards
branding, providing it is done authentically. I think that’s spot on.
For me, the in your face uber-branding of Coachella, where Ye
(formerly Kanye West, keep up) sold $50 pairs of socks, is all a bit
much. But at the same time, it is interesting as space to test new
innovations and the boundaries of what consumers will embrace.
This issue we discover tasteful brand activations from the likes of
Strongbow (p8), and talk to Notting Hill Carnival’s boss (p28) about
balancing sponsorship with the event’s legacy.
Hopefully we can sell out our events without selling out.
Tom Hall, Editor
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