Trade shows aren't just trade shows - they're huge events, with all the logistical trappings and entertainment needs that come with them. In that sense, it can be helpful to look at large-scale events beyond trade shows, to see how they are managed, how people behave in groups and how brands can connect with potential advocates.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has made a name for itself as a hub for music, culture and fun of all kinds since its inception in 1999. The festival has grown from a two-day experience with 50,000 attendees to a two-weekend extravaganza, with more than 200,000 people descending on the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. every April for music, camping and a slew of other activities. Such a massive event requires careful planning, not only for logistics but to keep the event fresh for attendees who make the annual pilgrimage.
Trade Show News Network contributor Christina Hernandez, who attended the festival this year, wrote that Coachella makes the event more than just a bunch of concerts by fostering community through social activities and thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to delivering memorable attendee experiences that turn a potential limitation into a source of strength. This approach fuels its "Silent Disco," a 1 A.M. event where attendees sync their Bluetooth devices to a D.J., put on headphones and dance to collective music without causing any noise issues.
"Over the past 15 years, they've stayed true to the event, only modifying it to their ever-changing attendee base," Hernandez wrote. "We can all use reminders that the experiences we create give people memories they'll never forget."
Coachella has changed over the years. Variety contributor Bob Lefsetz pointed out that the event is now about much more than just music. The effort to keep up with changing tastes, connected millennials and the media hype cycle requires event planners to make sure they're putting on meaningful spectacle. That's good advice for any organization preparing for a trade show - a successful approach requires a varied, ever-evolving approach.