Oh, FOMO. It’s been real. But I’m officially trading you in for GOMO — going out more often — and it looks like I’m not the only one: Eventbrite currently processes about two million tickets per week. That’s a whole lot of GOMO.
Looking back, 2015 was about moving away from materialism, and towards experientialism. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the trends that contributed to this shift and these led to 10 predictions for this coming year. Spoiler alert: 2016 could be the year you see your mom at Coachella, wake up more enlightened than dehydrated, and leave your wallet at home on purpose.
1. Millennials will groove alongside their parents at the next music festival.
Last year, more than one-third of attendees at Bottlerock in Napa were between the ages of 45-64. Their line-up had cross generational appeal, featuring both recent chart-topper Imagine Dragons and the legendary Robert Plant. Festival organizers will aim to satisfy broader audiences in 2016. Swaying to new beats, hearing old favorites, and drinking expensive beer are ageless pastimes.
2. Your next great experience may be an experience within an experience (so meta).
People are multi-dimensional and crave a multi-sensory experience. In 2015 music festivals like Coachella and SXSW started offering smaller health and wellness events; food festivals like Chicago Gourmet added morning yoga; and the Gilroy Garlic festival tested a "crafts alley", letting local artisans sell their wares. Expect more event hybridization in 2016.
3. But niche will be a thing, too.
Most people dip their toe into a mainstream experience — otherwise known as the "gateway festival" — and then seek more curated, individualized experiences as their tastes mature. Fandom conventions exploded from nerd niche to ‘peak geek’ in 2015, and 2016 will be about sub-segments of larger trends spinning off to create unique niche experiences. What better way to find your tribe?
4. Visual and performing arts will become even more immersive.
The definition of "visual arts" has expanded to include iPhone photography, graffiti, street art ,and comic books. Nearly half of millennials prefer art events that incorporate audience participation. In 2016 traditional arts will push the envelope to engage younger audiences. The San Francisco hit, "Curran Under Construction," underscores this trend; the iconic theater is undergoing renovations but the stage is left intact so audiences can participate in an intimate setting.
5. We will trade hangovers for mind makeovers.
With the rise of meditation and other mind-expanding movements, we’ve seen a shift toward more holistic lifestyle events that leave you feeling refreshed instead of burnt-out. Expect 2016 to be filled with a combination of fun and challenging yoga retreats, wellness weekenders, fitness festivals, and farm-to-table feasts of epic proportions.
6. Cashless will be King.
With RFID technology, event-goers can pay for everything from drinks to merchandise with a quick tap of their wristband, and festivals can seamlessly offer real-time "cashless" upgrades. Imagine you’re at Bonnaroo and all of a sudden it starts pouring rain. Instantly, you get the opportunity to upgrade to a VIP tent, all from your wristband.
7. Coming together in real life will continue to prevail, despite shiny new Virtual Reality technology.
Coachella made live festival streaming a thing and with virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift, virtually anyone (no pun intended) will have the opportunity to participate in a live experience from the comfort of their couch (pants optional). Virtual experiences actually drive more interest in attending (Coachella tickets sold out in three days in 2011 and within a few hours in 2012), so we predict people’s appetites for coming together in real life will be stronger than ever.
8. Political campaigns will get even more tech-savvy.
As political parties and nominees seek new ways to connect and engage with voters through data-driven metrics, look for them to adopt technologies traditionally used in music festivals and sporting events, like RFID, during rallies and conventions leading up to the 2016 general election.
9. Fun runs will find a new beat.
We’ve witnessed an explosion of color runs, costume runs, mud runs, and inflatable obstacle course runs. 2016 will be the year 5 and 10ks leverage crowdsourcing to bring music to the forefront. Participants in events like The Music Run will "play DJ." The more a song is voted for or shared on Facebook, the more likely it will be played during the run. Now that’s fun.
10. Big festivals could show up in your own backyard.
Major metros are heavily saturated with festivals so promoters are on the hunt for ripe new markets. Midwest metropolises like Minneapolis and Milwaukee (read: big box HQs) are increasingly piquing the interest of big festivals due to their large concentration of working millennials.
Whether you anticipate your own 2016 to be filled with GOMO, FOMO or some combination of the two, a brand new year offers endless opportunity to go out and seek new experiences. Cheers to that.
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