Indeed, neither weather nor economy concerns appear to have deterred travelers to the event, a trend that is apparent for festivals across the world, as mentioned above.
The Essence Music Festival runs for three days and includes features such as entertainment activities and seminars at the Convention Center during the day, while the nights are punctuated by concerts. It started in 1995 in celebration of Essence magazine's 25th anniversary. In terms of the economy, it has become a significant supplement to the hospitality industry, during a time of year when revenue is generally slow. There are also several sponsors for the festival, including Ford Motor Co. And Coors, as well as Verizon, Walmart Food and State Farm, and Coca-Cola. These sponsorships have enabled the festival to create and retain its competitive edge by including many extra features beyond music. From the sponsorship point-of-view, the festival also offers the opportunity to showcase product and reach a certain demographic, such as African-American women for Ford Motor Co. Other sponsors also host events that relate to the festival but are not part of it, providing increased revenues for nightclubs, restaurants, bookstores, and other businesses.
Music festivals have become so important and prominent that they are also beginning to extend to the developing nations, such as the SADC countries. This creates a number of additional challenges as well as opportunities, especially in terms of the economy and environmental concerns.
According to Ambert (2003), Music as an art form lends itself particularly well to global expansion, including the festival form. In terms of culture, festivals can be used for bands to promote certain cultural ideals, views, values, or simply music from a certain region. Music has always been part of humanity, where culturally inspired music can be particularly rich and inspiring to local and international attendees alike.
Festivals in the SADC countries and other developing nations particularly can then be used as a vehicle for raising awareness about the plight of certain animals or groups of people in a particular country or simply about the nation and the beauty of its art. At the same time, international artists can bring the accumulated musical expertise and knowledge to developing countries, helping them to develop further. As Ambert (2003) puts it: "Music is both an instrument of change and a symbol of tradition." And music festivals may be the one best way to ensure that both these dichotomous trends continue to exist side by side.
The way in which music festivals can affect and enhance the economy is particularly important for the SADC countries as well as other developing nations. They provide employment, for example, support other industries, and provide exposure for local musicians. They also provide a valuable opportunity for artists of all types to network across the world.
Before the full benefits of these festivals can, however, be made a reality in these countries, a thorough understanding must be obtained of the infrastructure, economic processes and development in the country, and the industries involved in similar processes. In other words, local development levels and processes must be investigated for the viability of integrating them for organizing music festivals, whether this be at the national or international level.
The recording industry is an important component of this. Since the late 1990s, the industry has expanded from the main recording bases in South African and Zimbabwe to several small-scale independent labels across the SADC region. This represents the birth and sustenance of a formal music industry, where such countries as Malawi can participate in the economy of creative endeavors and entertainment, where this had not previously been possible.
In terms of music festivals, this means that the industry can support and be supported by artists and other industries in the country. To make a success of this, the performance industry also needs to be understood in very clear terms. In the SADC countries, as in Europe, the UK and the United States, income for musicians is usually generated from live performances. Unlike the more developed regions, however, the reason for this is that the recording industry in these countries is still at a limited level of development. This is an important consideration in terms of how the recording and performance industries work together. In the case of festival organization, festivals can then be used to enhance the prominence and abilities of the recording industries in developing regions, thus furthering the ability and prominence of both industries, along with other artists and service providers that participate in the festivals.
Cultural industries form an important component of the SADC economy. What is known as the "multidisciplinary sector" can therefore serve as a good platform for musical performances. Indeed, the relationship among the media often forms a mutually beneficial endeavor. Music, for example, is required for cinematographic production, soap operas, and commercials. Corporate identities and musical production therefore often go hand-in-hand. Because of this relationship, musical artists expose their work and generate income. This occurs not only locally, but also on the international platform, such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo's music for the Heinz baked beans commercial. Beans sales increased while the band gained enough exposure to top the UK music charts (Ambert, 2003).
The relationship between music and local cultural products is therefore a close and beneficial one for all parties involved. This is also a rich field to exploit for musical festivals in the area. Music is at the core of these events, and provides a platform to expose local music and artists to new and international markets. On remote locations, they can also be used to promote countries and regions for their tourist attractions. Ambert (2003) mentions the two example of the Celebrate South Africa Festival, held in London, and the Zimbabwe Music Festival in the United States.
To judge by the music festival industry and the potential for tourism worldwide, the SADC region therefore appears to be rich for exploitation. Audiences can be drawn to specific locations in the region while also enhancing domestic tourism. Visual arts and crafts can also form part of these festivals, both enhancing the experience of those attending and for the artists who participate. Indeed, organizers can use the highly cultural and regional nature of the arts and crafts in the region to promote these festivals to the world. A range of art and artists can be displayed, at the same time enhancing multiple artistic platforms in the region.
One important aspect of music, which probably features at all musical festivals, is its potential to bridge gaps otherwise created by culture and nationality. Musical festivals bring together a wide range of cultures and nationalities in the celebration of sound and rhythm. As such, music is perhaps one of the most powerful tools to overcome conflicts of all types.
Ambert (2003) uses Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an example of the uniting abilities of music. The conflict- and poverty-afflicted societies in these regions found a uniting force in music, of which one example is the collective peace song by Angolan musicians, "A paz e que o povo chama" (The people are calling for peace). In addition, musical efforts have been and are being made to alleviate HIV / AIDS, poverty, and ignorance regarding important social and health issues. Music festivals, especially in regions where such concerns are closest to home, can be a rich platform for social and cultural commentary, even while people also simply celebrate the music and art for what they are.
The nature and role of local music should also be taken into account, along with the dynamics of economic development and infrastructure when organizing a musical festival even in a developing country. In the SADC region beyond South Africa, for example, great focus is placed upon the importance of local music and its meaning and relationship with cultural paradigms. This is an element that can be used both in the organization and promotion of these events. On the local level, cultural paradigms can be used in festivals not only to enhance the region's economy, but also its collective cultural spirit and identity, which it can share with the world by means of its artistic endeavors.
History has demonstrated the success of music festivals across the world, enhancing the local economy and providing a way for thousands to forget their differences and simply enjoy what the world of sound, rhythm, art, and local lore have to offer. Perhaps this could also then be a platform for a wider significance; helping those who are underdeveloped to become independent and self-sufficient by means of their own creativity and art. Nevertheless, infrastructure will certainly play an important role in this.
The Relationship of Music Festivals with Customers
One of the most important things about music festivals is their ability to promote not only big artists and their work, but also those who are relatively unknown to customers. Mitchell (2011), for example, mentions WOMAD, a festival at which a number of…