Festival brand activations & pop-ups we’re loving in 2024

Festival activations in 2024 are an experiential marketing dream come true.

They’ve become prime real estate for (all kinds) of brands to engage with their audience. Aside from festival brand activations being a great promotional tool for building all important ‘real life’ experiences with Gen-Z and beyond, they can also be seriously lucrative retail opportunities – people are expected to spend £1.2 billion at festival pop-ups this year in the UK alone.

While drinks brands remain a natural fit for festivals, a wide variety of brands—from detergent to tech—are now joining the landscape, exploring ever-more creative ways to demonstrate their offering and promote in a naturally fun filled environment with existing infrastructure and hype.

With major events like Coachella, SXSW and Dreamville already in the books for 2024, here’s a look at some of the standout trends and case studies from this year, showing that every brand has a seat at the table when it comes to festival activations.

Festivals in Festivals

Brands are upscaling their presence at festivals by creating their own mini “festivals” within the main event. These micro-festivals are becoming more elaborate each year and offer attendees a world of experiences beyond just music.

At Coachella 2024, Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle and wellness platform, Poosh, hosted its annual summer camp-themed party, Camp Poosh, offering a wellness retreat within the festival. Poosh is full to the brim of it’s own brand partnerships, and we mean full – everything from the pool floats to the rugs is sponsored.

Heineken House is a longstanding staple at Coachella, featuring its own stage and lineup, blending the Heineken Silver experience with world-class acts. Similarly, True Religion’s ‘Buddhafest’ offers a desert oasis with a gifting suite, DJs, drinks, and a festival-ready clothing line.

It’s own take on a retro ‘summer camp’, Camp Poosh had a myriad of opportunities for a whole host of brand partnerships and VIP hosting.

Heineken House is one of Coachella’s longest standing brand partnerships.

Kendall Jenner’s luxury tequila brand 818 hosted a western themed 818 ‘Outpost’ a Coachella 2024.

Digital Doing it Right

Digital services, platforms and apps are getting a big slice of the pie when it comes to physical pop-ups at festivals. A lack of existing physical spaces can actually be a plus – allowing brands to get extra creative, and not be overly influenced by spaces that have come before.

Pinterest debuted its ‘Manifest Station’ concept at Coachella, a makeover and accessories hub where attendees could transform into their Pinterest vision boards. From exploring trending aesthetics like “2016 core” and “cowboy core” to makeup inspiration, festival-goers had access to on-site makeup artists and styling experts to help them create their dream looks.

Pinterest’s ‘Manifest Station’ allows visitors to transform into Pinterest vision boards.

The Youtube Lounge at Coachella is a celebration of nostalgia.

Unexpected Guests

Think it’s all just drinks brands and wellness retreats? Not anymore. Brands you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see are making waves with their creative and engaging irl concepts.

A level of unexpectedness can also work in a brands favour – particularly in a festival context. Consumers want to be surprised, and see brands in a new light and engage with them in unique environments.

2024 festival activations like Tide at SXSW offered a sensory, educational pop-up with photo moments, Sharpie a hands-on creative hub and even podcasts like Call Her Daddy, air freshener Febreeze, and upcoming movie releases had memorable and impactful activations. Love!

Method’s experiential pop-ups were fit to rival other more traditional festival brand guests.

The ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast pop-up at SXSW and the Sharpie hands on creative hub.

2024 festival activations like the Tide Evo discovery pop-up at SXSW show there’s exciting opportunities for every brand.

Brand Houses

Coachella is often referred to as the “influencer Olympics” – but other brands and festivals can take lessons from these powerful blends of influencer and content marketing.

These houses offer influencers and VIPs an elevated festival experience and provide the ideal playground for content creation. Although examples at 2024’s Coachella are the extreme end of influencer focused marketing, blended hospitality brand spaces in partnership with influencers and creators can be a powerful win online and offline.

Brands like Tarte and Supergoop pulled out all the stops for 2024’s Coachella, (soda brand Poppi even created a whole, fully branded villa for influencer Alix Earle and her friends – calling it Coachearlla’) and no detail is overlooked when it comes to personalising the spaces.

SuperGoop’s 2024 Coachella House was a sunny, nostalgic take on the brand palette.

Soda brand Poppi created ‘Coachearla’ exclusively for creator Alix Earle and her friends.

Infamous for lavish brand trips, Tarte continued their legacy with their Palm Springs stay.

Want to explore how your brand can make an impact this festival season?

Formroom has specialised pop-up and brand activation experience, working with clients globally. Explore our services, past work or start a conversation below.