The Festival So Secret, You Don't Even Know The Lineup
Australia's Secret Garden Festival is changing the marketing game by promoting it's festival as a word of mouth event.This article originally appeared on Huffington Post Australia
The usual marketing logic of music festivals is to rely on the artist lineup to sell tickets. The side attractions, art installations, interesting features, food and the rest are usually only mentioned in passing. It's not too often a festival keeps its lineup secret; even more rare that every ticket is sold before organisers even begin thinking about releasing the lineup.
But that's what sets Secret Garden apart. Well, that and the costumes, the kissing booths, the incredible art, the picturesque (nearly rural) location, and the fact they donate the profits to charity.
It is an odd beast, but one that has recently put on big drawcards like Matt Corby, Gang of Youths, Hayden James, Parquet Courts and Raury on their secret lineups.
"We are a festival put on by mates, for mates," explains festival director Clare Downes very simply.
"That is such an important part of Secret Garden; everything we do is very genuine. We're not manufacturing a version of fun, we're just putting on exactly what we think is fun."
The festival -- which happens at Downes' family farm at Brownlow Hill, just outside of Camden and about an hour and a half from the Sydney CBD -- has been running for a few years now. They do things a little differently to most of their competitors. They eschew the massive corporate sponsorships, the big branded booze bars and the enormous infrastructure of other festivals; in its place, they bring guests into their "forest maze" for a weekend of weirdness, of art and music and theatre and simply having a good time. Ticket profits go to Oxfam, the Girls & Boys Brigade and other worthy causes. Dressing up in outlandish costumes is more than encouraged.