Feeding the Masses at Music Festivals

FT. A Look at What's Cooking at This Year's Governor's Ball Music Festival


According to Nielsen Music, over 32 million people attended a U.S. music festival in 2015, and 14.7 million of those were millennials. For scale, the population of California in 2018 was 39.5 million! Beyond the obvious appeal of seeing your favorite artists, these festivals are a great opportunity to get dressed up and crank out some quality Instagram content. However, these experiences aren't cheap; the average ticket can run you a couple hundred of dollars (a long weekend at Coachella this year was $429), and many people fly in from all over the world and must also factor in transportation and lodging costs. Accordingly, the increase of festivals' cultural significance and draw has been accompanied with a growing demand for a more luxurious experience.


The biggest emphasis has been on food—and good food, at that.


Rather than fueling up in-between sets with more traditional fast food options, festival-goers are searching for choices that 'bring the bougie' into the culinary sphere; that gourmet, deliciously sinful wagyu beef burger—beyond being utterly delectable—is also likely deliberately crafted to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, as a photo of it (captioned with some ridiculous bun-pun) can pull considerable engagement on social media. Of those 14.7 million millennials, 84% are likely to post pictures of food at a food-related event, and 79% said they'd follow a food purveyor or restaurant on social media after encountering them at a festival. This is not only great advertising for the vendors, but also for the festival itself, and organizers have noticed. Coachella, for example, offers a VIP ticket ($999!) with access to speciality food and drink vendors, and you can even buy a full-course meal in the Coachella VIP Rose Garden for an additional $225. There were over 100 different vendors present at the last festival, with options reflecting and then influencing food trends. Choices included açai bowls, Korean BBQ from Hawaii, gourmet pb&j sandwiches, Shake Shack, matcha bars—the list goes on.

Here in New York, The Governor's Ball is a similarly big draw, with over 150,000 visitors in 2017. It contributed $13.2 million dollars to the NYC restaurant sector. The festival is an opportunity for local restaurants to showcase their products and reach a considerably sized audience, and organizers have capitalized on demand by offering festival-exclusive items and collaborations.

Photo Courtesy of Governor's Ball

At this year's Gov Ball, some collaborations you'll be able to look forward to include fried pickles from Big Mozz x Grillo's Pickles, Tots & Queso from Melt Shop x King David Tacos, and an exclusive 'taco ball' from the Arancini Bros. There will also be a new bar area, with specialty cocktails including Gov Ball Punch (Bacardi), a Pomegranate Passion Tea ft. Kona Big Wave Beer, and a Tito's Pablo Honey Cocktail (we recommend the punch).

Photo Courtesy of Governor's Ball

Festivals have truly become food destinations—and we're not mad about it.


This post is not sponsored.

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