It got people all the way up in the red box when NorthSide in the fall of 2021 announced that this summer’s festival will be 100 percent plant-based. But according to an expert in branding, it benefits the festival more than it harms.
The initiative means that the red sausages and ground beef in the juicy burger you put your teeth in between the concerts are replaced with lentils and vegetables.
An announcement that to such an extent divides the waters, and which quickly became the subject of heated debate on social media.
Many are furious that the festival with the initiative defines how festival goers should live their lives. Others think it’s a great idea that points in a more sustainable direction.
According to branding expert Carsten Herholdt, who owns the branding and advertising agency The Brand Agency in Aarhus, it is a well-calculated feature of the Aarhus Music Festival.
“They go ahead and they show that they stand out,” he told BT, continuing:
‘I really think it’s a really smart move by them. The big brands are the ones who dare to stand for something. “
Carsten Herholdt explains that a decision to make the festival plant-based shows that NorthSide has a sustainable vision.
‘It is certainly well thought out, I could not imagine otherwise. This does not mean that their values are false, but a commercial festival must also be able to run around on market terms. “
But apparently, not all consumers intend to swallow that narrative raw.
“I do not mind eating more plant-based or making more climate-conscious, green choices, we should. I just do not feel my festival is where it is my focus, “Casper Vildbech told BT this autumn
Photo: Private photo
Festival goer Casper Vildbech said after the announcement to BT that he is dissatisfied with having to pay several thousand kroner to get into a place and then compromise on what he wants.
“I do not see it as NorthSide’s task as a privately owned company to define how we as festival goers should live our lives, that is not the premise I as a festival goer have bought into.”
“For me, festival is a free space where it is not about living by rules and everything we should, so I am completely incomprehensible. Well, then they should also stop selling beer. “
NorthSide itself says that they have made the decision to make it greener to go to festivals – and to take guests on a tasteful journey.
“In general, one can see that brands need to jump into a bigger narrative, whether it’s the fight for homosexuals, religious freedom or sustainability,” explains Casper Vildbech.
‘They need to stick their hand in something that is a bit of a wasp nest because it generates attention, conversation and discussion. But at the same time, it is a discussion that is relative likeablewhich has a good intention. “
The announcement prompted several festival-goers to subsequently contact NorthSide with a wish to have the ticket refunded – but that is not possible, NorthSide told BT in the autumn
“When you buy a ticket to NorthSide, you buy a ticket to an entire festival. You therefore do not get the money refunded because the menu card changes, “they said.
But the festival should also not be worried about splitting the waters and creating dissatisfaction, says Casper Vildbech.
“The fact that they are radical and determined means that they get a brand that becomes interesting as a story. This means that they do not just become a random festival by a lake. “
If it turns out after the festival that the negative feedback represents the majority and that the tickets were not sold, then it will hurt NorthSide, says Casper Vilbech. But he does not believe it happens because the festival hits a spirit of the times.