Taking Connections From Digital To IRL: Tinder Hits The Festival Circuit

All About The Connections: Fans take selfies at the fountain during 2022’s
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 16, 2022. Influencers Drew Afualo and Brittany Broski were at the event to show off what Tinder’s Festival Mode is all about including hosting “Match On The Street.” Photo by Erika Goldring / WireImage / Getty Images

At the heart of music festivals is the chance to see a wide range of live performances over multiple days. But it’s also about the food, the overall experience and the potential connections fans might make at the events. The news earlier this year that Live Nation and fellow live event producers AEG Presents and Superstruct Entertainment had partnered with online dating app Tinder is a total match.

Nearly 1 in 3 singles (31%) plan on attending a music festival or concert this year and over 3 in 5 (61%) say they’ve “become friends, or more,” with people they met at a music festival or concert, according to a recent study conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Tinder among adults 18 and older.

Tinder initially partnered with Live Nation and AEG in 2019 with its Festival Mode feature, giving festival attendees the chance to connect with fellow fans ahead of a dozen events in the U.S. and U.K. As pandemic restrictions lifted and both in-person concerts and dating began to return, Tinder launched its Explore hub in September 2021 – featuring new, interactive ways to use Tinder with the option to navigate through profiles arranged by interest. In April, the dating app announced it was teaming up with Live Nation, AEG Presents and Superstruct Entertainment, with 21 festivals featured in Festival Mode across 10 countries as fans prepared “for the first true festival season in years.”

Featured festivals include Bonnaroo, EDC Las Vegas, Hard Summer, Stagecoach, The Governors Ball, Australia’s Splendour in the Grass, Lollapalooza Paris and England’s All Points East.

“Fans purchase their tickets 120 days out. We’ve really examined the festival fan journey – [starting] when they purchased their tickets, they’re in planning mode the whole time. So we talked to Tinder and what they were trying to create with Festival Mode and more specifically with the Explore hub,” Maureen Ford, Live Nation’s Head of National and Festival Sales, tells Pollstar.

“People are looking for activities to engage with that pre-journey … anything that can give people that festival community feeling that leads up to the event itself – because we know it lives way beyond that after the event. The life cycle of something that used to be maybe a three-day event [we’re] really looking at a six-month lifespan with fans.”

Live Nation launched its own Influencer Network earlier this year and as part of Live Nation’s partnership with Tinder, influencers were sent out to a few LN festivals to create content around the Festival Mode feature including TikTok star Drew Afualo asking fans at Gov Ball for dating hot takes and Cory Winn and Damen Mummert aka TikTok duo Speedy & The G playing “Dave, Marry, Ghost” at Electric Daisy Carnival.

Look out for an influencer or two to show up at HARD Summer, held July 29-31 at NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif.

“People are using Tinder and we know they’re music lovers. So we’re just connecting their users as well as new fans. Everything we do is how we’re enhancing the fan experience. Fans [don’t want it] any other way. That big sign on the side of the stage or, you know, a big pop up of whatever their product is … consumers don’t want to see it and brands don’t want to be part of it anymore,” Ford says.

“A lot of work goes into learning about our audiences, learning about brands’ audiences, making sure that we have authentic connections and then having our creative division and our activation experiential team go out there and build these things. We just listen to what the consumers tell us they want.”