case study

2021 Firefly Music Festival

How Firefly Changed the Marketing Game with Immersive Experiences on Mandolin
2021 Firefly Music Festival

Alexandra McArthur, Vice President Sales at AEG Presents, Global Partnerships

About Firefly/AEG

Since artists first took their stages in 2012, Firefly Music Festival has staked their claim as one of the most beloved and fastest growing festivals for live music fans across the globe. For four days, the festival transforms The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway into a music lover’s paradise—boasting seven stages and over 100 performances from today’s top musicians. From silent discos to DJ sets nested in the trees, the festival provides unforgettable experiences for fans of all ages to gather together, camp out and enjoy the sounds. 

Firefly’s road to rapid growth has been two-fold: 1) creating an incredible in-person fan experience to keep fans coming back year-after-year and 2) running a sophisticated marketing operation that inspires new fans to get in on the action year after year. A core component of this operation—livestreaming the festival for free to give global audiences an immersive taste of what they could experience in-person next year.

From Impressions to Experiences

Firefly has kept a close eye on all the innovation in livestream technology throughout the pandemic. So this year, they wanted to turn their marketing approach up a notch—making the virtual experience as immersive as possible. They knew that with the right platform, they could give digital fans a chance to truly be a part of the action and increase the value of each impression gathered from the stream. They sought a partner with the production expertise and technical capacity to stream pristine audio and visuals to hundreds of thousands of fans across multiple stages without fail.

But being the savvy marketers they are, they knew an incredible digital experience was only as good as the insights it could supply. So to keep improving year-over-year, they needed a livestream platform that could do all of this and report back with a robust set of fan engagement insights.

The Virtual Experience Gets Amplified

After considering a number of other livestream platforms, Firefly entrusted Mandolin to not only execute their vision for this year’s festival, but to reimagine the digital experience.

Multi-Stage, Live-Livestreams Increase Artist Access

With Mandolin, Firefly was able to stream each of the 4 main stages in real-time to bring more  live-live experiences to life. This multistage viewing experience allowed Firefly to stream more artists while giving fans the opportunity to explore different sets and engage with more live music than ever before.

And Fans Enjoyed So Much More

Mandolin’s mobile app leveled up the festival experience for both onsite fans and their global counterparts. Whenever in-person attendees needed to take a break or return to camp, they could stay plugged into the festival’s streams through the mobile app and never miss a beat. Beyond just livestream, each mobile user had the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite artists by exploring a 360 degree view of the stage... whenever from wherever.

Monetizing a Free Festival Stream

While the stream was free, Firefly’s partnership with Mandolin opened the doors to a multitude of new digital monetization opportunities—from seamlessly selling festival merch and virtual meet & greets to welcoming new brand sponsors into the fold. With the Mandolin app, Firefly now had the additional digital real estate to allow for BOTOX® Cosmetic to get involved with the festival. Here, the brand was able to prominently display branded content to a captive audience and provide seamless access to persona-specific stories—letting fans engage directly with the brand in a digital-only fashion.

On the topic, Alexandra McArthur shares, “Brand partners play an important role at Firefly, and we’ve always been careful to make sure they enhance the festival experience, and never detract from it. With the additional digital aspects that Mandolin offered, we were able to allow our sponsors an opportunity to get involved from a livestream perspective. Mandolin offered superb quality content of the live event, and allowed fans to actually engage in a streamlined fashion. We're proud that we were able to partner with Mandolin to allow for an additional touchpoint through digital and livestream."  

Fan Insights Galore

Not only did Firefly engage fans in new and exciting ways, their partnership with Mandolin helped them understand their audience better. With Mandolin Studio, they can assess the full impact of going virtual this year—from evaluating the overall reach of the festival to the user behavior of those who tuned in (such as time spent viewing each artist or stage, how many days they tuned into, location of viewers, revenue from merch and location of purchases, and how users engaged with specific features like Watch Parties).


Fans tuned in from all over

  1. 134 Distinct Countries Streamed the 2021 Firefly Music Festival

And they really stuck around

  1. 1.8M - Total Minutes Spent Watching Festival
  2. 1.3 hours - Average Watch Time per Fan

And they brought their friends along for the ride. 

  1. 27% of Chat Messages Sent through Watch Parties
  2. 27% social network-driven RSVPs

(For more data like this, check out the Firefly DataStream here.)

Fans loved it

Data’s great... but sometimes the fans say it best.

Ready to Amplify your next show or festival with Mandolin?

Firefly 2021 was the first of its kind in many ways—enhancing the in-person experience and showing that engaging fans in unique, digital ways isn’t all that hard. Get in touch with us at the form below to discuss digitally enhancing your next show or festival with Mandolin.


134 Distinct Countries Streamed the 2021 Firefly Music Festival
1.8M - Total Minutes Spent Watching Festival
1.3 hours - Average Watch Time per Fan