How Music Festivals Can Help Cannabis Brands

music festival
Illicit Gardens' booth at Kelce Jam.

Music festivals always seem to elicit good vibes. Between the DJ’s, people, food and vendors in the area, it’s hard not to have a good time. 

It’s also the perfect place for cannabis brands to successfully market themselves. 

Travis Kelce’s community festival, ‘Kelce Jam’, returned on Saturday, May 18 with a bang. The three-time Super Bowl champion entertained fans after his viral moment with a replica Lombardi trophy. The festival also featured musical performances by Lil Wayne, Diplo, 2 Chainz, Irie and E-V. Taking place at the Azura Amphitheater in Kansas City, it was a day to remember.

Illicit Gardens Reaching the Music Festival Community

Missouri-based cannabis brand Illicit Gardens partnered with Kelce Jam to reach that community and spread brand awareness. Not only did their booth feature a photo moment, but they also passed out non-product giveaways and promotions throughout the event.

“We had a big 10ft x 20ft booth and gave out tons of merch, promo items, cool collectible items such as stickers, patches, magnets and everything you could think of,” says brand CMO David Craig. “We also made sure to educate people on our brand and had a photo booth.”

This isn’t the first time Illicit Gardens partnered with Kelce Jam, and it certainly won’t be the last. “The turnout was amazing — it was a completely sold out show,” Craig notes. “Compared to last year, this year there was a little more energy, more people and the DJ’s were playing cool music. It was action-packed from start to finish.”

Illicit Gardens’ booth at Kelce Jam.

A Fun Way to Attract New Customers

Craig advises that music festivals are a great way for cannabis brands to gain traction. “Typically, when you’re at an outdoor festival, people may already be consuming beforehand or on sight, which means they’re open to that messaging,” he says. “Our messaging also revolves around music, which helps to reach these consumers. For example, our pre-roll containers look like cassette tapes.”

Illicit Gardens has also partnered with local artists and musicians to do campaigns, highlighting how music is used in the creative process of making their products. “So on top of reaching the right people at the right time, our brand is very music-oriented,” says Craig.

For cannabis brands also looking to capitalize on music festivals, Craig advises to reach consumers through nostalgia by making them remember the first time they tried marijuana. 

“Using retro imagery that represents nostalgia is important,” he says. “Using those old symbols like a cassette tape or vinyl covers speaks to a lot of people and makes your brand relatable. At the end of the day, we might not like the same band, but we all listen to music, so that’s important to highlight.”

Continuing to Market at Music Festivals

Craig says the brand leans very heavily into music festivals, seeing as they always receive such a great turnout. “Last year, we were present for 600 total pop-ups and events. Some of those are pop-up dispensaries for promos, but a lot of those are music festivals and concerts,” he notes. 

The goal is to sponsor larger music events, along with attending smaller theaters in the area, according to Craig. 

“This year for 4/20, we sponsored a huge 3,000 person event. And then in June, we’re doing another really big EDM festival at the Azura Amphitheater called the Breakaway Music Festival,” he says.