From ‘Fauxstaglia’ to Fan Frenzy: Inside Splendour’s Success


35,000 fans. 77 artists. 3 days. 1 unforgettable music festival. Meet one of the visionaries behind the iconic Splendour in the Grass – Kristy Rosser, a powerhouse in the Australia/New Zealand festival scene.

Pictured left to right: Kristy Rosser, Greg Segal, and Russell Wallach

Congratulations on yet another successful Splendour In The Grass–Australia’s largest music festival! It was awesome to attend in person this year. Describe the Australian music festival scene for us. What fan trends are standing out to you most right now?

KR: Going to music festivals is very ingrained in Australian culture. Splendour in the Grass, for example, is one of our most iconic festivals, and hosts highly-anticipated local and international acts annually, providing unrivaled onsite experiences for fans across three action-packed days. We also have successful single-day touring festivals like Spilt Milk which will have up to 175,000 people attending, and premium destination festivals such as Harvest Rock, which caters primarily to millennial and gen X audiences. Our festival culture continues to thrive.

These are a few of the top emerging fan trends we’re seeing:

1. The music scene in Australia has never been more diverse and exciting.

Our recent research shows 24% of Australians are listening to non-English speaking artists more than before, and Asia Pop concerts are performing strongly in the Australian market. For instance, South Korea’s Balming Tiger drew a strong crowd at Splendour. At the same time, we’re also seeing homegrown acts get a lot of support at Splendour. Festival highlights were artists like Flume, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Ruel, and Tkay Maizda.

2. People are craving togetherness and real-life experiences more than ever before.

Our recent research found that 79% of Australians agree they are starving for real experiences that put them in touch with the real world and raw emotions, and 83% agreed live music is the ultimate escape from our digital lives. This enthusiasm was evident throughout the entire weekend at Splendour. It was a great crowd, and a real sense of excitement surrounded the festival.

3. Beyond their music preferences, fashion is a form of self-expression for festival fans.

There was a large amount of nostalgia and ‘fauxstalgia’ coming through in how attendees were dressing, and we couldn’t help but notice Barbie-mania already sweeping through Splendour.

Brands like Casamigos, Rimmel, and Red Bull gave fans private performances within their onsite activations, a recent trend we’re seeing fans get excited about at festivals across the globe. How do brands contribute to the festival culture in Australia? What were some standout brand activations at Splendour in the Grass?

KR: In Australia, brands use festivals as a “surprise and delight” moment for fans, enhancing their festival experience with lasting memories. Many of the brand activations at Splendour included artist stages, which is a drawcard for festival-goers to seek out and dwell in their space.

Celebrating its 21st year, some of the brand highlights at Splendour in the Grass included:

Smirnoff Seltzer Springs | Smirnoff activated a two-story Palm Springs-themed pop-up bar and eco-glitter station, which kept guests refreshed with a mix of fruity seltzers and a line-up of daily DJs across multiple stages.

Byron Bay Brewery | Byron Bay Brewery hosted a live music venue within the festival, featuring an all-Australian line-up of DJs and bands each day at its dedicated beer garden.

Red Bull Unforeseen | “Hidden in plain sight, seek and you shall find…” Red Bull created a hidden bar, disguised as a tropical airport experience, complete with check-in, arcade games, baggage handlers, and local and First Nations DJs.

Casamigos Tequila | Casamigos Tequila debuted this year, creating a luxury tequila oasis featuring a dedicated Margarita bar, signature margaritas, DJ programming, and VIP seating booths.

Platypus | Platypus gave loved-up attendees the opportunity to commit to their significant other at its Las Vegas-themed chapel, which featured an Elvis impersonator and a limited range of products. Platypus also activated a ‘Get Your Kicks’ karaoke bar.

Garnier Hair Food Hub | Garnier treated festival-goers to a mouth-watering hair experience at the Garnier Food Hub, offering daily styling services alongside a refreshing juice bar.

Rimmel | Rimmel brought the London Street party energy with a double-decker bus, red phone booths, a resident DJ, and free makeovers for fans to elevate their festival looks.

Modibodi | In their first attendance, the Period Underwear brand offered festival-goers the chance to learn more about the physical and environmental benefits of their products and provided access to its exclusive ‘Life-Changing Loos’ each day of the festival.

Mumm Champagne | Their Splendour Champagne Bar offered an elevated view of the festival for people watching as fans enjoyed French cheese and champagne.

Smirnoff Seltzer Springs
Byron Bay Brewery
Red Bull Unforeseen
Casamigos Tequila
Garnier Hair Food Hub
Mumm Champagne

How does your team approach creating branded experiences at Splendour in the Grass that resonate with festival-goers while also aligning with the festival’s overall atmosphere?

KR:From the get-go, it’s imperative for our team to ensure that all branded experiences complement Splendour’s existing festival atmosphere. Although we’re very much led by a brand’s objectives when developing each branded experience, we are equally tasked with ensuring our recommendations allow for a brand’s seamless and authentic integration into the world of Splendour. Through our intricate understanding of Splendour’s brand and its audience, we can confidently provide our brand partners with considered recommendations on how to successfully resonate with our festival and its audience throughout their partnership campaign.

When planning a campaign, we are focused on the pre-event campaign as much as the onsite. For example, our partners will have national retail promotions in the market, we’ll create custom content for social sharing, engage influencers, and more. Our in-house team creates the majority of the campaigns and experiential work for our brand partners.

Pictured: Maddie Simonsen, Emma Moy, Jess Song, Maddi Taylor, Kristy Rosser, Aimee Stewart, Lucy Morris, Nicole Lembke, Gemma Ritchie, Stuart Freeman, Andrew Summers, De-Anne Joseph, Anthony Webster, Abby Dargan, Chloe Hunter, Michael McGahan, Jess Drowley, Kim Friedlaender, Russell Wallach, Klara Draper, Greg Segal, Leighroy Merrick, Sophie Quigley, & Zoe Murdoch

Camping festivals always open the door for new ways brands can add value to fans. With 15,000+  fans camping onsite at Splendour in the Grass, how does that open the door for brands to engage with fans onsite?

KR: Over 15,000 campers call Splendour’s festival site home for 4 to 5 days each year, resulting in a large captive audience accessible to brand partners across the festival weekend. Brands have an incredible opportunity to add value to the camping experience at Splendour in the Grass in a seamless and genuine way, offering creative comforts to Splendour’s campers at their home away from home.

Whether it be fancy bathrooms, free facials, or iced lattes dropped at your tent each morning, the possibilities are endless for brand partners looking to have real impact and cut-through in this space. Having a captive audience at the festival for days also means that people are really exploring all areas of the festival, which ensures strong engagement with branded activations onsite.

How has feedback from festival-goers influenced the evolution of branded experiences at Splendour in the Grass over the years, and what improvements were made for this year’s festival?

KR: We conduct an annual study, Love Song, which taps into the pulse of cultural shifts in Australia’s festival scene, particularly focused on young adults. These insights continue to inform our ever-evolving understanding of Splendour’s audience and the things they value most year after year.

In response to feedback, we’ve spent the last 12 months focused on improvements at the North Byron Parklands venue to make the venue more resilient in all weather, and to ensure all 40,000 fans have the best experience possible.

Unlike most music festivals, which take place during the Summer, Splendour in the Grass is held in the Winter. What makes this timing impactful for the festival, its brand partners, and its attendees?

KR: Australians are spoiled for choice when it comes to music festivals held during the Summer period (November through to February). Music fans tend to travel far and wide over those months, but Splendour in the Grass is unique. It takes place in the middle of Australia’s winter period (July) in the beautiful Byron Bay. Since its inception in 2001, Splendour has grown to become the tentpole moment in Australia’s annual live music calendar. Its long-term home in Winter has meant little to no conflict in everyone’s calendar, creating a huge buzz and annual pilgrimage amongst the music, arts, and creative communities.

You’re a staple in the live music industry across Australia and New Zealand. Of all the shows and festivals you’ve attended, what’s the most memorable performance?

KR: There have been so many! One of my most memorable performances was Lorde taking the stage at Splendour in the Grass, replacing Frank Ocean, who had pulled out at the last minute. Lorde was 16 years old. It was her first performance in front of a big crowd, and she brought the house down. It was a goosebumps moment.

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