Brand Strategy Music India

Brands and punters onboard as Lollapalooza debuts in India

By Amit Bapna, APAC editor-at-large

January 25, 2023 | 8 min read

Lollapalooza’s iconic music festival is rolling into India for the first time, and punters and brands are chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action. The Drum looks at the first-ever Indian edition of the global musical event.

Lollapalooza India 2023

Lollapalooza India 2023

Unpacking Lollapalooza for India

The first Lollapalooza blasted onto the scene in 1991 as the brainchild of founder Perry Farrell. Initially launched as a touring festival as part of a farewell tour for Farrell's band Jane's Addiction, the event grew into a destination annual music festival. It has since crossed many borders to become an iconic global music festival. Breaking outside the US market for the first time in 2011, Lollapalooza has been staged in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Isreal, Germany and Sweden.

This year, Lollapalooza is launching its first-ever India edition with a line-up of over 40 artists, four stages and over 20 hours of live music, art and culture in Mumbai. The mega property has been brought to India by the leading Indian entertainment destination BookMyShow, along with producers Perry Farrell, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and C3 Presents.

It is the first time the event has been staged in Asia, and organisers are expecting a massive turnout. The global powerhouse music event is forecast to attract over 60,000 people across the two-day event this month (28 and 29 January).

Behind the key brand associations

It is not just consumers who are interested in the event, however, with the Indian debut of the music festival attracting a high level of interest from brands as well.

Brands such as Budweiser, Johnnie Walker, Nexa, Bumble, Levi’s and Snapchat have dived onboard in a bid to boost their clout through the association with the iconic event.

The brand partners and sponsors are aiming to connect with consumers by creating custom experiences with a focus on going beyond mobile screens. Here is a look at some of the key sponsors and what they have lined up.

  • Budweiser is the event's co-presenting sponsor and has naming rights for two of the stages - the BudX Stage and the Beats Stage. Budweiser has seized the opportunity to promote its Beats Energy Drink at the event and grow awareness for the brand. The partnership fits within the brand's long-standing association with music and creative expression. The Anheuser-Busch InBev brand also plans to create an "immersive production for fans", according to Vineet Sharma, vice president-marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
  • Johnnie Walker is also a co-presenting sponsor and aims to generate awareness and hype around its newly launched Johnnie Walker Refreshing Mixer non-alcoholic drink. The idea is to highlight the power of collective progress via the recently launched brand platform ‘Walkers & Co’., an initiative that celebrates people challenging the status quo. The brand positioning is an excellent fit with the music festival brand and the crowds of people attending.
  • Levi’s leapt at the opportunity to partner with Lollapolooza as the brand has a strong affinity with music. The brand aims to use the event to connect with "a new generation of Levi’s fans", according to Amisha Jain, senior vice president & managing director of SAMEA, Levi Strauss & Co, and will use the sponsorship to "help create memorable experiences and be present in the lives of its consumers at moments when they are their true selves.” Levi's will host a one-of-a-kind pop-up ‘Tailorshop’ for fans to customize their favourite jeans with a range of customization services, including panelling, screen printing and heat-press stickers.
  • Nexa, the premium retail channel of automotive brand Maruti Suzuki, is another co-presenting sponsor and will host a dedicated premium experience. The ‘Nexa Lounge’ is an elevated viewing deck with reserved tables, complimentary food and drink experiences, front-stage access, valet and exclusive festival shuttles to the event and between stages - among a host of other things. The brand has had Nexa cars customised in Lollapalooza themes do the rounds of the streets of key Indian metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune to drum up hype, as well as hosting skateboarding, graffiti and music events in the lead-up. The premium auto brand has also launched a content series on YouTube titled ‘Nexa Car-a-oke’ featuring candid conversations with popular music industry artists.
  • Bumble will be on the ground at the event with a Bumble Hive experience, complete with photo booths, phone charging stations, treats and merchandise, as well as chill-out areas for people to relax.

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An all-inclusive music festival

Beyond the music and brands, Lollapalooza India 2023 aims to create the first multi-genre music festival in India at this scale to make the music all-inclusive.

It will feature sign language interpreters to interpret the music for headlining artists at the main BudX stage for hearing-impaired attendees to enjoy the music. In addition, there would be a dedicated lane for wheelchair access, including risers on the way to different festival zones and a dedicated riser platform at each stage.

The Lollapalooza India 2023 team is also working with partner organisations to make the festival a safe space for individuals across the LGBTQIA+ community. This includes having quick response teams to have on-ground assistance for psychological safety and inclusivity towards members of all communities, as well as sensitizing the festival crew and staff on genders, pronouns, consent & other such crucial aspects while interacting with festival attendees for any interventions, enabling gender-neutral washrooms to eliminate distinction. Even the frisking at the festival entry lanes will be done in an all-inclusive manner and across gender-neutral lanes by adequately trained security personnel.

The aim is to make Lollapalooza India 2023 an equal event for all.

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