New Delhi: Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the maker of beer brand Budweiser, is bringing one of the biggest global electronic music festivals, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) to India. The first-ever edition of the Vegas-style festival will be held in Delhi on the 12-13 November, featuring both international and Indian artistes. Budweiser has partnered with media and entertainment firm, Only Much Louder (OML), and the US-based event production company, Insomniac, for the event.

Noting that the brand has always been associated with music globally, Vineet Sharma, associate marketing director at AB InBev, India, said: “After Tommorrowland, EDC is the second biggest event globally. We have found that electronic music is picking up and is devoured by the millennials—the core target group (TG) of Budweiser. Globally, it is a rage and in India as well it is something to look out for. With increasing internet penetration and more consumers travelling abroad, the interest around international music is increasing. We want to shape and nurture electronic music space in India by bringing events, curating content and working closely with artistes."

This year, Budweiser was associated with the dancing event, Sensation, held in Hyderabad in March, followed by Tomorrowland Unite (Mirror to Tomorrowland) in Hyderabad in July, and Don’t Let Daddy Know music festival, which was hosted by Mumbai in May.

Budweiser, which targets digital natives, divides its advertising money equally on experiential and digital mediums. “Our TG is digital natives therefore mobile and digital are crucial mediums. These consumers are also looking for immersive experiences hence on-ground experiential events become important. In these events, consumer experiences the product which is a moment of truth for us. Meanwhile, digital helps us communicating our message, imagery and associations," he explained.

While India is a lucrative market for music festivals, the market for which is estimated at 200 crore, there are stiff challenges.

“India is a tough market to break into; it is more local than other countries. Live events come with lot of technicalities such as understanding the geography, language etc. It is impossible to do this scale of events without brand partnerships in India. Unlike globally, revenue in India is skewed towards sponsorship than ticketing," said Vijay Nair, chief executive officer, OML Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which has promoted and presented tours in India for David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, Norah Jones, Russell Peters and AIB Knockout.

Currently, 80% of the total revenue of the international music events comes from brand sponsorship while for a more established property such as Bacardi sponsored NH7 Weekender—the annual multi-city music festival—it stands at 40%. The cities that are hosting such events include Mumbai, Pune, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Music as a platform cuts across so many demographics leading brands to find passion points in it, believes Ajit Gurnani, managing partner of media agency ZenithOptimedia.

According to him, in case of liquor brands, music festivals work because apart from regulatory challenges (liquor brands cannot advertise in India), such events make for an effective consumption occasion especially for young consumers. “Liquor companies are trying to catch the young consumers. Once you get into a repertoire of brands that young people consume, the brand will grow along with them," he said.

Gurnani said that these shows are not mass but it does give brands a certain kind of premium value which, for instance, a sports event won’t ever provide. He also attributes the trend to the advent of social media and over the top (OTT) platforms; consumers are also exposed to internationally popular shows and events on a real time basis and that creates an interest, he said.