This year is turning out to be a big one for local fans of live music in Indianapolis. In addition to the return of some of our perennial favorites, early June brought the inaugural Wonder Road festival to Garfield Park—just down Shelby Street from our agency. Over Labor Day weekend, another music festival will make its debut at Indiana State Fairgrounds: All IN Music & Arts Festival. The event is organized by the same guys who built Deer Creek, Steve Sybesma and Dave Lucas.
The new events are welcome additions after two years of limited capacity concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And they have us daydreaming about what a music festival put on by Well Done Marketing might look like? Before you balk at the idea of an ad agency organizing a music festival, remember that our founder is the same guy who launched Tonic Ball more than 20 years ago.
What started as a handful of bands playing cover tunes at Radio Radio has grown to five venues featuring more than 75 local bands in a single night. In addition to Ken’s decades-long involvement, many of our staff members have managed a stage, moonlighted as a lead guitarist, or helped with the marketing of the event. While November’s Tonic Ball may not be a music festival in the traditional sense, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about putting on a good show, especially when that show makes a positive impact on our community.
Now that you understand where we’re coming from, let’s get back to daydreaming. First, we had to settle on a name. Our junior writer, Grace Phillips came up with an irresistible pun: Cornchella. It’s a Midwest twist on a music festival classic that celebrates Indiana’s signature crop. How could we pass that up?
Helping Sponsors Shine
Now that we have a name, it’s time to sell this thing. Since most of our day is spent crafting messages and visuals for clients, we’d be remiss if we failed to capitalize on the exposure that a major music festival offers. But those tired stage banners with sponsor logos are boring, and we think we can come up with a more authentic brand experience than that time SXSW had bands play inside a giant Doritos vending machine.
Here are just a few ideas of ways Well Done clients could get involved that are meaningful and underscore their value:
- The entire festival could be “Powered by WVPA”—the electric cooperative we’ve spent more than a decade supporting.
- On-site medical services would be provided by our friends making health possible for East Central Indiana at Hancock Health.
- Waste management would be overseen by the environmental equipment experts at Best Equipment Company.
- Our experience with Tonic Ball has taught us music can be a uniting force, so we’d create a space at the festival dedicated to discussing constitutional rights, moderated by our friends at ACLU of Indiana.
Celebrating Indiana’s Music History
What might set Cornchella apart from other music festivals? In Indiana, we have a rich, musical history, and it’s one that too few Hoosiers celebrate. To fix this, we’d bring in WFYI’s Kyle Long to interview living legends of Indiana music between performances. If, like many of us at Well Done, you’re a weekly listener of Long’s Cultural Manifesto and Echoes of Indiana Avenue, you know he’s perfect for this role. We’re proud of our Central Indiana roots at Well Done, and we think bringing in some Hoosier history would be a great way to celebrate our local arts and culture scene at Cornchella.
Announcing the Lineup
It wouldn’t be a fictional music festival without a fictional lineup. This week, our creative team has been hard at work coming up with our dream list of fictional band names. Check out the official Cornchella poster for a few of our favorite Hoosierfied takes on some iconic musical acts, like Lil Fort Wayne, Gary Styles, Indy Azalea, and Creedence White River Revival. Think you can come up with a better fictional band name? We want to hear it!
Keeping the Kids in Mind
Many of us on the Well Done team are parents. That makes it tough to attend most music festivals. We want Cornchella to be an inclusive event, so we’d make it available to all ages. But what about kids who are too young to enjoy a music festival? For those kids and their parents, we’d build in a VIP ticket option that includes on-site daycare for parents of toddlers. We could ask a local organization like Rhythm! Discovery Center to curate the area and make it interactive and fun, so our budding musicians could create sounds alongside the professional acts on the stages.
These are just a few items on our music festival wish list. But we want to hear from you. What does your ideal music festival include? Where did we go wrong? What did we miss? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #Cornchella. Let’s get this party started.