FestWorld, a new lifestyle magazine for music festival fans, launched in March with an initial run of 350,000 print copies— and no online content.
Scotty Moore, FestWorld’s founder and chief creative officer, is no Luddite. He previously co-founded FestPop, an online platform for music festival discovery and travel booking. His new magazine has a similar goal of inspiring music fans to travel and experience festivals across the globe.
“There are music festivals for everyone, whether you are 18 or 80,” Moore said.
“A lot of magazines are failing because they are in a crowded market. But there is not one magazine exclusively for music festivals,” Moore said. “Being a print-only magazine adds value to our content, and brings more value to our advertisers.”
Festivals are the fastest-growing segment of the live music business in the United States. According to Nielsen, over 32 million Americans attend a music festival each year, and a third of those attend multiple festivals. The average festivalgoer travels hundreds of miles to attend the event.
The premier issue of FestWorld features some of America’s biggest music festivals, including Coachella, Hangout Fest and Electric Forest. It also highlights a few of Europe’s unique festivals, such as EXIT in Serbia and Secret Solstice in Iceland.
FestWorld contains more practical information about festivals than leading music magazines. Along with packing advice for each festival, FestWorld also offers fashion tips, food recommendations and even exercise routines to stay fit.
FestWorld has announced plans to donate $2 from each subscription to organizations combating the opioid epidemic. It has partnered with the National Opioid Action Coalition and Full Energy, No Drugs (FEND) to raise awareness of the crisis.
“Music festivals have a drug culture. But we want to keep it legal,” Moore said. “We don’t want to lose any more of our music heroes or fans.”
Moore said the FestWorld Foundation, the magazine’s charitable arm, is still in the process of obtaining nonprofit status.
FestWorld Magazine is based in Sacramento, California, and currently has about 25 people on its staff. It also assigns articles to unpaid freelancers who are content with the perks of festival access and a wide readership.
FestWorld’s coverage of music festivals is uniformly positive. “Rolling Stone comes up with dirt and gossip. We don’t do that,” Moore said. “We won’t say anything negative.”
Sometimes, FestWorld’s unbridled enthusiasm for its subjects makes it difficult to distinguish editorial from sponsored content, or even from traditional ads. The glowing descriptions of several festivals, restaurants and attractions in the premier issue are taken verbatim from their websites. Its page designs freely incorporate festivals’ official lineup posters and branding.
When asked about FestWorld’s independence and objectivity, Moore restated the magazine’s editorial mission: “to provide informative, engaging and entertaining content for music festival fans.”
FestWorld is available now at Barnes & Noble stores and on Amazon. Free copies will be distributed at major festivals around the world this year, thanks to advertising revenue from iHeartMedia, Live Nation, Virgin Hotels and other high-profile sponsors.
Moore is currently working to bring FestWorld to airport newsstands, so fans can read up on their next festival on their way to the event.
FestWorld also has entered a distribution partnership with Sixthman, a cruise line that brings music festivals to the high seas. This year, Sixthman is offering cruises with KISS, Jon Bon Jovi, Kid Rock and Belle & Sebastian.
“We reach pretty intense music fans who are spending thousands of dollars and their vacation days to be at these events,” said Anthony Diaz, CEO of Sixthman. “Putting the magazines in cabins gives the guest a little surprise. It’s a cool gift.”
“I think [Moore] is filling a genuine void for fans with a magazine that dives into the festival lifestyle,” Diaz added.