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Lifestyle

Arts & Culture

Music Festivals Bring Big Business to Host Cities

The following is part of a broader series meant to inspire rewarding and fun summer activities following the recent launch of Freedom Unlimited.

Music is more than something that you merely listen to. It's an immersive experience and for many music-lovers, it's a lifestyle that is shared with other like-minded folks. And nowhere is that more obvious than the booming music festival industry. Even in an ever-changing digital music world, fans are happy to pay for the experience of sharing live music with their friends and thousands of strangers. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the 2016 music festival season, created with Paragon.

As record sales continue to slip, live music is emerging as the main source of revenue for artists and promoters. With millennial consumers looking for more meaningful connections with the products and services that they invest in, the resurgence of festivals is fueled by a counterculture of fans that strive to feel closer to the music that they love.

The top five festivals in the United States brought in $183 million in combined ticket sales in 2014, making them a big business for cities that host. This year, top music festivals are expected to see half a million attendees and upwards of $80 million in ticket sales each, plus additional funds from brand sponsorships.

Lollapalooza, a Chicago-based music festival, brought in $155 million to the city, says David Kennedy, Director of Special Events for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "It's a really good business for small businesses and big businesses in terms of tourism and bringing tourism dollars to the city."

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