YouTube lights up as the 2018 music festival season heats up! Literally.

It’s that time of year again. You know, when Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and pretty much every digital platform under the sun (no pun intended) becomes hijacked for two (very long) weekends by millennials – and those of us who like to pretend we’re millennials – oh-so-eager to show the world that they’re at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Whether they do it as a rite of passage or with the hope of making you live vicariously through their boho chic desert adventures, the arrival of Coachella unquestionably marks the beginning of a full-on online video content deluge that lasts all festival season long.

Chart-Topping Uploads and Views

Bell curve of views and uploads for Coachella content over the course of 2017

As to be expected, the largest spikes in content uploads and views in 2017 surrounded the festival’s two weekend-long events – with weekend number one (April 18, 2017, to be exact) peaking at 539 uploads and a total of 9 million views. But that doesn’t really tell the full story of Coachella on YouTube. In 2017 alone, there were 12,472 uploads related to the festival for a whopping 124 million total views. Sure, while the bulk of uploads and views took place in the immediate “halo” of the festival itself, the data actually tells a much bigger story if we look a bit closer: that online video content related to Coachella has a very clear “before, during, and after” life cycle.

The Fan Experience Timeline

Pre Festival, During Festival and Post Festival popular types of Coachella video content


So, what does that life cycle look like? In the lead up to Coachella, it’s not rare to find all sorts of “Survival Guide” (11 percent) and “Fashion Trends and Tips” (18 percent) video content to help festival newbies show up prepared and in style. This typically proves useful for those festival goers who aren’t quite accustomed to the fun of desert living: harsh daytime sun, surprisingly chilly and windy nights, and the occasional dust storm. Being prepared is a must, even if that means always having the cutest bandana within easy reach in case a dust cloud blows through. In 2017, there were 899 uploads and over 18 million views of “Survival Guide” content (with 213 uploads and over 725k views of new content this year already) while “Fashion Trends and Tips” had 1,638 video uploads and over 32 million views last year (reaching 489 uploads and over 14 million views of 2018 content at the time we published this post).

Most popular Coachella-related videos from 2017


Then, there’s the “during” festival content: “Fun Challenges” (3 percent) and “Live Performances” (17 percent). Of course, some of the “Fashion” content spills over into the “during” period as well because, well, let’s face it, some people wait all year long to show off their Coachella gear. (Yes, really.) In 2017, “Fun Challenges” – wearing funny outfits or proving that you can see a record number of performances in one weekend – accounted for 38 total uploads and over 14 million views. In 2018, we’ve already seen 19 uploads and over 825k views of this kind of content – and that’s before the first weekend of the festival even hit.


And once people have gone home, showered, slept, and recovered – most likely in that order – from a long and exhausting weekend, the next and final “after” wave of content comes: “Vloggers” (11 percent), “Official Performance Clips” (4 percent), and “Trip Recaps” (20 percent). This is a lot less of the “in the moment” type of content and more of the “this is what you missed” content. And while both kinds of content are likely to make you feel varying levels of FOMO, this “after” content does a great job of book-ending Coachella in a beautiful way.

Most popular types of Coachella content by category

Long story short: even though festivals like Coachella have a finite “live” life cycle of their own, platforms like YouTube make it possible to experience them over a much longer stretch of time. And if you know that your target consumers love Coachella – or even the artists performing at the music festival – then it should be a no-brainer as to why content targeting will be your most effective tool for reaching these Coachella-loving consumers all year long.