Oxegen 2011 – A case study on social media and festivals

Oxegen 11 LogoIntro

There are very few live events that people now attend without wanting to document the experience in social media. From small scale birthday gatherings to global fixtures such as the World Cup, it’s almost as if the event didn’t happen if you haven’t posted a photograph on Facebook, sent a tweet or checked in on Foursquare. Some claim our actual in-the-moment experiences are being diminished by our constant need to share it with those that aren’t there. The continuing rise in the ownership of smartphones – from which people can access and update their various social media profiles – combined with improving 3G and wifi coverage means it has never been easier to let other people know just how good (or bad) a time you’re having.

Whatever your opinions on the impact of a sea of phones set to “record” during these events, there can be no denying that the information people share publicly is invaluable for anyone with a commercial interest. From promoters to sponsors, there now exists a wealth of real-time feedback and post-event analysis.


Oxegen 2011

One such event that took place in Ireland in July 2011 was Oxegen. An annual music festival held at Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare, Oxegen has grown to become one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, winning the Best European Festival Line Up at the European Festival Awards in 2011.

O’Leary Analytics has analysed more than 34,000 mentions of the festival across the social media spectrum during a 12 day period – from July 1st to July 12th. It covers the build up the event, the weekend itself and the reaction in the days after. We also examined the activity of the almost 200,000 fans on the official Oxegen Facebook page during the same time period.

The keywords used for analysis were “Oxegen”, “Oxegen11”, “Oxegen2011”, “Oxygen11” or “Oxygen2011”.


Day by Day:

The festival began officially on Friday, July 8th, but it was two days earlier, on Wednesday, July 6th that the biggest single-day spike in coverage occurred. Analysis of the conversations has shown that this spike was driven by a competition run by Dublin-based radio station Spin 103.8 FM. They asked their followers to re-tweet (re-publish word for word) the following tweet “I want to go to Oxegen this Friday with the number 1 Oxegen station #spin1038 – RT”. The opportunity to win tickets coupled with the ease of entry led to a massive spike in Oxegen mentions on the day.


 Day by Day Social Media Coverage of Oxegen 2011

Where were people talking?

Twitter dominated all other forms of public social media conversations surrounding Oxegen – with more than 25,000 Tweets published during the 12 day period. However, the single biggest website for Oxegen mentions was Boards.ie – with more than 2,500 posts published mentioning the festival.

Oxegen 2011 Social Media Types

What were people saying?

Having analysed the 34,000 conversations, we then extracted the 100 most frequently occurring words displayed in the word cloud below. Following their competition on Twitter, it was no surprise to see Spin1038 feature in the list. The debate surrounding Amanda Brunker’s performance ensured she also made it in to the Top 100, but the artist that led to the most chatter was without question Beyoncé – with more than 2,600 mentions. Coldplay and The Foo Fighters also feature in the word cloud – the tone of which is overwhelmingly positive with words such as “good”, “great”, “fun” and “amazing” all making the top 100.

Oxegen 2011 Word Cloud 2

How the Sponsors compared

At the festival, and in many photographs from the event, one of the most recognisable sights was the pirate hats given out by Captain Morgan. However, how did each of the major sponsors / partners measure up in terms of mentions? One of the best opportunities existed for those who sponsored stages. The graph below compares the coverage each of the stage sponsors received. 2FM – who were joint sponsors of the Academy Stage with Hot Press – had the highest number of mentions. Vodafone – with the biggest sponsored stage (the main stage didn’t carry any sponsors name) – was the second most prominent brand, followed by Heineken and Red Bull.

Sponsors Mentions

The Official Oxegen Facebook Page – getting it right

As well as looking at more than 34,000 Oxegen-related social media results, O’Leary Analytics also examined the official Oxegen Facebook Page. The page is about to reach 200,000 fans – and the level of engagement during the 12 days period was impressive. A total of 114 posts were published by the page administrators – a little less than 10 per day – as illustrated in the graph below. Each post led to an average of 31 comments and 117 likes.


Oxegen Official Facebook Page Fan Activity


When we look a little deeper at the different types of posts on the Oxegen Facebook Page, we can evaluate which type of post led to the greatest level of engagement. The graph below shows that photographs were the most popular form of post, with an average of 147 likes per post. However, it was status updates that led to the greatest level of engagement with an average of 52 comments per post. Videos led to the lowest levels of engagement with only 15 comments per post on average.


Oxegen Official Facebook Page Fan Activity Per Post Type

Often it is the most simple posts that generate the biggest response. Asking the question – “Who is the best new act playing Oxegen that you’d recommend that everyone checks out this weekend?” was enough to generate 319 comments – more than double that of any other post during the time period analysed.

Facebook Post


Increasingly, sponsors and corporate backers are demanding improved return on their investments at events. Festival and event organisers are coming under pressure to provide these results to existing sponsors, and to have the information to hand when trying to attract new sponsors. Analysis of the social media coverage generated by your event can be a very valuable tool when it comes to negotiation. In addition to analysing the coverage of your own event, comparing your coverage to that of your competitors – in the case of Oxegen this may be Electric Picnic or similar sized festivals in the UK or across Europe – is another valuable metric. It also provides you with a benchmark for future events.

If you would like to discuss how O’Leary Analytics can help you monitor or analyse your event – retrospectively if necessary – don’t hesitate in dropping us a line – You will find all our contact details hereCONTACT US

Leave a Comment