Would You Attend A Summer Camp Hosted By Your Favorite Band?

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Marketing is everything in 2015, and earlier this week 30 Seconds To Mars (30STM) took their ever-innovative approach to spreading awareness by announcing plans to host their very own summer camp. The event, playfully dubbed ‘Camp Mars,’ will take place August 22-24, 2015 in Malibu, California. The tickets are limited to 550 overnight packages with limited day passes, ranging in price from $799-$1,999 at tiers such as “Tree Huggin’,” “Coyote” and “Red Hawk.”

You wouldn’t be considered crazy if you found yourself thinking $800 seems like a heft price for a gathering of any band’s fans in Southern California, but 30STM have already outline a number of plans that will serve to make ‘Camp Mars’ a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hiking, meditation, and yoga activities have all been revealed already, as well as band member lead experiences like coffee with drummer Shannon Leto or cooking with guitarist Tomo Miličević. There will be also two performances from the band, along with multiple DJ sets. 

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In a note on the website, the band states, “This is a rustic nature experience expect to share your living space and live in a wonderfully communal way. The facilities are clean and safe but they not four star hotel suites with dinner mints on your pillows make sure you understand exactly what you are getting.” This means plenty of bonding time for the 30STM fan base, which is just as big, if not bigger overseas than it is here in the states. ‘Camp Mars’ is a global event.

We have always looked to do things for our audience that are fun and unique,“ Leto told Rolling Stone about the Camp Mars weekend. "What better way to celebrate the summer than in beautiful Southern California with the Mars family in full.”

While it’s obvious not every artist has the kind of money or notoriety needed to host a multi-day gathering in Malibu, there are some ideas at work in 30STM’s plan for ‘Camp Mars’ that others can make their own. The key to this entire event is creating a unique environment for fans to gather and celebrate the music they love. It’s not about selling a new record as much as it is giving back to the people who have made it possible for the band to continue doing exactly what they want. This goes beyond a website or community page on Facebook dedicated to supporting those who engage with your band (though those should absolutely exist if they don’t already) and brings the online connections every artist has made into the real world.

No matter what level you are at, use the announcement of ‘Camp Mars’ as a sign it’s time to find a new way to better engage with your core audience. Maybe this means a regularly scheduled gathering on Periscope (at the least), or maybe you announce a pizza place or coffee shop in each city on tour where fans can join you for a snack/meal before or after a show. Maybe you just tweet where you’re killing time before the show each night and invite fans to join you as you explore an unfamiliar city. Your event doesn’t have to be anything big or costly. It doesn’t even have to really be an event. Fans aren’t looking to have you shower them in free stuff or activities. Fans are looking to connect with you, the person whose music gets them in a way no one and no thing can. Make it possible for them to do that and you will find your core audience growing in leaps and bounds before you know it.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.