Bonnaroo

Having fun while doing good

User research
Communication design
Service design

Challenge

Every year, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival hosts nearly 100,000 people on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee. The festival’s commitment to sustainability and global consciousness is embodied by the Planet Roo hub, where festival goers can eat a locally sourced dinner or attend a panel discussion with organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and NRDC. The organizers of Bonnaroo wanted to integrate and promote their social and environmental practices further—so they called on Openbox.

Outcome

Based on the principles of fun, action and community Openbox created a brand strategy and experience touchpoints to make Planet Roo distinctive and memorable.

A hub hidden in plain sight

Our early research uncovered the degree of Bonnaroo’s challenge: of all the festival goers and superfans we talked to, no one could be certain they’d stepped into the Planet Roo space—although each of them had. They might have sampled Tennessean cheese at the Bonnaroots dinner or gotten their hands dirty at the Learning Garden, but it was not clear to them that the various activities were, in fact, part of a discernibly Planet Roo experience. Distinct branding and messaging consistency would be critical to the Openbox design strategy.

Crafting a modern sustainability brand

Openbox set out to create a brand for Planet Roo that would help thread its various activities into a compelling experience for the different types of festival attendees. The key was striking a balance between Bonnaroo’s special focus on social impact, and the need for it to feel like a festival—not a conference. To do this, we designed a brand toolkit for Bonnaroo that included assets like voice personas and key messages that kept it both boisterous and impactful, and that ensured a consistency of messaging across all touchpoints.

Image courtesy of some plants.

Instilling the spirit of a place into the people

One of those touchpoints were the outside vendors who sold their wares and shared their social and environmental missions at Planet Roo. Through our onsite research, it was clear to the Openbox team how the passion of these vendors shaped everyone’s experience—and that this was an untapped opportunity for Planet Roo.

Since these vendors travelled from festival to festival, a strong message around Planet Roo’s values and practices would likely travel with them. Openbox designed the Partner Welcome Toolkit to strengthen the connection and pride amongst the vendor community. This sparked more conversation and camaraderie, and created momentum for the message of Planet Roo to travel further faster.

Pins by PS Design Company

Impact

At the festival in 2017, Planet Roo activated our Partner Welcome Toolkit concept to improve the onboarding experience for their nonprofit partners. After this initial success, the story and strategy is set to scale across future Planet Roo experiences.