Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

5 Promotional Products for Outdoor Festivals, Concerts, and Fairs

Outdoor festivals, concerts, and county fairs draw huge crowds — we’re talking thousands (and sometimes tens of thousands) of people. If you’re not taking advantage of such an ample advertising opportunity, then you should consider it in the future!

Let’s use the music festival Lollapalooza as an example. Since 1991, Lollapalooza has been rocking Chicago and bringing fans from all over to enjoy not only the music, but the whole experience of the festival. It is the people you meet, the food you eat, the overpriced merchandise you buy, and the activities at Lollapalooza that keep Grant Park completely packed for three days straight! You know what that means? That’s three whole days to get your company name out there.

Here are a few items I would have jumped at the chance to take at a festival:

Neon Sunglasses

You’d think that people would bring their own sunglasses to an outdoor festival or event, but that’s not always the case. And what happens if their pair breaks? Or what if they lose them?  What do you know; you’ll have a spare pair to hand out to that poor squinting human being! Not only are sunglasses useful, but they’re stylish as well. My advice would be to hand out brightly-colored sunglasses like the neon variety pictured to the right, so they’ll stand out in the crowd. This sets them apart from being just another boring pair of sunglasses.

Water Bottles

What happens when people stand outside in hot weather for a long period of time? They get thirsty and dehydrated. Sure, there are water fountains around, but people get tired of walking back and forth when they could be enjoying a show in the front row or playing a game with friends. Keep them from missing out on anything important simply by handing out a water bottle with your logo, which is sure to get a lot of use. Saving people from dehydration and promoting your company at the same time is a definite win-win.

Drawstring Backpacks

This is one item that will come in handy without a doubt! You’re bound to get some kind of merchandise at concerts, and you’re bound to win trinkets and prizes at fairs. Whether it’s a t-shirt, a poster, a CD, or an adorable stuffed animal, attendees probably won’t want to carry it around in their arms the entire day. A personalized backpack takes care of that problem so that people have free arms to walk with food and beverages (or dance around in front row), while holding all of their treasures. This promo item is also useful to hold the other giveaways you may have distributed, so they don’t end up on the ground next to half-eaten pizza and empty beer cans!

Sweat Bands

I don’t know why the sweat band has made a comeback at festivals, but it has. You’ll see these on the heads of many, many people if you hand them out in hot temperatures. Sweat bands are kind of like the sunglasses; they’re stylish and actually useful! If you’re going to be standing out in 90-degree weather and moving around, you’re going to be working up a sweat. So hand out a customized sweatband and create a human billboard for your company all over the venue!

Handheld Fans

Out of all of the promo items I mentioned in this post, the handheld fan would be my first choice. When I’m taking a break from the sun and trying to find a nice shaded area, a handheld fan is just what I need to help get me pumped back up. Fanning yourself with flyers only does so much in the heat, and your own hands can actually make you feel hotter when you’ve become too tired to keep moving your arms back and forth. But with a handheld fan, you’ll be able to display your brand to many people who are extremely happy you were thinking logically when deciding which kind of promotional products you were going to hand out! Or, for a less expensive option, try a handheld paper fan instead.

You have to be smart about your giveaways if you’re choosing an outlet like Lollapalooza. For instance, you probably shouldn’t hand out stress balls to a bunch of teenage boys waiting to see Black Sabbath. When it comes to concerts, festivals, and fairs, you have to think about who you’re trying to reach. Do your research! Will the crowd consist of mixed age groups, or one in particular? Check that your findings are consistent with your promotional goals. Think about the weather, too, and find ways to benefit crowds of people while promoting your company.

These are just a few promotional products you could hand out at a festival or major outdoor event, whether it’s as huge as Lollapalooza or not. For more giveaway ideas for fairs and concerts, think of things that would benefit your company and your target audience, and keep rocking!

What’s your favorite festival promotional product? Which giveaway would you be excited to get at an outdoor event like a county fair? Let us know in the comments section below!


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. amy

    Great post, Kelsey! I love your idea of giving out sunglasses. Fun Fact: People with lighter colored eyes (blue, grey, green) are more sensitive to sunlight and florescent lights than people with brown eyes ( Because of this, I always need to have a pair of sunglasses on, even when it’s cloudy out. Any company that prevented me from squinting myself into a migraine would have my business in a flash!

    • Kelsey

      Thanks for reading, Amy! I’ve never heard that before, but it totally makes sense! I have a problem with watery eyes in the sun, which isn’t great when I wear makeup and it runs into my eyes. It’s awful! So, sunglasses are definitely essential for me too! 🙂

      • Eric

        Heck, I’ve got brown eyes and I still wear sunglasses. Even on mornings like this one, where it’s cloudy and rainy. Cuts the glare and makes for a less-squinty ride. Likewise, I don’t ever, ever leave the house without a pair of sunglasses, unless it’s the middle of the night. Whether you run into a sunny day, or run into the papparazzi, you’re prepared, either way. All-purpose-tool, right there.

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’d love receiving one of those cinch up backpacks at a music festival. I usually refrain from buying merchandise just because I don’t want to hold on to it all day. But if a company offered a free backpack with a purchase…well, I’d be buying t-shirts and other merch like crazy.

    • Kelsey

      I too, have refrained from buying any type of merchandise because I didn’t want to carry it all day! I think a backpack is more practical than even a tote bag or something because you have two free arms! If I was handed a cinch up backpack at a festival I feel like it would probably get the most use out of all these items, even after the festival! 🙂 Thanks for reading!!

  3. Rachel

    I love the sweatband idea! It’s practical, but also fun and different enough that it would catch my attention at an outdoor festival. Great post, Kelsey — you’ve compiled a bunch of great suggestions here. 🙂

    • Kelsey

      The sweatband idea is definitely a fun attention getter! I know one year at Lollapalooza, I saw a LOT of people wearing Lollapalooza sweatbands. They were super popular, so you know they are a hot item for events like this! 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Rachel!

  4. Jenna Markowski

    Nice work, Kelsey! 🙂

    I think at an outdoor music festival like Lollapalooza or Warped Tour the sunglasses and handheld fans would be must-haves for me. Those events get so hot, so anything to help me keep cool would be much appreciated! I don’t know about Lolla, but I know a lot of concert venues don’t allow visitors to carry water bottles with lids on them (for fear that they’ll get thrown either at the band performing or into the crowd while full). As much as I would love a free water bottle to keep hydrated throughout the day, I’m wondering if they would even be allowed. Regardless, excellent round-up of products!

    • Kelsey

      That’s a good point, Jenna! I know that you’re allowed to bring empty camelbak water bottles, and I think this is because you can see through them. You aren’t allowed to bring any outside food or drinks into the venue, and I think they worry about people bringing alcohol into the venue that aren’t of age yet. So, if you have an empty (see through) bottle you can fill it up with the water fountains that are provided there! 🙂

      It’s definitely a thing to keep in mind though, usually on the event’s website it lists allowed & prohibited items. So, if anyone IS planning on handing out promotional products at a festival of some sort, it’s best to do their research!

      Thanks for reading, and for your input!!

  5. Jill Tooley

    I went to Lolla back in 2003, and it was a blast! Any of these products would have been welcome additions to my backpack. 🙂

    Jenna brought up an interesting point about the water bottles; I hadn’t thought of that. Isn’t it ridiculous how a handful of morons can ruin things for the rest of us?

    Side note, I’d also add sunscreen packets to your list. I somehow forget sunblock every time I go to an outdoor event, and my skin pays for it later!

    • Kelsey Leitner

      Oh my gosh, how could I forget sunscreen packets. Unfortunately I’m not someone who tans easily, I turn I nice shade of lobster…so it’s important I use it any time I plan on spending the day outside. Good thinking, Jill! 🙂

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