CAMPAIGNS: Event PR - Cake stokes the enthusiasm for V

Client: Maztec

Client: Maztec

PR Team: Cake

Campaign: V99 music festival

Timescale: March to mid-September 1999

Budget: Undisclosed

The V99 festival was spread across two sites - in Chelmsford and in

Weston, near Stafford - over one weekend. A conglomerate of four

promoters, named Maztec, runs the event, pooling its resources to secure

one of the strongest line-ups in the festival calendar. Acts this year

included James Brown, Supergrass, Suede and Spice Girl Mel C. Following

two wet Glastonburys in a row and the demise of the Phoenix Festival,

Maztec employed Cake to counteract a general lack of enthusiasm in

festivals from public and press alike.


To secure pre-event coverage, look after all media on site, handle

crisis PR situations and ensure post-event coverage to maintain the

brand profile.

The brief also included countering accusations that V99 was too

commercial and allowed sponsors’ brands too much freedom.

Strategy and Plan

Cake initially exploited V99’s line-up, steering stories to various

genres of titles, including women’s and teen press, glossy style mags

and the travel and broadsheet press in addition to obvious music media


The support of local media was imperative to communicate the move of the

northern leg of the festival from Yorkshire in 1998 to


A site visit and question and answer session for local TV, radio and

press was arranged early on in the campaign.

Cake also promoted sponsors’ more low-key and constructive presence at

the event, such as Wella’s hair Rescue tent and Nintendo’s chill-out


The agency also arranged individual artist interviews on TV, radio and

in print and secured stories in the form of ’fascinating festival facts’

on numbers of burgers consumed, pints of beer drunk, number of toilet

rolls used and miles of fencing on site at V98.

Cake employed 32 staff over the weekend for the two sites, running the

guest and press check-in procedure as well as the press office and the

photography pits. The agency’s strengths were put to the test when the

group Placebo pulled out at the last minute. A replacement was found in

Kula Shaker. Unfortunately, their keyboard player went missing, but Cake

turned this to its advantage by arranging for an appeal to go out on

Radio One concerning the artist’s whereabouts.

With a similar announcement to PA News, Cake produced a last-minute

flurry of publicity on radio bulletins and in the weekend papers.

Measurement and Evaluation

Both V99 sites were sold out, with 120,000 festival-goers turning up.

The festival was also attended by 900 media representatives, 46 film

crews, 47 radio stations, 125 photographers and 400 journalists.

Cake secured three front covers for the event in the music press - two

on NME and one on Melody Maker. Coverage was also gained in nationals

including the Sun and the Daily Telegraph. Further reviews are also

expected to appear in the music press, with added exposure in the diary

pages of style titles including FHM, Harpers and Queen and OK!

Television coverage included spots on The Big Breakfast and Channel 5

News, among others.


Cake managed to counter claims of commercialism by promoting the fact

that although brand presence enabled strong line-ups, firms had to

contribute in a more tangible way, by providing support for better

facilities. The V99 festival sold out and Cake is confident that even

though ’V’ is only in its fourth year, the strength of media coverage

secured both before and after the event will ensure the brand’s

continued status as one of the UK’s leading music festivals, with an

attendance higher than Glastonbury.

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