January 20, 2019

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Wristbands and Room Service: Music Festivals Check In to Hotels

Wristbands and Room Service: Music Festivals Check In to Hotels
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One advantage a hotel-planned festival offers over a traditional one: attendees and artists can more easily interact, they’re staying at the same place, after all. On Friday night, two dozen festival goers ate ham croquettes and paella with Thomas Jack, one of the many EDM D.J.s on the lineup.

“The thing that I hate, I even hate the term, is the ‘meet and greet,’” said Mr. Solveig, a French D.J. who hosted a cocktail party in the hotel’s “Extreme Wow” suite, which was used as a gathering place during the festival. “You have, like, two minutes, so it’s reduced to taking a picture with a fan and that’s it. What’s special about this is that it’s hanging out for an hour with people who have knowledge of my work.”

Wake Up Call attendees redeemed points from Starwood or Marriott’s loyalty programs (the hotel groups recently merged) to gain access to these more intimate “moments;” some used points to fund their entire trip.

“It’s the perfect excuse to do things that otherwise you don’t have the inspiration to do.” said Alan Conde, 46, a management consultant based in Madrid who spent 50,000 points on a festival package. “What I don’t like about festivals so much is the crowds. It’s very difficult to move, you have to make lines for everything. Suddenly, you have this concept, which I think is very creative.”

Being an elevator ride away from your suitcase is also a plus. (As Mr. Ingham put it, “you can have four outfit changes!”) I discovered this on Friday night, when, inspired by a group of jumpsuit and fanny-pack clad attendees grooving in a darkened conference room to the house D.J., Mr. Schulz, I ditched my cumbersome purse for the fanny pack the W had placed in every room (and stuffed, in true music festival fashion, with mints and condoms). By 3 p.m. the next afternoon, more than two dozen people snaked out the doors, waiting to buy day passes, and a security checkpoint had been set up in the lobby.

Up in the Extreme Wow suite, Stacey Arkules, 57, from Arizona, was kicked back on the balcony with a cocktail and sunglasses, taking in a view of the coastline before things kicked up a notch. What brought her here? She smiled and shrugged as if it were obvious: “the music.”


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