(from Billboard.biz, March 24, 2013) Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Ultra Music Festival is expanding to two weekends. This year, Liquor sponsor Heineken is presenting for the first time the Heineken House, a first-of-its-kind activation that extends Ultra’s audiovisual experience to the drink line. Leanne Maciel, Heineken USA’s Manager of Sponsorship’s and Activation, has a new idea in mind this year. She knows the disconnection fans feel when they are being pulled away from the festival to get in line for beer. This year, she is making sure to keep fans connected while in line.
An indoor space will be designed with the sensory experience of Ultra, one that not only features elaborate lighting and fog, but also live audio from the nearby Ultra Music Festival (UMF) Worldwide stage as well. The space will feature a slate of iPads at the entryway, on which customers can order their drinks while watching live visual feeds from each stage.
After customers pay, they will then be escorted by hosts into a cavernous, club-like space where they will pick up their drinks and take in that moment’s DJ set. Maciel says, “It feels like a nightclub, but you can see what’s going on.”
For the main area of the Heineken House, guest will either be able to return to the festival grounds or step onto a porch that overlooks the UMF stage. This year, the VIP spaces at Ultra Music Festival will only be for guest over the age of 21.
Maciel came up with these new ideas for the UMF by simply talking to consumers about their festival experiences. “It’s always the guy in the group who draws the short straw, goes to get everyone beer and misses everything. With this activation, we’ve transformed the beer line into the festival destination,” says Leanne Maciel.