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Milwaukee Irish Fest

Digital Advertising | UX Design | UX Strategy | Website Development

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Milwaukee Irish Fest is the signature event of CelticMKE, whose mission is to promote and celebrate all aspects of Irish, Irish American, and Celtic cultures. Since 2010, Northwoods has been a trusted digital partner of this internationally recognized organization, offering digital strategy, user experience, information architecture, digital marketing, and website design services across a range of digital properties.

Northwoods Digital Experts Help Uncover New Audiences and Increase Ticket Sales for Annual Festival

As the world's largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, Milwaukee Irish Fest comes with amazing brand awareness. But even such widespread recognition doesn't stop event managers from looking for ways to increase attendance. So, the Irish Fest marketing team turned to their digital BFFs at Northwoods to help them reach new audiences, while continuing to provide key information to attendees of this beloved four-day festival. 

The Situation

Irish Fest organizers wanted to increase online advanced ticket sales and begin planning for their 40th anniversary celebration. 

The previous Irish Fest website—also built by Northwoods—had been in use for many years and needed a design refresh, as well as updates to meet current technology and usability standards.

With music serving as a main attraction of the festival, the website had to offer users the ability to easily access, filter, and search an expansive lineup of artists.

Homepage Design

Festivals are exciting, energetic events with lots of visual stimulation – not to mention great music and food! To capture that energy and spirit, Milwaukee Irish Fest’s redesigned website uses features bright colors, bold fonts, subtle movement, and fun imagery. 

The Solution

Northwoods digital experts developed user personas and a comprehensive strategy to uncover and reach new audiences through a variety of channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Search, Google Display, YouTube, and Spotify.

Our digital advertising team leveraged geofencing to target both previous and potential new festival-goers at the right place, at the right time, and with relevant, engaging messaging. 

Northwoods’ seamless third-party integration allows organizers to present a database of more than 100 artists across 16 stages, so visitors can quickly access artist information and filter by country, performance date, and genre.

hand-drawn bird, chirping

The Northwoods team is above par. They’re kind, they’re transparent, they’re accommodating. And by accommodating, I mean they’re willing to work with you as the client on what your needs are, but then they’re transparent in the sense that they’ll tell you, ‘You may want this and we can accommodate that, but here’s what we recommend, as well.’ They’re great at being cognizant of your needs while also providing recommendations that get results.

- Marketing Director, CelticMKE/Milwaukee Irish Fest

Festival Lineup

One of the main attractions of Milwaukee Irish Fest (besides the dancing) is the music. Users can filter through the expansive lineup by country or genre as shown in the filter below. A search bar is also included in case the user wants to look for a specific artist.

Once a particular event is selected, site visitors are taken to a detail page that provides additional information on each band or performer, as well as the date and time of the performance. 

The Design

The website color palette purposefully shies away from the typical bright green color associated with Irish culture to avoid having the site feel too monochromatic, yet still captures the essence of the brand.

The handwritten font style adds personality and is commonly used in music posters, which is perfect for a website centered around music. Using a more playful font helps contribute to the site’s fun, energetic tone. 

Color blocking helps to clearly divide content blocks to make it easier for users to scan. Many of the bright colors overlay imagery to prevent the website from feeling too flat. Content stripes also stray away from perfectly straight edges too add a slight texture similar to the strokes of a paint brush. This works well with the font style’s imperfect strokes.  

The Outcome

Irish Fest’s online advanced ticket sales increased 19 percent from the previous year, outperforming their goal of a 10 percent increase.

The number of website visitors jumped 66 percent year-over-year, with significant increases in traffic coming from ad-targeted geographies.

For an event that’s been around for decades, the Irish Fest marketing team was thrilled with the results and Northwoods’ ability to uncover and engage new audiences. 

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