Milwaukee Irish Fest

Digital Marketing | Digital Strategy | Website Design & Development

Irish Fest is the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, held annually at the Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, drawing thousands of visitors from throughout the United States and abroad.

Northwoods Experts Reach New Audience, Drive Ticket Sales For Annual Celtic Festival

Being the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, Irish Fest already has amazing name awareness, drawing thousands of visitors from throughout the United States and abroad every year. But even such widespread recognition doesn’t stop event managers from looking for new ways to increase attendance. Heading into their 39th year in 2019, Irish Fest’s marketing team needed a digital advertising partner to help them reach new audiences. The choice was an easy one: Northwoods.

The Situation

  • Irish Fest was looking for a new digital advertising partner to support efforts to increase online, advanced ticket sales by 10 percent for its 2019 event, while also looking for successful strategies to support its 40th year celebration in 2020.
  • Having worked with our digital strategy experts for nearly a decade, the Irish Fest team immediately turned to Northwoods for help in crafting a comprehensive digital advertising strategy.

The Solution

  • Northwoods digital strategists and digital advertising experts developed and executed a comprehensive digital ad strategy to help Irish Fest uncover and reach new audiences and geographies through a variety of channels, including: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Search, Google Display, YouTube, Spotify.
  • The Northwoods team also leveraged geofencing to target both previous and potential new festival-goers at the right place, at the right time, and with the right messages.


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. 

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.

- Melissa Ward, Marketing Director, Celtic MKE/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 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 39 years, the Irish Fest marketing team was thrilled with the results and Northwoods’ ability to uncover new audiences to tap into and engage with as they head into their 40th year celebration.

Northwoods also provides digital strategy and website design and development services to Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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