Passion Pit, The Roots, Walk The Moon to Headline Lipton's Inaugural Be More Tea Festival (Exclusive)

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Passion Pit performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival Day Two at Zilker Park on October 5, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

Lipton Tea, a joint venture between Pepsi and Unilever, is entering the festival business: on October 24, the beverage brand will host its first Be More Tea Festival in North Charleston, South Carolina’s Riverfront Park. Passion Pit, The RootsWalk The Moon and St. Lucia are the first confirmed artists, with more bookings to be announced in the coming weeks. The festival will be produced by Track Marketing Group and booked by music agency RPM.

Melanie Watts, Lipton’s director of marketing, says the Be More Tea concept was inspired by the brand’s 125th anniversary celebration, which will include a 125-day giveaway for free trips to the festival from May 18 to Sept. 19 at www.BeMoreTeaFestival.com.

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Though Lipton could have easily sponsored other promoters' festivals, particularly through co-parent Pepsi’s newly inked deal with Live Nation, Watts says, "after a lot of consideration, we said, 'you know what, this is really special for us.' We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind Lipton experience."

That experience will include one main, continuous festival stage and a neighborhood block party-meets-carnival vibe, with "food, attractions, games and rides," Watts says, as well as different tea-based tasting booths that will highlight everything from hot tea to the recently launched Sparkling Iced Tea (and yes, because it’s an outdoor festival, "we’ll have fun tea-based cocktails as well," Watts says.)

The bottled beverage category is stepping up its music marketing plans in 2015 – in addition to Pepsi's Live Nation deal and Out Of The Blue initiative, Lipton’s direct global competitor, Coca Cola’s Nestea, recently teamed with Nico & Vinz on an original song and international campaign, while 7Up has doubled down on an EDM strategy introduced in 2014, teaming with Tiesto and Martin Garrix as well as several of the year’s biggest dance festivals. Across all brands, music sponsorships in 2015 are expected to exceed the $1.34 billion spent on live music and events last year, according to analytics firm IEG.

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Lipton’s last major music activation was a 2012 TV campaign and retail promotion with Lady Antebellum, and Watts says going forward “It makes a lot of sense to work with the right acts that really embody the spirit of the brand, so it doesn’t feel like a forced connection.” Be More Tea will target older 24-to-34-year-old millennials that the brand dubs “possibility embracers – people who have a very optimistic outlook on the world,” Watts adds. A robust digital-media campaign will roll out in the months leading up to the festival, “as well as radio and possibly some TV,” Watts adds.