Exclusive: Details behind The North Face's Nightray festival revealed

The North Face will host an all-night festival at The Gorges du Verdon in September
The North Face will host an all-night festival at The Gorges du Verdon in September

Outdoor adventure company The North Face is set to host its first-ever Nightray Outdoor Festival on 12-13 September.

Josh Green, creative director at global agency Octagon told Event the festival is designed to celebrate the notion of exploration, and those who enjoy exploring. The one-night event will see participants take part in a series of outdoor activities throughout one night at The Gorges du Verdon in France.

Green said: "The aim of the festival is to take the ‘Progressive Explorers’ on a journey of discovery.

"From dusk until dawn, attendees will get to hear tales from world-famous explorers around an interactive campfire. They’ll go on night hikes, run trails, climb, and listen to live music. They’ll even get watch adventure movies in the shadows of mountains."

He explained the festival is Octagon's interpretation of The North Face’s brief, which asked that they bring the brand’s ‘Never Stop Exploring’ mantra to life.

"The evolution of the concept has been a true collaboration between Octagon, The North Face, and their team of athletes," said Green.

"We wanted to ensure that the execution was as authentic as possible, so we’ve made a concerted effort to bring actual explorers into the creative process."

The setting

Green noted the interactive campfire is set to add a particularly interesting element to the event. "It will be a focal point of the experience and provide a truly innovative canvas for athlete storytelling. 

"The installation will bring in a real-time social and multimedia dimension to the storytelling experience, helping our great explorers establish a closer connection with attendees."

The festival will take place against a unique backdrop, so design-wise, the plan is to keep things simple. "We want to make sure that we don’t take away from the natural beauty of the Gorges," Green explained.

"That said we’re going for an organic vibe that infuses some really innovative technology into the natural landscape. But we’ve been extraordinarily conscious to do it in ways that are not at all disruptive. We’ve paid very close attention to designing a seamless interaction between the festival, audience, and environment."

Communications strategy 

Green added that Octagon has used a series of strategies to fuel excitement around the festival. "We’ve really tried to build interest via intrigue in the way that we’ve developed our communications plan," he said.

"We originally teased the event at retail and on social media with advertising that featured just the coordinates of the location and the call to action: "curiosity is the only reason you need."

"Over time we’ve revealed more details, from the location to the actual festival activities. The communications plan was really meant to be an experience of discovery and act as metaphor for exploration itself."

Octagon, which is part of the Interpublic Group (IPG), is delivering all aspects of the event. Other brands the agency works with include Mastercard, AIG, Stella Artois, and Uefa.

More: Blog: Making the most of festival experiences

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