Bustle Becomes the Latest Publisher to Create an Experiential Event

Janelle Monáe will headline the September event in NY

Janelle Monae will headline Bustle's first large-scale event. Bustle

Bustle Digital Group is joining a number of other publications getting into the experiential events business. The digital publication will host an event, called Rule Breakers, scheduled to take place Sept. 22 in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

The day-long event, produced by Flavorpill, will feature group meditation, roller skating and food vendors at the Lefrak Center at Lakeside in the park, along with performances by Janelle Monáe, the duo Sofi Tukker, DJ Samantha Ronson and Va$htie.

“It’s both inspiring and fun at the same time, which is what we try to accomplish at Bustle,” said Bustle Digital Group editor in chief Kate Ward.

Bustle has recently revamped its digital presence, including pulling coverage together and packaging it in digital issues to mirror what readers might see in print. The event will coincide with a digital issue featuring Monáe on the cover.

Sponsors of the event will include HP Inc., 1850 by Folgers, Fossil, Visa and Sony Pictures’ film The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Additional details about the particular exhibits and what they would sponsor was not immediately available.

Other digital publishers, such as Teen Vogue and PopSugar, have also recently held large-scale events to connect with their audiences offline and diversify their revenue streams. Those other publishers used the opportunities to host sponsored activations to enhance their events with activities their fans might enjoy and share on social media.

Those activations have previously ranged from a mock editor’s lounge at the PopSugar Play/Ground to look like the office of a fictional magazine from Freeform’s show, The Bold Type, to a meditation seminar sponsored by Philosophy at the Teen Vogue summit.

Bustle has been holding smaller-scale events for about four years, but this would be the first one of its scale in an attempt to bring in additional revenue and connect with its audience in person.

“We’re five years old and we have this massive scale,” said Jason Wagenheim, CRO at Bustle Digital Group. “We have a great revenue story and it’s absolutely time for us to do it at this kind of level.”

Bustle said its audience is now about 50 million unique visitors per month.

“Experiential moments like this create a real opportunity for us to win new business,” Wagenheim said.

Bustle Digital Media Group includes Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper and The Zoe Report. The group, and more specifically its founder, Bryan Goldberg, made headlines recently when he won the bid for Gawker.com and its remaining assets.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.