Are you not sure where to begin when it comes to planning your festival? Start with the following ten things.
Time. It can take several months to get the venue, vendors, and bands booked. It could take a year or longer for a big music festival. Selling tickets and marketing can take time as well. Make sure you have enough lead time set aside in order to do things right.
Space. You are not only going to need enough open space at your festival for the stage(s). You are also going to need portable bathroom facilities, catering vans, trailer parking, backstage areas, and campgrounds for multiple-day festivals. If you plan to use multiple stages at the same time, there also needs to be enough space left between them. Otherwise, the acts will end up drowning one another out.
Budget. Keep track of your overall artist budget. Booking one really popular act could end up using up your whole budget, and that could make it hard for you to keep your festival attendees entertained for your entire festival. Consider having a combination of up-and-coming bands and local talent, along with a headliner that is as big and popular as your budget can afford.
Operations. Festival attendees need drinks, food, bathrooms, merchandise to buy like premierglow glow sticks, garbage bins for recyclables and litter, and first aid kits. You will need staff and space to run all of them, volunteers to help, and a cleaning crew after the festival is over.
Equipment. If live music is going to be the focus of your festival, then you will need to have the right sound equipment, lighting equipment, and a suitable stage. You should hire an expert music production company along with experienced audio-visual technicians who can run your event’s technical side.
Permits. You need to have the right paperwork to prevent your festival from being shut down. You will probably need to obtain a permit from the local city if your festival is taking place on public land. If you are planning to sell alcohol, you will need to have licenses.
Organization. Consider how festival attendees will enter your event. Are you going to use hand-stamps, wristbands, or tickets? The best choice for an outdoor music festival is wristbands, especially for one lasting for more than a single day. Make sure that your entrance is staffed with enough people so that the crowds continue to move smoothly, instead of making people stand in long lines.
Security. Having the proper security is not just to prevent people from getting in free. Your security team is also responsible for your festival-goers safety and health. You will need to have a first aid staff and professional security team that coordinates with one another and monitors your festival for bee stings, unruly crowds, slippery surfaces, wandering children, and more. Dedicate space for a security booth so people can report everything from assault to losing personal items.
Entertainment. In the event of technical difficulties or downtime in between sets, make sure there are other forms of entertainment for your festival-goers to enjoy. Depending on your festival’s audience and theme, you can consider adding comedy acts, activities for kids, wandering actors, magicians, dance shows, or art installations.
Marketing. A different marketing mix is needed to market an outdoor music festival compared to other types of events. Along with digital advertising, local press, and social media, you also need to coordinate your efforts with the marketing teams of the acts and bands that will be performing at your festival. Their fans will make up a high percentage of your audience, so make sure their fan sites are targeted along with your normal outlets.