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Everything a festival organiser needs to run the perfect festival this summer

July 14, 2023

written by Charlie Hinnells

As the hot weather arrives, with it comes festival season. This is many music fans’ favorite time of the year as it gives them a chance to see their favorite artists in person in a great environment. It’s also a great time for festival organisers, offering opportunity to grow their brand and improve profits.

Below, we highlight key steps festival organisers must take to run the perfect event, and also go over how to run it in a sustainable way, as well as some of the ways technology has adapted the way festivals run.

8 steps to have in place when organising the perfect festival:

  • Set concrete goals for your festival
  • Determine your festival’s budget
  • Secure a festival venue
  • Book your festivals market plan
  • Coordinate staff
  • Build your festival marketing plan
  • Plan your last schedule
  • Prepare for last-minute issues

What goals should you set for a summer festival?

There are many aims a festival organiser would have going into the process of starting a festival. For example, becoming the premier summer event in your town or area could be a great objective for a smaller festival organizer. Larger festivals like Glastonbury could potentially aim to be the biggest in the world alongside festivals like Coachella.

All festival organisers will be aiming to provide the best experience for their attendees along with providing a very high level of health and safety. Every organiser begins planning a festival hoping for a good ROI and following these next steps can help you to do so.

How to determine a festival’s budget

This is a simple but crucial step as this can define the quality and success of your festival. You will need to know how much money you have to work with and start to allocate the following:

  • The venue’s rental cost
  • Talent or entertainment costs
  • Catering and associated logical costs
  • Sanitary facility costs
  • Staffing and volunteer management
  • Health and safety measures
  • Equipment rentals
  • Insurance costs
  • Security and local authority permits

It is crucial that your budget does not exceed your expected revenue otherwise you will be running your festival at a loss. Once you have allocated the budget within these groups you can look towards the next step.

Book your festivals line up and vendors

Although every step is incredibly important, this step will be the one that draws in attendees as this is the step where you will be determining your audience. You will want to book performers that appeal to your target audience along with a variety of food and beverage vendors to fulfill all attendee needs. It’s also a good idea to fill in times when there are no performances with some kind of attraction or entertainment, such as fair rides or comedy performers.

Ensure your performers and musicians have their performers’ insurance in place.

How to build a summer festival market plan

Marketing can have a huge impact on the numbers your festival brings in and can be the difference between your festival succeeding and failing. There are plenty of marketing strategies that a festival organiser can use. One of which is pay-per-click. This allows you to target your advertisements to reach the desired audience and hopefully encourage people to act right away and purchase a ticket there and then.

Another great way of marketing is through influencer sponsorships and giveaways, especially if you are aiming your festival at a younger audience. This is because social media is so huge in this day and age that the majority of teens are using it and what better way to advertise your festival than through the people, they see on their phone screens every day through apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat. This can be really effective because a lot of kids look up to these big influencers on these apps and may see them promoting something and buy it just because of who’s promoting it. As of right now, social media is the best way to market a festival and most likely will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

How to coordinate staff and volunteers for a summer festival

A festival will not work without coordinated staff and volunteers and that’s why it is so important that your staff know what they are doing and that they are fit for the job. This will ensure that your festival will run smoothly. First of all, you need to identify your staffing needs and create a detailed role description.

Pick the candidates you think are best suited for the job. A staff schedule will then need to be created in order for them to know what to do and when to do it. You can also take on volunteers who do not take a wage; copying initiatives such as free tickets for volunteers.

Employers’ liability insurance will be needed to protect against possible claims made by volunteers and employees.

How to plan the perfect summer festival schedule

Your event schedule will contain a lot of things but a core component is safety. Health and safety risk management is necessary to prove event planners have done their due diligence and tried to protect against an incident occurring.

Focusing on safety involves investigating how people will move from one place to another, such as how they go from the food vendor to the mainstage. A map is a great way of implementing a safe way of navigating the venue and can be dotted around the venue on boards or even on the website of the festival. This can then come in handy for other things as it can have clear markings of points of interest like evacuation routes, toilets, vendors and stages along with safety instructions.

How to be ready for last minute tasks on event day

There is always potential for something to go wrong, but the odds of a festival going perfectly are very low. Event runners have to be ready to deal with the issues when they come up.

Some of these issues can come from attendees and so it is important to brief your security on how to deal with certain situations along with staff having issues getting places or ‘no shows’. It would be beneficial to have some staff or volunteers on back up as in this case, it’s better to have too many than not enough.

How to thank participants and keep in contact

It is very beneficial to send out monthly emails promoting the festival and building up some anticipation for when the next one comes around. Festival series, such as Primavera, use one festival to advertise another taking place later in the year. This can give you a head start on things like promotion because you will have already done a good amount for the buildup. You can also do things like giveaways in an attempt to keep previous attendees engaged.

Why should I insure my festival event?

Festivals are amazing experiences and will stick in the mind of most people forever. However there is always a risk of something going wrong. This can result in an organiser having to pay a heavy price for claims procedures, lawyer fees and injury costs. Insurance is mandatory.

Festivals are always at risk of cancellation – cancellation insurance will cover you against any unrecoverable costs as a result of bad weather or unforeseen cancellation.

Injuries and accidents are always at risk of happening – Public liability insurance is necessary for a council permit to run the event but also to protect against liability claims and third party damages.

Volunteers and employees could get hurt and find it’s the employer’s fault – Employer’s liability insurance will cover festival organisers against claims made by staff.

Ensure you are not at risk of losing out, contact Insure Our Event and read more about Festival Insurance.

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