12 Things Not to Miss When Organising A Music Festival

By Rebecca Gardner

Every summer, music fans around the country flock to see the bands and musicians they love at music festivals. Nothing beats chilling on the grass to watch your favourite acts, surrounded by friends and family on a warm summer’s day or evening.

If you are organising and hosting your own music festival this summer, you’ll need a lot of determination, a sprig of confidence and a whole load of organisation.

For those first timers, just remember Glastonbury and Leeds and all the other big names, have to consider the same things as you. So whether you are organising a Jazz festival for 1000 people, or a Surf event for 100,000, to help your event run as smoothly as possible this summer here are 12 simple things to consider.

And if you think it couldnt happen to you. Remember The Fyre Festival? And how about the BoomTown Fair, in Winchester in 2017?

1. Have a communication plan in place if your top act cancels.

You’ve been planning for months. Think of the early mornings; the late nights; having worked every weekend for months...

..And then you get the call - telling you that one of your headline acts has pulled out and won’t be appearing at your festival.

What to do now?

When this happens it’s likely to be a pretty stressful situation for you, after all you had paid the artist deposits and patrons have paid good money to see your headline act and it’s to be expected that they will be disappointed.

Take action:

Although it may seem like yet another item to add to your ‘to-do’ list today, spend time putting together an emergency communication plan that details how you communicate any changes to your event program as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Consider how you would get in touch with existing ticket holders. One of the many benefits of pre-selling your tickets through an online ticketing provider is that you can access your ticket holders contact details.

2. Have an aggressive promotion plan through social media

Social media is a game changer for event managers. If you think social media promotion is just sending out a couple of tweets or creating an event page on Facebook then think again. Over half of all tickets now sold on Ticketebo originate from social media posts.

Take action:

Approach your social media activity strategically and focus your efforts on channels that resonate with your target audience, and tap into your artists and suppliers channels for greater reach.

3. Have a festival website

However small your festival may be, not having a festival website equals event suicide.  People spend significantly more time online today than they do any other media.  Creating a place online that hosts all of your essential, up to date news and information, as well as a direct link to where they can buy tickets is a sure fire way to leave the right impression for customers & deliver the 1st stage of  a great festival experience.

Make sure you have all the essential logistics information on there, such as site map, T&C’s and Frequently Asked Questions.

Take action:

Go and get busy building your festival website.  With so many 'build your own' website products now available - you could be off and running with a great website in just a day or 2.  Consider buying a pre-made (mobile) responsive website theme and adapting this to your content, as much of the design/techie web work will be already be done to ensure your website looks great when viewed on a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

4. Have an Online Ticketing plan

If your event isn’t selling tickets online then you are missing a big trick. With the rapid rise of smartphones and tablets the relationship between events and the Internet is becoming closer than ever. For more on the benefits of selling tickets online, this article may be of benefit.

Take action:

Choose your online ticketing partner and get going!  Online ticketing delivers a quick and convenient method for patrons to purchase tickets 24 hours/7 days a week, while enabling fast & efficient entry management on the day (via barcoded tickets which your gate staff can scan at the door).

5. Have different ticket pricing tiers

Selling tickets using various priced ticket releases can really help create a genuine sense of urgency in patrons. Not only does this reward early buyers with a discount (and they in turn will be out their pushing your festival to their friends), but displaying the magic words "SOLD OUT" beside various ticket types is one of the best ways to motivate patrons to get on and buy their tickets now!

Take action:

Make sure you have a series of different ticket releases (some can be quite small in volume if need be). Once these tickets are sold out be sure to promote the fact that these tickets have now ‘Sold Out’.  For more on this topic and more - please see this article.

6. Have excellent security and entry management staff

When you are organising a music festival that will be attended by hundreds or thousands of people, one of the most important things to consider is security.

A mixture of too much British sun, and too much beer is a well-known recipe for potential friction. It is imperative that you book enough security and never skimp on numbers to save a few extra hundred pounds.

No one likes to queue for something they’ve paid for, so make sure you avoid hassle at the entry gates and have enough entry management staff ready and waiting. Ticketebo's barcoded ticketing and free entry scanning technology helps to ensure rapid entry into your event.

Take action:

Always make sure you have enough security booked in for your event and ensure you have the right amount of staff to manage the rapid entry of patrons into your festival using our free entry scanning technology.

7. The Big One! Have enough toilets

Whether you are running a small local blues festival or a larger rock festival that needs to accommodate hundreds or thousands of people, there is one thing you can never have too many of: toilets.

Make people queue for half an hour for the toilet and you can rest assured that will be on the top of their list of things they remember about the event and tell their friends.

Take action:

If you need to tighten your event budget belt – then make sure this isn’t one of the items you cut corners on.

8. Have a unique date. Don't hold your event the same weekend as a similar competitor. 

While all festival event managers would love to think their event will be a definite sell out, going up against another big event is sure to impact on your ticket sales.

Take action:

Before you secure the date make sure you do some research into what else is going on in the local area around the same time as your festival.

9. Have enough food and drink options

If there is one thing us Brits love (before or after a good drink) it’s a good feed. Gone are the days when a festival crowd can be satisfied with a couple of greasy burger and chip stands. People are now used to – and demand – choice, so give it to them.

Take action:

Make sure you have a wide variety of food and drink options available on site.

10. Ensure you have all neccesary licenses

The talk of food and drink leaves us onto our next point nicely – licenses.

Take action:

Always make sure you contact your local council to get all the info you need on current licenses, and don’t forget to leave yourself plenty of time to get the license applications submitted and approved, as well as any alcohol/food licenses, first aid and safety plans.

11. Have a bad weather plan.

When you’ve slaved away for months on planning your music festival, the last thing you want to think about is rain, mud and mayhem.  While the UK is renowned for it’s amazing summers (only joking!) we all know that we do also get torrential downpours.

Take action:

Get savvy and make sure you have options in place – are there any covered areas you can direct people to or could you have additional tents on stand-by as a back up.

Keep an eye on the weather reports and remind people to wear appropriate clothing over your social media if a storm or rain is predicted.

12. Have ample appropriate insurance. 

The fact is that unforeseen occurrences like extreme weather, accidents and acts not showing up, do happen. If any of these things did happen at one of your festivals then they could leave you in a very uncomfortable position as the Festival Organiser.

Event Insurance can cover you for lots of things, from cancellation fees to injury or liability at your event.

Patrons can also be offered their own refund protection policy, which will cover them for illness, public transport failures and more. This can make your life easier, and stop many awkward conversations with punters when things go wrong for them.(This can be added at checkout with Ticketebo)

Take action:

Act early and make sure you take out a comprehensive event insurance policy that covers your event. Make sure it covers you for all the essentials such as act cancellation, extreme weather, postponement and public liability.

If you want to ensure your next music festival runs smoothly, then get in touch with Ticketebo to discuss your online event ticketing.

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