I know we’re always banging on about tribute artists and tribute bands, but as anyone in the live entertainment industry will tell you – they are BIG business. MBM has already organised 4 huge outdoor festivals for 2019 and we are already in discussions with two major festival organisers for 2020. All these are tribute festivals and attract thousands of people during the day and evening. If you have a venue big enough for at least a hundred people or a piece of land that can cater for 1000 to 10,000 people then it’s seriously worth considering putting on a ‘tribute-fest’.
As with any big event the secret is to organise it well in advance – at least 12 to 18 months in advance. There’s a lot to consider and organise so the more time you give yourself the less stressful it will be.
Here is our list of 12 steps to organising your very own music festival.
Why hold a festival? Determine the reasons why you want to organise a festival. Planning an outdoor music festival is such an exciting process: the music, the atmosphere, the weather, the people. To make sure that your music festival is a complete success, follow these tips for a festival that rocks.
- List of artists. Make a list of which artists you would like to appear. Don’t skimp on budget when thinking who the headline act will be. The best won’t be cheap but remember that a great headliner will pull in the big crowds. Think about having an eclectic mix of unsigned, local talent, up-and-coming bands, with a big name or two thrown in if budget allows. There may be downtime between sets, or possibly technical difficulties arise so make sure that you’ve got other non-musical entertainment happening, maybe dance shows, magicians, wandering theatre players, circus performers, kids’ activities or comedy acts.
- Volunteers. Gather together a list of volunteers who want to be involved in creating the festival with you and delegate the responsibilities. A music festival is a team effort and everyone needs to be involved at every stage of the process before the big day.
- Decide on location. If you are a pub with a huge car park that can cater for a few hundred or more – perfect. If you want to go bigger then start looking around at recreational parks, stately homes, farm land and the like.
- Hire the right suppliers. The whole focus of your event is going to be the live music, which means a suitable stage, lighting equipment, and sound equipment. We wouldn’t recommend you try to plan this all on your own, instead use the services of a specialized music production company who’ll know exactly what you’ll need, when you need it, where you’ll need it, and pretty much run the technical side of the event. MBM has an extensive list of tried and tested companies who we could recommend.
- Plan your space. The festival will need enough open space for the stages you need, plus backstage areas, catering vans, portable bathroom facilities, and of course camping if it’s a weekend festival. Don’t forget that you’ll need a fair amount of space between stages if there’s going to be more than one.
- Find Sponsors. Local businesses love to get involved in local festivals. Getting their sponsorship will help offset costs and at the same time be great publicity for everyone involved.
- Get the right permits: You may not realise this, but if your festival is
being held on public land, you’re likely to need a permit. Speak to your local council about what you will need. The last thing you want is to have problems on the day because you don’t have your paperwork in order. Health and safety paperwork, first aid paperwork must be in order. Again the local council will advise you on what you will need.
- Organize entrance: How will entrance to the festival work? What about wristbands, tickets, or hand-stamps and of course security? If your music festival runs for more than one day, people might want to leave and come back in, which is why wristbands are a popular choice when planning an outdoor music festival. Music festival tickets can be pricey, especially if they’re weekend events, so make sure that it’s impossible (or at least very difficult) for people to ‘hop fences’ and get in for free. Not only will it equate to lost revenue if people manage to sneak in, but it could also take the festival capacity over the maximum allowed for health and safety reasons.
- Create a Marketing Strategy Marketing an outdoor festival is the same as marketing other types of events, but you do have extra avenues to explore. Along with social media, local press and media, think about the bands and acts that are performing at the festival. Their fans are going to make up a large part of your audience, so target their fansites as well as your usual outlets.
- Insurance Get yourself some proper EVENT INSURANCE, especially if it’s an outside event. If the weather turns nasty, you still have to pay
everybody with little or no income! A company like MBM can point you towards the people that we use ourselves to ensure that your event stays in the black – no matter how black the weather!
- Prepare Yourself for the Actual Event. This is where the fun starts! The day comes and everything has been planned to perfection. ENJOY!