Top 20 tips for planning a festival styled event

Festivals are a wonderful way to bring people together. However, with so many aspects to consider, planning a festival styled event can be time consuming and incredibly stressful.

Events by Knight, event planning specialists, know only too well how many separate things all need to come together on the day. It’s certainly not a task for the faint hearted.

To try and make life just that little bit easier, we’ve come up with 20 tips for planning a festival style event.

1 Give yourself plenty of time

Planning any type of outdoor festival takes a lot longer than you might think. Not only will you need to book bands, musicians, caterers, etc, well in advance (and perhaps research and negotiate on costs), you’ll also have to think about licences, insurances, marketing and promotion as well as selling tickets. The larger your festival styled event and the greater the audience, obviously the more you’ll need to do. It’s never too early to start planning. In fact, the earlier the better.

2 Recruit volunteers

Spread the work load. You can’t possibly do it all yourself without forgetting something important, or causing a last minute panic. Recruit staff or volunteers, assign tasks and keep up to date with communications.

3 Know your audience numbers

Have an idea on numbers for planning requirements, health and safety, ticketing and budgets.

4 Location and time

Consider your possible dates, times and location for your festival styled event, but you may need to be flexible. It’s likely that popular event spaces / caterers / entertainers may be booked up for months or even years in advance.

5 Plan your space well

Make the most out of your available space when considering where to locate staging and backstage facilities, catering vans, portable toilets, technical equipment etc.

6 Budget

Costs will soon begin to mount up, and you may find yourself having to prioritise your spending. You may even need to downscale your plans and hire lesser known artists. Having just one huge star act on your line up may not only use up too much of your budget, but could mean you’ll struggle to keep your audience entertained throughout the festival.

7 Obtain the appropriate permits

If you’re holding your festival styled event on public land, you’ll need to apply to your local council for a Temporary Events Notice. This covers the sale of alcohol, food and drink, entertainment, but also places restrictions on crowd capacity and is a legal requirement.

8 Entrance requirements

How will entrance to your festival work? Would it be by prior ticket sales, wristbands, hand stamps on the day? Wristbands are popular for festivals which run for more than one day as people may wish to leave and come back in. Do remember to factor in costs for this though as well as staffing to check these.

9 Health and Safety

Carry out a Health and Safety assessment risks on your site. Would there be easy access for emergency services in the event of an incident? Pay extra attention to where electrical equipment and cabling are likely to be installed.

10 Power

You may need to think about power resources for an outdoor festival styled event and hire generators to cope with electrical appliances and lighting demands.

11 Security

It’s vital to consider security options for your event and ensure people cannot gain free entry from any point. This is a health and safety requirement and could impact on any insurance claims.

12 Entertainment

Make sure you’ve got a wide variety of entertainment options to cater for everybody and to fill in time between sets.

13 Caterers

You may need a wide variety of catering options, tables and seating. Do check the equipment that individual caterers are willing to provide, otherwise you may need to contact furniture hire suppliers too.

14 Stalls

Get in touch with local traders and ask if they’d like to rent a space at your festival styled event. Not only will they be attracting publicity and custom for their goods, but also providing you with rental income to help boost your spending power.

15 Attractions and Competitions

A good festival styled event needs a few extra surprises and as people will always like competing, perhaps provide games and contents – Giant Jenga, Duel, Bucking Bronco, for example.

16 Chill out Area

It may be sensible to provide a chill out area where people can relax and take a break. You may need suitable tables, chairs, cushions, games, soft drinks for this.

17 Marketing and promotion

How are you going to promote, advertise, and sell tickets for your festival styled event? As well as general social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, etc – think about local advertising, flyers, posters, and also the best way to reach fans.

18 Facilities

Festival goers are going to need food, drink and toilet facilities, so do make sure to include plenty around your festival site. Good signposting also helps, and you’ll probably need some kind of First Aid presence.

19 Rubbish

Don’t forget to provide rubbish bins. Festival styled events do create a large amount of cups, cans, paper and packaging and you really ought to leave the venue as free from debris as possible.

20 On the day Organisation

A successful festival styled eventreally does require almost military like organisation. Among many other on-the-day tasks, volunteers and event staff need to briefed for their roles, parking and clearly labelled signs need to be placed in advance, and clear timelines and schedules of activities need to be distributed.

If you’re thinking that all this may be too much for you to handle effectively, a dedicated event production organisation such as Events by Knight can come to your rescue.

We’re able to take over planning for the entire event or individual requirements to suit. We have immediate access to a whole host of reputable festival suppliers, we know what’s popular and importantly, we know the pitfalls too.

So if you’re planning any type of festival event do come and talk to Events by Knight on +44(0)203 130 4040 or contact us via the website. We’d be delighted to help.