What does it take to start your own music festival?
Planning a music festival takes time, money and hard work. There are many things to consider in order to accomplish a successful event.
It may sound like an exciting and fun idea at first, but it is important to be realistic and know that it will require patience, organization and tenacity. Lets start with a basic evaluation of things to assess:
- Licenses and safety plans
- Building codes
- Transportation and parking
- Vendors for merchandise
- Liquor and the licenses that apply to selling liquor
- Food and the licenses that apply to selling food to public
- Contracts for your performers
- Holding areas for talent
- Restrooms for guests
Keep in mind that much of the steps dealing with police and local council members may seem tedious. Without their consent however, your festival will never see the light of day, so don't be in too much of a rush to forget to complete the tasks required. Licenses and safety plans are the most important steps to consider in order for your festival to materialize.
Start early! Give yourself and your staff at least a year or more in advance, especially if it is your first time. Smaller festivals will have volunteers, and fundraisers to help them
with the financial obligations. Festivals such as Coachella Music Festival are reputable festivals and can provide the means necessary to get started. Choose a strong team of individuals who can work responsibly and who can provide answers to your questions. Many companies may call this their
"mastermind team". It may be wise to consider volunteers for your first time, and you can offer gifts or certificates for their time. Once you have established your team, find a
Work with your local fire and police department as well as City Counsel Members
to find out what all your safety regulations and permits require from you.
Once you have your permits covered, think of what companies you'd like to use for your vendors, promotional materials and talent. Make use of your free resources. Many times local bands volunteer their time to music festivals in their area because they want to increase their community popularity. They usually know the city and are already in constant contact with the local community. The more well known bands may be more difficult to access but again, use your free resources. Try reaching out to them on social networks. Many times they may already be booked for an event, so if you’re looking to have a headliner at your festival, reach out to them well in advance.
If you’re having multiple stages, put together a performance blue print so that you can provide the visitors with enough time to walk back and forth from stage to stage before the next performance begins.
You may be able to find a solid sponsor for all the sound equipment needed. Apply for sponsorship through high quality sound equipment companies like Mason Sounds. Mason Sounds work's with EAW speakers, Crown amplification and Yamaha and Midas consoles a to name a few.
If it is a smaller festival, vendors could really help you kick start this project and get it off the ground with more ease. Vendors will benefit from a festival, so negotiate the merchandise and how the both of you can benefit from each others services. That will help you get this show on the road and you can utilize their good community reputation to generate more support for your music festival.
Be creative when you promote. Post your festival flyers and banners on their business establishments. The vendors you use will usually be more than willing to help promote since they will be a part of it.
Marketing and advertising is crucial to any business or event, so plan a good strategy that is diverse in nature and strategic to your demographic. Implement online methods as well as grassroots methods. Billboards 3 months in advance will more than likely have a great impact, however for start-up festivals this may be a more challenging feat as it requires financial backing and reputable clout.
Increase online interaction with your social media neighbors, as well as elevating your online presence on social media sites, Google, organic searches and blogs.
Always go back to your budget blueprint and revise. You may have thought your music festival would only require $20,000 to start just to realize that you’re $10,000 over budget. Sometimes in planning, minute details are missed. Other times during the launch, surprises arise. All of which may alter your original budget. A good idea is to have what is called a "contingency fund". This is for undesirable events that you may not have foreseen. If you want to have fun diving into this creative process, plan and re-plan so that you can minimize unwanted surprises and enjoy the ride.
We look forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas, NV for LvNvMusicFest Oct, 17th-20th.
Cubic It Consulting