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How to Run and Festival . . .And Not Lose Money

Paul Fadden
12 May 2014
How to Run and Festival . . .And Not Lose Money

Not a guarantee of success by any means, but a place to get started.

Whether you are promoting local businesses or marketing your own, how do you make it work? Taking the leap into festivals . . .

Have a clear goal or fill a need

While it may seem obvious knowing exactly what you want to get out of your festival is job number one. Maybe it is a corporate event/festival like the Innocent smoothie’s village fetes. Maybe it is a regional writers festival or end of year music festival. Have a clear goal, and stick to it.

Location, location, location – but be realistic

Having your festival in the hinterlands may well be exactly what you need to do. But be sure there are services and infrastructure that you need before you settle on a location. For example, hard to reach places, with little or no parking would not be ideal for a family friendly event, but might be perfect for the 20-something crowds.

Get the right help and partnerships

Getting the right expertise where you need it is crucial. Can you run the festival yourself? Maybe. But getting the right help will ensure you don’t pull all your hair out in the process. Think of the elements you do need? Online ticketing capabilities, and onsite box office? Mobile scanning? Knowing where your strengths are (and where they are not) can help you decide on key partnerships.

Set realistic expectations

This is kind of tied into the one above. If you haven’t run a festival before (and hell even if you have), setting realistic expectations can be challenging. Getting great partners involved can help set realistic expectations, and help you to understand the workloads involved.

Planning and budgets

Probably a no brainer, but for festivals the devil is most certainly in the detail. Getting the planning and budgets rights is crucial, and that means setting realistic expectations on what your festival can and cannot produce.

Expect the unexpected

There is no way around it – even with the best planning, best team and best budget – s$%t happens. You have to be as prepared as you can to deal with it – and most importantly – be able to move on.

It’s a business – no matter your goal . . .

Running your event like a business (even if the festival is not for profit) will help keep your ticket sales solid. That said, if your ticket prices are off the charts, no amount of marketing will get your audience there. Be aware of what prices the market can bear.

. . .but it is really about people

Then again it is not entirely about the business side of festivals – it also about the people. Your target audience. Think about them and what they want first – and go from there.

Running a festival? Got all the basics covered, but need some ticketing for your festival or event? Contact us!

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