4 Common Festival Planning Pitfalls and How to Fix Them

August 28, 2019

Festivals are complex operations with a lot of different moving pieces—which means challenges can arise at any moment! The best way festival organizers can avoid some of the common pitfalls of event planning, is to start planning early and be aware of potential challenges. With an assist from our expert on-site support team, we’ve put together a list of four common festival planning pitfalls to watch out for, and how to fix them.

Lack of Strict Deadlines

When it comes to festival planning, procrastination is your enemy! Once you have your event date selected, it’s time to get to work laying out a roadmap of what needs to be done, and developing a realistic timetable for each action item. For example, what date do you need to have your talent secured? When is your lineup going to be released to the public? When do your tickets go on sale? These items and more need to have firm dates tied to them, so it’s vital to get them on your calendar as soon as possible! Nailing down strict deadlines for you and your staff will help ensure you’re hitting milestones as your event date nears. 

Overlooking Event Day Details 

As far as the event day experience is concerned, the devil is in the details! Sure, your headline act is what prompted your attendees to initially purchase their ticket, but the overall experience you provide is what will stick in their minds at the end of the day! A few specific things to think about here: 

  • Is your festival mapped out in a methodical way? If you successfully set up event access control, attendees (and staff) should be able to move easily throughout your festival site to areas where their credentials allow them to go without having to wait in long lines or be turned away from an area they should be allowed to enter. 
  • Is your festival properly staffed? From event staff to volunteers to personnel provided by vendors, it’s imperative that you adequately staff your event to ensure a smooth experience for your attendees! Nothing is more frustrating than waiting in a long queue because there isn’t a proper attendee to staff ratio. 
  • Are there enough restrooms? You want to make sure your attendees can quickly use rest facilities so they can get the most out of their time at your festival. Watching a performance from a restroom line is not the lasting memory you want your attendees to have!
  • Is the information on your public-facing platforms up to date? Out-dated information on your website, event app, or social media could cause an attendee to miss out on a part of your festival they were looking forward to! If there are any last-minute lineup, venue, or scheduling changes, make sure your various platforms reflect them all.   

Overestimating Asset and Catering Needs 

Whether you’re organizing a small craft beer festival or a large music festival, your event has a budget you must stick to. An easy way to overspend is to overorder your event’s physical assets and catered meals. 

For assets, build out a comprehensive list of all the physical items you need to produce your festival well in advance. This should include everything from large machinery needed to put up stages down to hand-held radios for your volunteers. If this isn’t the first year of your festival, a great place to start is by pulling an asset report from the prior year. 

For catering, plan don’t predict! Not every staff member, artist, or volunteer needs every single meal offered on each day of your festival. Identify the groups that need meals, how many per day, and on which day(s) so you can place more accurate orders with your catering partners. This number will need to account for some day-of additions and subtractions, so make sure your catering credentialing system is set up to make on-site changes on the fly and accurately track how many meals are actually issued. 

Missing a Tech Backup Plan

A reliable network structure is vital for any festival. What would you do if your internet went down? Simple actions like scanning credentials for vendor access can be detrimentally impacted by the loss of internet connectivity. So, it’s imperative that you have the correct backup technology in place. Come prepared with enough mobile hotspots (sometimes referred to as MiFis) to keep your scanning equipment, systems, and personal devices connected throughout the festival.

Planning a festival is a big undertaking that requires time, dedication, and foresight! Having the correct tools in place to help you streamline your event operations and automate the repetitive tasks of event planning can help you focus on your larger goals and give your attendees the experience of a lifetime. 

Interested in learning more about how we can help you streamline your event operations? Request a demo today!

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