Top 10 Things to Know When Planning a Summer Festival

Summer festivals are some of the biggest and most successful events to plan. People love being in the sun with friends, music, and good food. There are lots of things to consider when considering a festival like which bands to book and how to get the word out. However, there are many important steps that often get overlooked until it’s too late. These 10 tips will help make sure you are planning the important logistics along with the bands to ensure the success of your summer festival!

1. Will there be tickets?

Ticketing structure and platform is something you need to know early in the planning stages. It can help you determine location and length of time if you have limited space available. It can also help you understand the quantities of items to order like swag bags, wrist bands, and beer kegs. Know what you are going to do early and promote, promote, promote!

2. How many do you expect, and where can hold that many people?

Festivals tend to be huge draws, so please do some research on similar local festivals to get a good understanding on size of the location. There is nothing worse than realizing there is not enough space for huge numbers of people. Fyre Festival was a good warning to event planners. Learn the lesson!

3. Liquor permits take at least 30 days to acquire

Do not forget to apply for a liquor permit if your venue doesn’t carry one. It can take up to 30 days for the permit application to process. Be early with that application or the police can shut down your event and now you are giving refunds instead of making a profit!

4. There’s never enough port-a-lets

Bathrooms are always a cause for concern at events. There never seems to be enough. Good news, most people expect to wait in large gatherings, but more is always better.

5. Staging is crucial for success. Make sure it is big enough.

Don’t forget to leave yourself space to have a backstage area for performers and sound crews especially in an outdoor venue where the stage can be accessed in multiple places. Your will want a barrier between them and the crowd. You will also need another staging area that is easy for your workers to access for storage items like ice and drinks.

6. Fencing will be your new BFF

Research temporary fencing. It will be a lifesaver to keep people in the area you want them. A wide open field is great, but if people don’t know where the limit is of your liquor permit or where the “employee only” areas are located, they will certainly enter them and cause problems. It’s inevitable.

7. Food trucks are an easy alternative

Don’t worry if you don’t have a built in catering or food point-of-sale option. Food trucks have become so popular and are a great (and cheap) alternative to feed the masses. Do some Google and Facebook searches to find local food trucks and feel free to ask them to participate directly!

8. Make sure there is easy access to water

Water is vital. You don’t want people getting sick during your festival. It looks bad. Plan on having free access to water fountains at the very least. Allow people to bring in water bottles to fill up at your festival. Also allow food trucks to sell water. The more options the better. People that are hot will not be patient if they have to wait in ridiculously long lines to just get a drink. I’ve been to a festival where this has happened and it was not pretty and the health department had to get involved.

9. Rain plans don’t exist for festivals. Plan on rain.

Generally, festivals are too big to move inside. If there is a massive storm coming that you know of before hand, maybe moving dates is an option, but generally you will just have to ride out any rain during your event. Tents or an indoor option for people to get out of the weather will prevent people from leaving early if it does rain.

10. Permits and police. Make sure you have them.

Make sure you understand the permits you need from the city/county for things like temporary structures like tents and staging. Also, contact the police early if you need their assistance with things like street closures or even to just be aware and available for quick help if needed. Consider a security team as well for another added layer of protection for your guests.

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