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Planning a festival? Then read this.

You’ve got your unique vision for a festival event that will blow people’s minds, and you’re in the process of pulling together the resources to make it happen. The musicians are booked (including that big artist you thought you had no chance of getting...), you’ve secured the epic venue you wanted, and the hype on social media is driving ticket sales through the roof. Now it’s time to nail all the details.

As the festival date approaches, your time will mostly be spent planning the logistics of the event. In order to help you plan your efforts, we’ve pulled out a few of the most important aspects of festival logistics. Take a quick look through to ensure you don’t miss an important aspect that will prevent your festival from being the version you imagined.

DJ playing decks on stage in front of a crowd at a music festival

#1 Create a detailed site map

First thing on your logistic planning list, according to Tommy Goodwin, Director of Field Operations at Eventbrite, should be building your event map. Having the map in place enables you to set out the space, eliminate staff and volunteer confusion, help you create efficient schedules, and highlight potential problems with layout and space early enough for you to troubleshoot. Pretty handy stuff.

Goodwin’s tips for an effective site map include:

  • Noting entry and exit points and planning traffic flow.

  • Map your entry chute as a funnel to alleviate bunching.

  • Map vendor routes and ensure vendors have access to loading bays and utilities.

  • Indicate equipment and utility needs.

  • Include VIP lines and areas – this creates the ability for you to add an additional revenue stream.

  • Have customer service separate from box office – so inquiries don’t hold up the ticket line.

 

#2 Plan your entry strategy

It’s no new headline that you’re going to have your biggest crowding issues during the main rush to enter the venue, so planning an efficient entrance strategy is a must.A good place to start is to build out an “entry chute” to funnel fans toward the check-in area. To do this, you’ll need to consider:

  • Starting your chute as far back as possible to account for the biggest rush of excited fans.

  • Zigzagging to funnel fans into an orderly line for faster processing.

  • Including signage and amnesty bins for prohibited items.

  • Accurate ticketing and security staff to cover the traffic flow during different times of the day. It’s good to have backup staff available who can be called over from other areas of the event if required.

  • Clearly marking the ticket process so fans with certain tickets go to the correct lines.

  • VIP check-in – this needs to be fast and feel prestigious.

  • For a multi-day festival, how will fans with full event tickets be differentiated from those with a day pass?

Expert tip: Place your security / bag check ahead of ticket scanning. Security takes longer so having this in place first stops a line forming after ticketing as fans wait for security.

 

#3 Coordinate staff and volunteers

I know this title is probably enough to make you scratch your head in anticipation- a festival is a moving machine of hundreds of different parts, and every member of your team needs to know how it all comes together, which is not always an easy task. Luckily, we have a tool here to help; Blerter makes this easy by providing a simple method for communicating with staff both before the event and on the ground during the festival. The app ensures all staff have the most up-to-date essential information – such as event map, running order, logistics timetables, safety information and much more – on them at all times, and you can easily push out an update to the whole team at once, whenever you need to

Other tips for happy staff:

  • Ensure everyone knows their role is vital to the success of the festival. Be humble and say thank you a lot, especially to volunteers.

  • Recruit 15% more staff than required during the event, to cover the no-shows.

  • Provide snacks and ESPECIALLY water to ensure staff stay hydrated and energised throughout the long days.

  • Provide opportunities for staff and volunteers to learn new skills and make use of the skills they already have. For example, if a volunteer has attended the festival for ten years in a row, they’d be a good candidate to staff a customer service desk.

I’m sure you’re aware that festivals are some of the most well-attended events. And this is for good reason – the range of entertainment, the sense of shared community, and the holiday vibe mean attendees get an unforgettable experience. To pull it off, and create the event you dreamed of, you need to be one step ahead at all times. If you effectively plan the logistics, you’ll produce a fun, problem-free festival fans will be raving about for years to come.

Talk to us about what Blerter can help with

We truly value the expertise of event planners like you and the ability to share knowledge with the community. So, if you have any hot tips of your own for your fellow festival planners, we’d love it if you would share them with us in the comments.  

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