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Author Topic: Organizing a music festival  (Read 3082 times)

Brian Larson

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Organizing a music festival
« on: December 01, 2012, 06:14:50 pm »

Most of my experience is from behind the console, working for a promoter. This summer I'm switching sides and putting together a music festival.

Instead of being behind the desk, this year I'll be subbing out all of the production work. I'll be in charge of coordinating audio, lighting, power, staging, bands, security, ticketing, food vendors, sponsors, promotion, parking, fencing, and about a million other things. The event will be outdoors and we expect about 5,000 heads. We hope to have around three headlining acts and 6 or so openers.

I've worked with a lot of bad event planners over the years and have learned what NOT to do from their mistakes. Let's be honest, a lot of the time we have to take on the role of event organizer when whoever is in charge doesn't know what they're doing.

Although I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, this is still my first time organizing an event this large and I need all the help I can get. I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice from the event organizer's perspective.

Thanks guys!
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Bob Cap

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 06:59:40 pm »

Brian,

I've been on both sides for the last 40 years.

Give me a call and we'll chat.

Bob Cap
Advanced Audio Inc.
Gilbert, MN
218-749-4056
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 07:39:08 pm »

Most of my experience is from behind the console, working for a promoter. This summer I'm switching sides and putting together a music festival.

Instead of being behind the desk, this year I'll be subbing out all of the production work. I'll be in charge of coordinating audio, lighting, power, staging, bands, security, ticketing, food vendors, sponsors, promotion, parking, fencing, and about a million other things. The event will be outdoors and we expect about 5,000 heads. We hope to have around three headlining acts and 6 or so openers.

I've worked with a lot of bad event planners over the years and have learned what NOT to do from their mistakes. Let's be honest, a lot of the time we have to take on the role of event organizer when whoever is in charge doesn't know what they're doing.

Although I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, this is still my first time organizing an event this large and I need all the help I can get. I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice from the event organizer's perspective.

Thanks guys!

Delegate tasks/authority to a well-chosen staff and crew.  Then administer.  Let them do their work, assist and enable them as needed, but don't have "one foot in the boat, one on the dock".

Also, don't over-book.  I can't tell you how tired I am of people who think quality in an event means umpty-seven things on a schedule which means there's more time spent in change-overs than their is with entertainment from the stage.  If you must have lots of time for change-overs, you need two stages side by side or some small act to cover.
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Jack keaton

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 11:02:07 pm »

Delegate tasks/authority to a well-chosen staff and crew.  Then administer.  Let them do their work, assist and enable them as needed, but don't have "one foot in the boat, one on the dock".

Also, don't over-book.  I can't tell you how tired I am of people who think quality in an event means umpty-seven things on a schedule which means there's more time spent in change-overs than their is with entertainment from the stage.  If you must have lots of time for change-overs, you need two stages side by side or some small act to cover.

I have to do a blues festival with a 10 min change over 1 stage. Only way we pull it off is have a bass rig there and a drum kit. It can be a headache tho.
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 10:22:05 am »

Most of my experience is from behind the console, working for a promoter. This summer I'm switching sides and putting together a music festival.

Instead of being behind the desk, this year I'll be subbing out all of the production work. I'll be in charge of coordinating audio, lighting, power, staging, bands, security, ticketing, food vendors, sponsors, promotion, parking, fencing, and about a million other things. The event will be outdoors and we expect about 5,000 heads. We hope to have around three headlining acts and 6 or so openers.

I've worked with a lot of bad event planners over the years and have learned what NOT to do from their mistakes. Let's be honest, a lot of the time we have to take on the role of event organizer when whoever is in charge doesn't know what they're doing.

Although I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, this is still my first time organizing an event this large and I need all the help I can get. I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice from the event organizer's perspective.

Thanks guys!

A while back Craig Leerman had posted a great planning/production checklist.

i am pretty sure it was before the board changeover so you need to search the archive posts.

Found it: http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,76313.msg695226.html#msg695226
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 10:35:05 am by Jay Barracato »
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Jay Barracato

Roland Clarke

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 02:13:18 pm »

A lot of great advice above, 'm sure, however, the most important piece of advice seems to be missing.  Firstly, and above all else, get the money side right,  Nothing worse than putting together a great event and losing a fist full of cash, it's very easy to do, and I've seen it so often.

Once you are covered cash wise, the rest is just organisation, and hopefully kicking back afterwards, knowing that you organised a really good event, that people enjoyed, and that you made enough money to make it viable to do it next year! 

Good luck! You deserve it!
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Robert Weston

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Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 08:27:29 pm »

Make sure these areas are covered - i.e. try to appoint someone to manage these:

1. Stage manager (make sure acts get on/off the stage in a timely manner)
2. Stage techs - audio - (help the bands connect/dis-connect from the system when takings the stage)
3. Plenty of parking?
4. Onsite/stand-by medical personal?
5. Porta-johns (city/county may have a requirement on min. number to have per 1000 people attending)
6. Security/police presence?
7. "Runners" - people to do one-off things as need arises
8. Try using volunteers who have an interest in audio.
9. If volunteers used - assign someone to manage them



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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Organizing a music festival
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 08:27:29 pm »


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