teenagers enjoying music festival

Festival Planning Checklist – Everything You Need to Know

Planning a festival can be a stressful experience. There are so many moving parts and often several stakeholders, which adds to the pressure to ensure everything goes to plan.

This highlights the key element of every successful festival: planning. To ensure that your festival runs smoothly, you must start your planning as early as possible and ensure that it is detailed enough to follow.

If you don’t know where to start with your festival planning, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about festival planning to ensure your next event is successful.

What You Need to Know About Festival Planning

As mentioned, there are many moving parts regarding festival and event planning. From food vendors to marketing, there’s a lot to balance in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the festival – not to mention keeping track of everything on the day of the festival itself.

If you want a successful event, start with a concrete plan so everything becomes much easier to manage. To help you out, here’s what you need to know about festival planning.

Have a Goal

Almost everything you do in life usually starts with a goal, and festival planning is no different.

Make sure you have a goal for your festival from the very beginning. This goal should be clear and likely to stay the same throughout the process, whether you’re planning an outdoor music festival, beer festival, arts festival, or any other festival event.

Here are some examples of goals to consider in your festival planning:

  • Number of attendees
  • Exposure
  • Revenue and/or profit
  • Donations

With a goal in mind, you can work backward toward planning how to achieve that goal.

Make a Plan

Once you have your festival goal, it’s time to plan how you’ll make that goal possible.

This festival plan can be a preliminary plan because, unlike your goal, your plan may change with the circumstances. Either way, you want to get some planning aspects down on paper to keep you on track.

Festival elements that you be included in your planning process are:

  • Festival timeline
  • Potential vendors
  • Live music or other talent
  • Food and drink
  • Marketing
  • Festival day schedule

Finally, you can’t forget to plan for your budget. The festival budget should have its own dedicated section in your plan. Let’s talk about how to set a budget.

african women dancing in a festival

Set a Budget

Your budget is the most important aspect of festival planning. To start, you want to ensure that you have enough resources to complete your festival. Once you finish your preliminary plan, you should estimate how much each aspect of your festival will cost to create your budget.

You can also start with a specific budget and work backward toward your planning. If you have sponsors bankrolling your festival, they may have already given you a budget to work with. In that case, you may want to start with that budget and make a preliminary plan from that.

Be sure to leave a little room for your budget to account for things not going as planned — hopefully, you won’t need this extra money, but anyone who has ever planned a festival can tell you that there’s always something that doesn’t go as planned!

Promotion and Marketing

Once you have everything underway for your festival, including confirmed dates, location, and performers, you want to ensure a strong plan for promoting your event. After all, you can’t have a festival without attendees!

The way to determine how you should promote your festival is by determining who your target audience is.

Who is likely to attend the festival? Who do you want to attend the festival? Knowing your audience is critical to getting the information out there.

For example, if this festival is for seniors or older adults, you may not want to use social media to promote it.

At the same time, young adults don’t look as closely at their emails as older generations, and an email marketing strategy to promote the music festival might go directly to their junk mail.

No matter who your audience is or what type of festival you’re hosting, it’s a good idea to promote locally with flyers around town in addition to other marketing strategies.

couple enjoying in a festival

Do a Test Run

You should always have an idea of how the festival day will go before the actual day, and the best way to do this is by having a test run before the day of.

Having a test run of your festival at least a few days before allows you to identify potential issues and address them in time for the big day. By this time, you’ll also have a better idea of what the weather will be like, so you can arrange to move your festival indoors if needed.

Learn From Your Successes and Failures

Once the festival is over, take time to relax, but don’t completely forget about it.

Debrief with your team to assess how well the festival went. Were ticket sales what you thought they would be? Did you get fewer festival attendees than you hoped for? Was the festival site right, or do you need to find another venue for next time?

Were there enough volunteers and event staff on the festival grounds? Were the food vendors a hit with guests? Any issues with event safety? Celebrate your successes, but also analyze your failures to better understand what to do in the future.

Not every festival goes well, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Take the time to assess what went wrong and how you could fix the issues for future festivals.

Festival Planning Checklist

Here is a quick checklist to go through when undertaking festival planning.

  • Have a Goal
  • Make a Plan
  • Set a Budget
  • Promotion and Marketing
  • Do a Test Run
  • Evaluate Your Success

Wrap-Up: Making Festival Planning Fun

Festival planning can be a fun experience, but the planning part is key.

You must go into every festival with a clear goal to guide you throughout your planning. From entertainment to water, each element of your festival needs to be planned for it to succeed.

For your festival water needs, Quench Buggy can help and take care of this major aspect of planning a festival. Contact us today to find out how.