girls enjoying during festival

Festival Planning – How to Plan the Festival of the Year

Festival season is soon approaching. But to ensure that your festival is well thought out, your planning begins now. In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to successful festival planning to ensure that your upcoming event is a hit.

Festival Planning in 8 Simple Steps

Planning a festival may seem daunting, but when you break down your tasks into simple steps, you can stay organized and keep the bigger picture in mind.

Here are eight steps to planning the perfect festival this spring to guide you.

1. Figure out your festival goals

There are many different types of festivals that you can plan and host. Some common festivals include:

  • Music festival
  • Food festival
  • Folk festival
  • Winter festival
  • Arts festival
  • Beer festival

Chances are that you know what types of festivals you want to host, but it’s crucial to have a goal in mind during your festival planning to keep you on track.

Your goal should be concrete and specific. If you don’t yet have a definite goal in mind, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why are you choosing to put on a festival instead of any other event?
  2. What past festivals would you consider most similar to your ideal event?
  3. What do you want your attendees to say about your festival once they leave?

Answering these questions will help you develop specific goals and desired outcomes for your festival and kickstart your planning.

2. Make a preliminary festival plan and checklist

The key to a successful festival is to start your planning early.

Much work is to come, including collaboration with numerous parties and potential approval from different stakeholders.

For example, securing a location is one aspect of festival planning that typically takes the longest time. Many popular festival locations are booked months in advance, so if you have a specific place in mind, contact them as soon as possible!

You want to give yourself ample time to iron out the logistics of the festival and additional buffer time if things don’t go to plan – which often happens!

Your plan should include the following:

  • Event timeline
  • Target audience
  • List of potential collaborators (vendors, performers, etc.)
  • Process to contact potential collaborators
  • Food and drink
  • Festival site
  • Securing appropriate license and insurance
  • Volunteer and staff hiring process

You should also have plans for different aspects of your festival planning, including a promotion plan and a festival day plan.

At this stage, you should also start a preliminary checklist to know what to consider ahead of time.

Once you have a preliminary plan in place, you can move on to one of the most important elements of festival planning: budgeting.

girls raising hands during festival

3. Set a budget

One of the most critical aspects of festival planning is budgeting, so you must ensure that you spend a significant amount of time on this aspect of your plan.

It’s essential to establish a budget early on in your festival planning and stick to it. This is especially true if your budget is subject to stakeholders’ approval or an organization funding your festival.

Take your preliminary plan and use it to guide your initial budget planning. During this process, you might find that certain things you included in your preliminary plan are beyond your budget, leaving you to make alternative arrangements.

After your budget is planned, create a final festival planning checklist so you know exactly what you need to complete.

Here’s a pro tip: Budget for unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your festival planning process. Hopefully, you won’t need to tap into this part of your budget, but it minimizes stress if an issue does arise.

4. Plan food and drinks

Food and drink are essential regardless of the type of festival you’re planning. Often, the food ends up being the most memorable part of your festival!

You should devote a significant amount of time to determining the food and drink aspect of your event. This includes securing the appropriate licenses, such as a liquor license.

If you choose to have multiple food vendors, such as food trucks, you’ll have numerous contracts to handle and need to account for that.

Finally, it’s important to have a plan for supplying water during your festival. One of the best ways to supply water to your festival attendees is with a water cooler or trailer. Not only does this encourage them to bring their own reusable bottles, but it also simplifies the way they access water. If you’re looking to take this route, Quench Buggy can help.

5. Promote your festival

Once you have everything for your festival lined up and secured, it’s time to let people know it is happening!

Promoting your festival requires a plan all on its own. You have several options to choose from when promoting a large scale event, including:

  • Social media (a must for promoting anything today)
  • Promote on your website
  • Email
  • Posters
  • Word of mouth

For a successful event, you should use a combination of these methods to reach a wider audience and increase ticket sales.

6. Schedule a test run

You want to be as prepared as possible for festival day. The best way to ensure everything is accounted for is to have a test run.

Get your event staff and volunteers together to check out your festival location and simulate the events of festival day, including the lineup of entertainment, if any. This will reveal any last-minute problems that you may have overlooked until this point.

This is also the time to evaluate potential last-minute changes, such as cancellations from live music performers, food vendors, or changes in the anticipated weather.

people enjoying music festival

7. Festival day

Finally, you should have an exact plan for the festival day and how everything should play out.

Your plan should also include contingency plans at the venue to consider potential circumstances that may arise throughout the day. This may include:

  • Plan in case of rain
  • Plan for high attendance rate
  • Plan for any day-of performer or vendor cancellations

8. Evaluate your success

Once your festival is wrapped up, you want to evaluate how it went, whether it was a huge success or not as successful as you thought it would be.

The goal of this is to guide your future festival planning by learning from your mistakes and repeating your successes.

Summary: Festival Planning for Success

Festival planning can be a stressful but fun process if you stay organized and understand that things may not always go as planned.

The best thing you can do to facilitate the process is to start your event planning early. Not only does this create less stress, but it also gives you ample time to plan the perfect festival that your guests will remember!