If you’ve been tasked with planning an outdoor music festival, no matter the size, there are some unique needs and challenges you need to plan for in order to pull off a successful event. Luckily, with the right foresight and infrastructure, you can play host to an event that people will be talking about for a long time. Here are a few things to look for as you begin your planning.
It wouldn’t be a music festival without the music, and that music requires electricity to be loud and proud. When you consider amplifiers, mixers, instruments, lights, special effects, and video boards, you quickly realize just how much power you’ll need. Not to mention providing power to vendor tents, as well as having power for venue lighting, and power to keep the administrative area up and running. The festival’s location will determine if you can use power from a nearby facility, if you need to bring in generators, or if you need to have temporary electrical service set up by the local power company. Just remember, when considering the power requirements of the event, that it’s very hard to add capacity once the event has started, but very easy to simply have a few extra unused outlets.
Getting a lot of people together who share the same passion can be an exciting time. Unfortunately, getting a lot of people together can also lead to negative outbursts that could quickly lead to a very dangerous situation unless you have the right personnel on hand. Many locales require a certain number of uniformed officers to be present for larger events, and having volunteer security personnel on the ground is wise, as well. Keeping everyone in constant communication is key to keeping anything from getting out of control, so be sure to equip all security personnel with two-way radios that report to a central command center.
Unless you’re planning on having a VERY short festival, you’re going to need to have a place for people to relieve themselves during the course of the day or days they are attending. Most places don’t have the facilities to handle a huge crowd, so you’ll likely need to bring in some portable toilets. Over plan in this area, since people paid money to come hear amazing bands, not to stand in line waiting to go to the bathroom. No matter how many you bring in, they will all get used, so make this a priority in your planning budget.
If you’re expecting lots of people at your festival, you can expect lots of cars, too. Finding a place to put all those cars is an important consideration in the planning of the festival. A large, grassy field will typically do the trick, but keep in mind that even with a small amount of rain, the field will quickly turn into a giant mud pit. Have a contingency plan if the conditions in the field go downhill too much, to ensure your guests can come and go easily, and don’t end up waist deep in mud when they exit their vehicles. If you have an actual parking lot, but it’s not within walking distance of your event site, make sure to line up some sort of shuttle service between the two locations.
In a setting with hundreds or thousands of people, unexpected things are bound to happen. Spend every minute you can planning every detail you can, making sure to consider all possibilities. When the big day comes, trust that your preparations have been adequate, but always be ready to kick it into high gear to overcome an unexpected challenge that may arise.