10 Do’s and Don’ts for Planning a Summer Festival

Summer is in full swing and the festival season is upon us. Festivals can be a wonderful way to bring a community together for fun, sun, music and arts. However, planning for these large-scale events can be a complicated process between the long hours, large scale venues and often times hundreds, or thousands of attendees. Here we have a few do’s and don’ts to help you get started and stay on track while planning your next (or first) festival.

EMB_image_10 Do’s and Don'ts for Planning a Summer Festival

Summer Festival Do’s

Keep Your Attendees and Staff Hydrated
Summer festivals are a prime location to enjoy the outdoors, but along with that can come extremely hot temperatures. Do your best to keep your guests hydrated by providing easily accessible water.

Water stations where attendees can refill their own bottles is a great solution, or perhaps you have water sponsor who will donate the product for your guests. Another great option is to provide a refillable water bottle at the event entrance. This encourages hydration and can be a great place to highlight a sponsor logo.

Ensure Proper Layout
Summer festivals can be very popular events! Because this is the case, you want to take extra steps to be sure you have the proper amount of space to host your festival. Make sure you are aware of your maximum capacity and abide by these guidelines.

Nothing is worse than going to an event with long lines and no room to breathe. Monitor your ticket sales and space to keep your guests happy and your event flowing.

Provide Security and Safety Measures
Safety and security is vital to the success and wellbeing of your festival.  If something goes wrong in this department, it could be very bad news for your attendees and your event.

Monitor the weather forecast and advise your attendees to be prepared for any inclement weather. Lightning detection systems and an evacuation plan are must haves. Security is also important for the safety of your festival. Contact your local authorities (medical and law enforcement) to inform them of the event and ask them to be onsite in case of any situations that may arise.

Activities for All Ages
During the summer months most students are out of school and they are seeking fun events for their whole family. During your festival be sure to plan activities for guests of all ages! Even if you are hosting an adult focused event, such as a food/beverage festival or an art fair, set up a station where the younger attendees can get involved, create a project and enjoy the day.

Show Appreciation
Making a large group of guests feel welcomed and appreciated can be a bit of a challenge at summer festivals. However, doing simple things like properly displaying event signage and providing friendly, helpful volunteers can go a long way and keep attendees coming back year after year.

Also, don’t forget to appreciate your staff and volunteers! Many of them will be out in the heat all day, so make sure they are well taken care of with meals, water and the occasional break in the shade.

Summer Festival Don’ts

Over Serve Your Guests
Half the fun of being at a summer festival can be enjoying an icy beverage with your friends! At most festivals guests expect there to be some alcohol available, but do your best to be sure they don’t go overboard. Hire bartenders who are properly certified and able to identify anyone who has been over served. This helps to maintain the safety of your attendees and shows you are looking after the reputation of your event.

Skimp on Restrooms
Restrooms at large outdoor events can become rather unpleasant, and that is putting it lightly. Do your best as the event manager to properly estimate the number of restrooms you will need for the event. Make sure you have plenty of units and hire a staff to keep them as clean as possible.

Understaff
Event staff is another area where you shouldn’t cut back. Festivalgoers will need help at your event with everything from parking and directions to general festival information. Recruit reliable volunteers that can help guide your guests and provide them with event knowledge. Happy and helpful volunteers or staff will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Go Too Big Too Soon
Be sure to scale you event and don’t go overboard in your first year. Perhaps you start out by writing down all of your grand ideas for the festival, but only focus on 3 or 4 major areas this year. If you do it right the first year or two, you will have a positive reputation in the community and hopefully the support to expand and grow in future years.

Leave a Footprint
Hosting a green event is particularly important with festivals due to the massive amounts of trash that can be produced and the fact that they are most commonly held outdoors. Make a point to remind your guests about your mission to run an eco-friendly festival.

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN does a great job accomplishing this task. They make it very clear early on in the attendee communications that their goal is to leave no trace. They provide food on compostable plates, have volunteers who help monitor the recycling and compost deposits throughout the venue, and much more! If an event this large can make the Earth a priority, we should all be working towards this goal. Your community will thank you!

In Conclusion

Festivals are extremely fun events to plan and attend. They can be a lot of work, but the rewards of an exciting event can be felt throughout your entire city. By using the tips above to focus on safety, community and guest satisfaction you will be hosting a successful festival very soon!

About The Author
Kelli White
Kelli White has 10 years experience in event management, creative marketing, volunteer coordination and non-profit fundraising. You can follow her at @kellimwhite.
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