Avoid a Summer Bummer: 10 Tips for a Perfect Summer Festival
Summer is a time of picnics, barbecues, and outdoor festivals. In some colder areas, where winter lasts about half the year, an outdoor festival occurs every weekend, often several are held throughout the weekend. People need to get out, enjoy the weather, and get some sun on their pale skin.
Of course, outdoor festivals take place in warmer climates, as well. They are just able to be spaced out a little wider.
Summer festivals are a shared experience. When they work, they are a transformative, uniting experience; one that brings a diverse group of attendees together in celebration. When they don’t work, they still unite festivalgoers. However, this time, attendees are united in their disdain and anger toward the event. The most obvious example is the Fyre Festival, but it is not the only example of a festival failure.
So, to avoid a summer bummer, here are 10 tips that will help you put on a festival to remember.
Like any live event, several steps need to be accomplished for a summer festival to be a hit. These milestones – such as securing the location, booking entertainment, finding vendors and sponsors, etc. – all take time, several months to a year or more.
Plus, you’re going to want adequate time to perfect your marketing message, target your audience, and encourage them to buy some tickets. Be sure to give yourself and your team the breathing room to get it right.
Know the Flow
Your goal is to attract as large an audience as possible to your festival. Selling all of the tickets to your event is the ultimate dream. However, achieving this level of success will create a new problem: crowds.
Pedestrian traffic and areas of congestion are a hassle. Few things will get attendees’ Twitter fingers buzzing with negativity more than long lines at restrooms and concessions and overcrowded regions with no room to breathe. So, pay attention to your location’s maximum occupancy and carefully plan for attendee traffic flow. Carefully plan where food and restrooms need to be located, as well as first aid and cooling stations, stages, the backstage area, greenroom(s), loading areas, and campgrounds (if people will be sleeping on site).
Also, if you are hosting entertainment on more than one stage, make sure to get a venue where you can adequately spread out the stages. You do not want the noise from one location to interfere with the other(s).
Take Care of Your Staff and Volunteers
Summer festivals can get hot. While it is common practice to supply cooling areas and plenty of shade for the attendees, often the staff and volunteers are overlooked when it comes to their wellbeing. Much of your staff will be out in the heat all day, so make sure they have meals, water, and a cool area to take a break.
Additionally, by using a mobile event structure, you can turn previously sweltering locations – such as selling tickets or operating an information booth – into positions of comfort. With a mobile structure like the YumYum, your staff can help attendees through its hinge-up window while being protected from elements, like the wind and sun, while avoiding heat exhaustion thanks to its optional air conditioning. Additionally, the YumYum can be fully branded both inside and out, so when guests are looking for the information booth, it is impossible to miss.
Supply Plenty of Water and Sunscreen
To avoid sunburnt, dehydrated attendees, make sure to have multiple water stations available in easily accessible locations. This is another area where a structure like the YumYum will improve your attendees’ experience. By branding the exterior, you will clearly identify the stations where attendees can refill water bottles and pick up the necessities of a successful summer festival. Additionally, your staff will be comfortable and not passing out from sunstroke while ensuring that attendees are protected as well.
Keep Everyone Safe and Secure
The safety of everyone at an event is the responsibility of the event’s planners. So, it is imperative to have adequate amounts of security personnel. If there are security checkpoints that attendees need to pass through, try to make sure they are aware in advance and make it clear where the security lines begin and what items (such as purses, bags, etc.) will need to be examined and if any items are forbidden.
Also, be prepared for accidents. A few injuries that can occur at an outdoor fest include slips and falls, wounds from fighting, sunburns, insect bites, and dehydration. So, when people are in need, make sure that the first aid areas are clearly marked and easy to find. A mobile structure like an XPO or XPODH makes an ideal first aid area because it can be climate controlled, can fit many people at a single time, and is easily spotted from a significant distance.
If attendees are camping on the grounds, you could also provide some security – and luxury – by offering glamping accommodations with a Snoozy. Each Snoozy sleeps up to two people, is equipped with a lockable door, and comes with electricity (for lights, amenities, and device charging) and climate controls. In addition, every surface is fully brandable, so attendees won’t forget who is providing this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Be Thoughtful with the Check-In Process
Similar to the security lines, your festival’s check-in process should feel intuitive to avoid long lines and irritated attendees.
If you are in a large, open area where attendees could easily make a wrong turn, be sure to have plenty of signage that makes it impossible for people to get lost. Also, have staff on hand to provide directions, answer questions, and even lead people step-by-step through the check-in process. Be sure to set up some self-check-in kiosks to keep the lines short and give attendees a fast track into the fest.
An outdoor festival can put a strain on its location. If green practices are important to you and, most importantly, your attendees, emphasize that you are running an eco-friendly festival.
· Add a “Carbon Footprint Fee” to the ticket to offset the fest’s environmental impact.
· Have plenty of easily noticeable recycling containers available, and have your staff encourage attendees to use them.
· Use only compostable and biodegradable plates and utensils in concession areas.
· Implement a “no plastic water bottle policy” by working with a sponsor to supply reusable bottles to attendees (or encourages attendees to bring their own) and make sure there’s plenty of potable water available.
For an outdoor festival, you will need at least one permit and, depending on your location, perhaps several. After securing your venue, head to the internet to discover the type, number, and process for acquiring the necessary permits for your fest. Otherwise, you may get to helplessly watch as attendees are turned away by some rather stern officials because your event was shut down.
Have a Variety of Entertainment
If you are putting on a music fest, there will be downtime between sets. If you are hosting an art show or craft fair, it’s likely that some uninterested kids were brought along.
The point is that there is always a reason for additional entertainment. So, have a variety of entertainment options. For example, entertainers – such as magicians, jugglers, etc. – could wander through the crowd. You could have a comedy stage where acts rotate throughout the day. For parents with young children, an indoor play area could be set up in an XPODH where children can enjoy themselves in a safe, climate-controlled environment.
Don’t Overserve Attendees
At most festivals, attendees will expect alcohol to be available. However, after a couple, they may not be able to police themselves. Do your best to be sure they don’t go overboard by hiring bartenders who can identify anyone who has been overserved. This will help you ensure the safety of your attendees and maintain the positive vibe of your event.
Summer festivals are a blast, but hosting one is a big job. For help ensuring that your event goes smoothly, or for more information about our line of mobile event structures, call Event Architecture at 972-323-9433.