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Vendor Management for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

With the music festival sector in much of Europe a bit of a crossroads it's likely that some of the larger events will be postponed yet again. This will leave a vastly reduced number of music festivals taking place in 2021. The result of this will be an overall drop in the number of vendor pitches available which means vendor management will be more important than ever. 

Vendor pitches at music festivals have generally always been oversubscribed but this year a new dilemma is the dramatic increase in the number of applications because of the drop in festivals confirmed for 2021. Vendors will always be keen to obtain a pitch and for some they make a substantial part of their annual revenue from music festivals. It's important for the festival organisers to have a dedicated vendor manager and team to control every aspect of vendor management. What are the key aspects that a festival vendor manager needs to consider?

Selection Process.
Most vendor applications are made on a website application form that are submitted by each vendor. With most events in 2020 being cancelled many vendor managers have retained their selected vendors from last year. Spaces will therefore be limited so vendor applications need to be considered carefully to ensure they fit with the pitch types (food vs non-food) available and fit with the overall festival ethos.

The festival organisers will have assigned a target revenue budget for vendors so the vendor manager needs to ensure that the prices charged per square metre x the total size available matches this budget. Prices quoted to vendors are usually a fixed amount for a specific size pitch or on a price per sqm, although generally the pitch sizes are pre-determined. There should always be a comprehensive list of additional resources available to vendors including power, water and Wi-Fi etc and managers should ensure that the cost of providing these is covered by the price charged on to each vendor.

Customer Service. 
The vendor manager and their team should provide good customer service to the approved vendors booked and respond quickly to any questions they may have or changes and amendments they may want to make. As the festival dates approach the number of queries is likely to increase as vendors ask more questions about delivery schedules for example. It is also important to have onsite assistance available too should a vendor encounter a particular set up issue.

Vendor managers should be using an advance form similar to those issued to artists. Specific vendor contracts need to be drawn up, agreed, signed and stored for reference. A vendor advance form will enable the vendor to specify their pitch requirements and equally the vendor manger can supply all the logistics information required for delivery, set up and break down schedules. The vendor advance form also allows for the registration and issue of event passes for the vendor’s staff attending.

For any music festival organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their vendor management. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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