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The Most In Demand Festival Jobs in 2021.

Andy Robertson

With the festival sector coming back to life in the UK and other recovering countries around the world the demand for festival staff is gradually picking up again. It has been a catastrophic 18 months for anyone working in the festival business but what new opportunities are there for employment going forwards and what are the trending occupations in demand. 

Most large-scale festivals take between 12 and 18 months to plan and with so many aspects to every festival the job and career options are varied. What are the typical occupations currently found in festival business entities?

Event Marketing.
A large festival organisation will have an in-house marketing team responsible for promoting their events using all the elements of the marketing mix. Aside from management positions the marketing team will also have responsibility for the following functions and specialities:  

  • Social Media
  • Public Relations
  • Graphic Designers 

Travel and Accommodation.
Sometimes called hospitality management this function manages all the travel and accommodation logistics for staff, artists, crews and contractors and may also include the provision of food and beverages to the same people.

Sponsorship and Sales Development. 
The lifeblood of most festivals in achieving their funding and any potential profit falls to the sponsorship deals they can secure. These deals are only possible by putting together good sponsorship packages along with a team of business development professionals that can close those key deals. 

Event Production. 
The producers will lead the festival's overall theme by securing and booking the best talent and managing shows in coordination with Talent and Artist Laison Managers.  

Operations Management. 
Big festivals rely on the smooth running of the event by having experienced operations teams who manage every aspect of the festival’s logistics and may also be responsible for other functions like: 

  • IT and Systems
  • Accounts and Finance
  • Volunteer Managers 

Whilst every festival is different in size and logistics management most of these functions exist in some form or another. In small teams it is common to find one person performing multiple functions, although not ideal a small festival has fewer options aside from outsourcing some roles to contractors on a seasonal basis.

A quick trawl through UK job boards in July 2021 shows some functions trending and popular job positions currently being posted include marketing roles, sponsor sales development roles and accountancy and volunteer managers. Also on the rise are backroom IT developers and systems positions which is not surprising considering the shift towards more technology solutions being used by most festivals. Interestingly there appear to be plenty of graduate and intern opportunities too across all functions which is a positive sign for getting new talent into the industry. The festival sector has suffered but now there seem to be signs of a recovery in the employment of festival staff and if the sector fully returns in 2022 it could be a prudent move to seek employment in the festival industry now. 

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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