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Festival Site Parking Logistics.

Andy Robertson

Festivals that use remote sites with large capacities have always provided ample on-site parking for festival-goers. With growing concerns over personal car use how are festival organisers managing parking logistics to achieve a balance of providing sufficient parking facilities against their environmental sustainability objectives. 

Given the focus of festival’s sustainability and emission reduction objectives being met organisers are doing their best to discourage personal car use yet the number of festival-goers arriving at a festival site with a requirement for parking still accounts for 67% of visitors (UK Festival Awards Market Report 2017). Although this number is a few years old some festivals still report in excess of 80% of festival-goers arriving by car. In an attempt to satisfy their sustainability objectives and minimise the overall festival emissions organisers do their utmost to promote use of public transport but with many festival sites being located in remote locations it’s always going to be a challenge to get visitors to change their behaviour. What logistical measures can festival organisers put in place to minimise the event emissions and still attract festival-goers.

Categorising Parking. 
Having a designed parking area for different types of vehicles is logical with festival-goers requiring access because of disabilities being the closest to site entrances. Preferential treatment should also be given for visitors using alternative fuel cars both EV and hydrogen powered for example with the added incentive of providing mobile charging points for EV’s. Passenger vans and chartered buses should also get preferential treatment as festivals goers have made an effort to responsibly share transport. Obviously, the lowest priority will be given to all other personal cars and will be located furthest away from the festival site entrances. Some festival organisers do allow mobile homes or RVs but this can add unnecessary complications concerning waste disposal and electricity and water supplies so most organisers prefer to avoid any allowance for such parking.

Fee Charging.  
In line with a festival's sustainability and emission objectives a sliding scale of parking fees is usually implemented. Those arriving in EV’s for example could be free or be charged a minimal fee. The maximum parking fee will be charged for personal car parking. The higher the fee the more likely festival-goers will be discouraged and seek alternative transportation although not so high it puts people off attending altogether. 

Traffic Management. 
Managing thousands of vehicles arriving at similar times requires some great traffic management and most organisers will use volunteers to control and manage traffic entering, parking and leaving sites. There must also be close coordination with the local police with regards to managing traffic congestion on local roads too. Volunteers can also be used to provide a security service for large parking areas to ensure that visitor's possessions and vehicles are safe from theft for the duration of the festival.

Messaging and Communication.
Key messages on the festival's website and social media should clearly state the organiser's preference for public transport as part of their sustainability objectives and provide as much information as possible about alternative transport. They should provide hints and tips for visitors to help avoid congestion along with clear instructions on access to the site with many organisers issuing specific car parking QR code entrance scanning to indicate prior payment and allocated parking locations.

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.

Image by shilin wang from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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