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Themes for Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Having a theme for any festival can contribute to the event’s branding and promotional opportunities as well as keeping an annual event fresh each year. The theme selected can be just about anything but it should form part of that festival's identity and appeal to festival-goers as well as contributing to what the festival organisers believe in. 

Having a theme each year for a music festival for example can be an opportunity for the organisers to highlight specific current social issues often relating to the overall ethos of the event. The theme could also be less serious and more generic to add a bit of fun to the festival. Whichever direction festival organisers decide to go in it should form a key part of their planning as well as the event branding, marketing material and messaging. 

Every festival organiser has a sustainability policy but rather than a generic message it sometimes helps to push a particular theme. Recent popular themes have included encouraging people to take their litter home or encouraging environmentally friendly travel plans for festival-goers. Having these types of themes help promote these aspects of the festival and as well as branding and messaging should include practical steps the organisers can take to reinforce that year's theme.

Charity Backing. 
Most festivals work closely with selected charities by raising funds but the relationship with a particular charity organisation can also form part of a key theme for that event. This can be particularly helpful if the selected charity's work is topical in that year.

Social Initiatives. 
There are always new social initiatives that can be topical in any given year and festival organisers selecting these as themes can help raise awareness of that initiative with some being linked to charities too. Current topical initiatives include ‘Take Your Tent Home’ and ‘Safe Spaces Now’ that are supported by most festivals but it’s straightforward to convert these into the festival theme. 

Other Themes.
Other popular themes at festivals are key anniversary celebrations particularly when an annual event reaches key milestones like ten or twenty-five years for example. Music festivals with mixed genres may consider celebrating a particular music genre that has been around for some time but it should always resonate with festival-goers.

In a an increasingly competitive environment it’s more important than ever for festival organisers to select a new theme each year. A carefully selected theme helps to keep the event fresh and is also an opportunity to promote key issues that are topical. Marketing teams should be involved throughout the planning process to ensure that branding and messaging reflects any selected theme. Where possible organisers should avoid any political associations with particular themes as this can potentially disaffect potential tickets buyers.

For organisers planning their festivals 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 Jonathan Borba from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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