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Food and Beverage Vendor Challenges for Music Festivals in 2022.

Andy Robertson

As festival season starts to pick up for this year there will be some underlying challenges for food and beverage vendors and music festival organisers. Numerous macro-economic and other influences will mean that vendor’s businesses are going to have to adapt and change to survive.

There are multiple external factors that have impacted the vendor business model over the last 2 years. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in almost zero business from music festival attendance and many vendors have had to adapt their businesses to survive. Raw material supplies have started to be affected by inflation over the last 12 months plus the increasing prices in the supply chain from rising transportation costs. The invasion of Ukraine is now likely to exasperate the situation further with food supply issues and yet further increases in costs. There are also additional pressures on food and beverage vendors to comply with new regulations regarding packaging and a drive by festival organisers to reduce food waste and meet their sustainability objectives.

Adapting to Change. 
Many food and beverage vendors have had to adapt their business models over the last 2 years to ensure survival without festivals. Music festivals have traditionally always been oversubscribed for vendor pitches but will this continue? Vendors are faced with rising costs and festival organisers need to balance their pitch prices carefully to attract vendors whilst covering their own costs. Vendors have also been adopting new technology to make their operations more efficient too. Whilst cashless payments have been the norm for some time expect contactless ordering to become more prevalent this year. 

With rising raw material and supply chain costs expect vendor prices charged to festival-goers to reach new highs this year. Many festival-goers have often complained about higher-than-normal food and beverage prices at music festivals so well-crafted notices and communication from vendors to visitors will assist in explaining why their prices have increased.

Specialist and Niche Products. 
One growth area for food and beverage vendors this year will be more specialist offerings including plant-based meat products and an increase in craft beers for example. These products fit well with the festival organisers sustainability ethos and can justify higher prices to festival-goers. When food and beverages are made from sustainable sources and support local communities and smaller suppliers it can be easier to justify a higher price. Demand for more of these specialist products among festival-goers remains high and also helps vendors to secure a pitch space.

The presence of food and beverage vendors is an essential part of the music festival set up but the challenges of rising costs and the need for meeting ever stricter sustainability requirements may impact on the number of vendors willing to risk a festival pitch. It's an evolving situation so organisers and vendors need to plan well ahead to maintain the provision of quality products at reasonable prices.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including a dedicated vendor management module. 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 ROMAN ODINTSOV from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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