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Stretching Music Festival Budgets in Challenging Times.

Andy Robertson

There has been much coverage in the media recently about the inflationary pressures on global economies which are leading to rising costs. How can music festival organisers manage their budgets in 2022 and beyond to protect the financial contribution and earnings of their business operations.

With official government figures indicating many western economies experiencing between 6% and 10% inflation the impact on the live events sector will be rising costs this year. There are some strategies that can help negate these inflationary pressures that organisers can investigate to help maintain their margins. 

Every music festival has sponsors who will usually make up a large proportion of overall event revenues. Perhaps it would be wise to invest in additional sales resource to find and convert more sponsors, this can be helped by using creative pricing and packaging strategies to make any potential sponsorship deals more attractive. The additional sales resource should be a small price to pay considering the high potential additional revenue to be gained.

Any well-known artist will usually have a set fee range depending on the festival but all fees are negotiable and the artist management team can try creative ways to reduce requested fees. Consider offering a percentage of the ticket revenue or giving up space for a dedicated pitch for their merch in exchange for a lower fee. Costs can be further reduced by limiting expenditure on advance requests which can help to avoid extravagant demands by artists.

Suppliers and Contractors. 
It is normal to obtain multiple quotes form any potential suppliers and a financial audit will often demand that at least 3 quotations are obtained for any sub contracted services. Organisers could consider increasing the number of quotations obtained from any potential suppliers who will in turn will be raising their prices to counter inflation. Look for deals that increase the value of services purchased, an AV equipment hire company may include the technician and engineering expertise as part of a deal which may save having to employ a separate engineering team.

Conduct some analysis of current marketing budgets and consider redirecting resources to more online activities. Rather than spending budgets on paid advertising try using content and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to increase organic traffic to any online presence. This requires some investment in activities that increase free organic traffic but can generally be less expensive than running paid campaigns on Google and Facebook for example.

Always an integral part of any music festival, organisers can try and put more reliance on volunteers to conduct on-site tasks and activities. This does however, need to be balanced with any requirement for expertise and professional services like medical facilities for example.

For the upcoming festival season this year it may be too late to focus on some of these potential cost cutting activities and it’s likely that many festival organisers are going to take a big hit on increased running costs in 2022. However, inflation is not going to disappear quickly so when planning for next year it would be prudent to consider implementing tight budgetary controls to minimise the impact of ongoing rising costs.

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. 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
RODNAE Productions via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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