<< Back to articles

Key Factors Influencing Music Festival Success.

Andy Robertson

It can sometimes be difficult to understand why some music festivals are a commercial success while others fail with a mountain of debt. The reasons for success or failure are not usually down to a single factor but often the combination of numerous elements that can impact on a festival’s very survival.

The current festival season has seen a number of cancellations with some organisers going bust while other festivals are sold out and some promoters even launching new festivals. Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on the sector but in the post pandemic era why are some festivals booming while others disappear. Here are some of the key success factors that are influencing music festival commercial performance. 

Location and Date. 
The location selected for a music festival is a key consideration, if organisers are planning a 3-day event with all night entertainment it needs to be located remotely not in a city where night-time curfews on live entertainment exist. A remote location needs to be balanced with the ability to provide excellent on-site infrastructure along with good transport links. Setting a good date also needs careful consideration with the summer months more likely to bring good weather. However, don’t select dates that clash with other nearby competing festivals or popular sporting events as this could impact on potential ticket sales.

Logistics and Planning.
Organisers must allow sufficient time to plan for licensing applications and approval as well as contracting suppliers for on-site build and infrastructure, requiring in excess of 12 months. The same applies to curating the right artist line-up which needs to be finalised at an early stage as this can impact on marketing and ticket sales, however, many organisers prefer to drip feed their line-up announcements over a long period to maximise PR efforts.

Funding and Financial Control.
Prudent financial control can make or break a music festival and organisers should employ astute financial controllers to manage every aspect of revenue and expenses. Organisers plan to make a commercial success and generate a profit so the budgeting of expenses and accurately calculating potential sales form tickets, sponsors and vendors is essential. A new festival brand may plan to break-even as they are trying to establish their festival, this will require sufficient investor funding from the outset.

The organising staff can have a huge influence on a festival's success and this is where experience counts. From operational and logistics management to artist curation every function will impact on the success or failure of a festival. The support functions of finance, IT, HR and marketing are increasingly important in the whole organising team and they must all work together. Recruiting and training volunteers needs to be taken seriously to help deliver the best service and experience to festival-goers, sponsors and vendors. 

The best organised music festival in the right location on right dates with a fantastic line-up can still fail if nobody knows about it. The marketing function is an essential part of driving revenue and requires an excellent flow of quality content on social media, press releases and advertising combined with generating sales opportunities from sponsors and vendors. 

Getting the right balance of all these factors can influence whether a music festival succeeds or not. If there is too much emphasis on one element and neglect of another this could lead to financial disaster. With the right focus and clearly defined objectives festival organisers should be able to produce an event that succeeds and goes on to grow year by year. 

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 Jonathan Borba via Pexels

Andy Robertson
Share To:

<< Back to articles

Contact us

Get in touch to discuss your requirements.

US: +1 213 451 3866 (USA)

UK: +44 207 060 2666 (United Kingdom)

AU: +61 (0)3 7018 6683 (Australia)

NZ: +64 (0)9887 8005 (New Zealand)

Or use our contact form here.