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Food and Beverage Options for Music Festival Organisers.

Andy Robertson

An essential part of any music festival is the ability to feed festival-goers and other visitors to the festival site. This can be achieved in numerous ways and will depend on the size of the event, the venue location and how long the festival has been running. What are the key variations and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

For any multi-day music festival, the provision of food and drink can be part of the experience especially with a move away from the traditional burger and chips. Festival organisers have been pushing more variety and food options along with craft beers for example. However, the control over what is offered can vary. 

The Multiple Vendor Model. 
Traditional music festivals of most sizes have always offered vendor pitches which are available to any supplier who wishes to make an application. These pitches are usually oversubscribed and festival organisers often have strict criteria on who gets selected based on menus, proposed prices, sustainability and experience. Having the vendor model does require dedicated festival staff to manage and organise the vendor selection and allocation of pitch size, location and supporting services like electricity and water.

Fixed Venue F&B.
For music festivals using a dedicated events venue or selection of city venues organisers will usually be restricted to using the venue’s own F&B services. These arrangements can be negotiated but venue operators are more likely to restrict choice and prices to festival-goers will probably be higher than outside the venue.

Subcontracted Supplier. 
When a new music festival venture launches the organisers may have limited resources and their logistics are focussed on curating artists, ticket sales and site infrastructure. In these circumstances it can be easier to subcontract all F&B services to a single supplier. This approach can simplify the operational organisation as it’s one less thing to worry about however, the organisers may find they have almost no control over what is offered to festival-goers and prices can be extremely high.

When festival organisers control the F&B process for their events it is more likely to result in better customer satisfaction because festival-goers experience wider choice and reasonable prices. In addition, deals with F&B sponsors can be easily incorporated into what is offered to site visitors as well as providing additional revenue to organisers. Owners of fixed event venues with in-house F&B arrangements can sometimes be open to negotiation for the integration of a drinks sponsors or some kind of revenue share deal. Subcontracting to an external supplier has inherent risks as control is lost with limited choice and prohibitively expensive offerings. Outsourcing the entire F&B supply has sometimes been cited as a contributory factor of the disaster that was Woodstock 99. Festival organisers need to find a balance between operational resources, venue limitations and the impact on customer satisfaction. 

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 ELEVATE from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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