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Managing Music Festival Artist’s Load-in and Load-out.

Andy Robertson

When hundreds of musicians and artists are booked for a multi-day music festival the efficiency of their load-in and load-out can impact on numerous operational elements. How can music festival organisers plan and mange this to eliminate any potential issues and ensure the smooth running of the event.

Any large-scale multi-day music festival with numerous stages may typically have up to 15 acts scheduled to appear each day. The logistical management for each stage is critical to the seamless artist changeovers and the efficiency will largely depend on how well planned and managed each stage is.

What is the Artist’s Load-in and Load-out. 
Whilst load-in and load-out can refer to an event’s site construction and infrastructure build up and breakdown post event it is commonly also used to specifically refer to artists and musicians. Artists are often travelling from one event to another during festival season and the load-in at each event is critical, it’s the time allocated for their arrival and equipment set up. The load-out period is the time allocated after their performance when all their equipment is packed up ready for transportation to their next event.

Scheduling (Advance and Riders).
ith so many artists booked for a music festival it is critical that each one completes and submits their advance and riders in good time. This indicates what equipment will be delivered and what elements of the installed backline will be used (drum kits, amplifiers and speakers etc). The festival organising team will use the information submitted on each advance to build their detailed schedules which are sent to each artist and confirmed. These schedules and set times will specify the time allowed for load-in and load-out along with instructions for delivery drivers.

The stage production team and support crews work to the schedules produced by the organising team which indicates specific times and staffing requirements. The support crew will be prepared for the arrival of an artist and their equipment so it is crucial to know exactly how much needs to be unloaded and set up. Any inaccurate information about deliveries can mean a shortage of crews to carry out the load-in and load-out phases which will impact on the schedules and timing for other artists too.

The efficiency of the musician's load-in and load-out is dependent on the information submitted on the artist's advance as this is used to predict staff requirements and prevent site congestion by delivery vehicles. Inaccurate information can lead to staff shortages and late running set times which in turn can affect an artist’s performance. The stage production and festival management team should have contingency plans in place to allow for any disruption occurring with artist’s load-in and load-out scheduling.

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 F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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