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Temporary Structures for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Most music festivals take place in remote locations usually on a farmer’s field with no infrastructure. These venues need substantial work to convert them to reflect what most people will recognise as a music festival site. This transformation will require the installation of temporary structures, what do organisers need to be aware of when commissioning these.


The building of a music festival site takes meticulous planning requiring detailed layout plans that take account of festival-goer's movements to avoid overcrowding and the placements of stages and support facilities. The final result is sometimes compared to the building of a small town but with the ability to return the site to its previous natural state. 

Identify Requirements.
As organisers aim to return a festival site to its natural state after the event any structures installed must be of a temporary nature. A mixture of structure types can be considered depending on their intended use and typically may include converted shipping containers, portable office buildings, marquees, tents and stages. Each structure should match with the organiser's sustainability objectives with regards to construction materials used and minimising any waste or site damage.

UK Regulations. 
There are numerous regulations that need to be considered when planning the installation of any temporary structure. In the UK these are covered by ‘The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015’ issued by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). These regulations were put together with industry consultation to produce a set of industry-wide guidelines for stages and temporary event structures which festival organisers need to ensure are in place during the construction phase. During the planning period when the organisers are having discussions with potential contractors there should be a commitment from any selected contractors of their adherence to these CDM regulations. During the site build a responsible person from the organising entity should be appointed to oversee compliance.

Insurance. 
It doesn't matter whether the temporary structure is a marquee or custom-built stage the erection, use and removal can be subject to risks. Festival organisers should ensure that they have the appropriate insurance to cover all eventualities and not rely on the compulsory public liability insurance alone. In addition, all contractors involved in supplying temporary structures should have adequate insurance too. Insurance should cover risks to injury or death from the moment a contractor arrives on site right through to construction and installation followed by festival-goer usage and the removal form the site post event.

Festival organisers should have someone on their management team who fully understands the CDM regulations regarding temporary structures. Where resources are scarce organisers can rely on the knowledge of temporary structure contractors and this can also be included as a key part of the procurement process.

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 Dayvison de Oliveira Silva via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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