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Are Music Festival Official Printed Programmes Still Viable.

Andy Robertson

Almost every outdoor event has traditionally offered a physically printed programme detailing schedules and background content for sporting events and music festivals. With the advent of the internet and online digital versions is there really a place for the glossy official printed programme anymore.


Just 30 years ago the only way of getting access to the schedules of artists appearing at a music festival would be to purchase their official programme. Advances in internet capabilities and connectivity now mean that all artist’s schedules, profiles and other useful information like maps and vendor availability is now offered online. Why are some music festivals still making and selling physical copies of their official programmes? 

Appeal and Value. 
A physical programme can still be appealing to many festival-goers especially those that don’t want to rely on their mobile devices which require regular charging and have to be carried around securely. A handy programme guide can be just as useful in planning acts to see along with useful maps of the festival site. Festival-goers also like to purchase a programme as a memento or souvenir of their experience and some can become collector's items in time. 

Revenue Opportunities. 
Physically printing a programme guide is not cheap and sales prices to festival-goers may need to be high to cover costs. Smart orgainsers can sometimes sell advertising space within the programme to sponsors and vendors which can create a small revenue stream. In addition, any official programme can be sold online within their merch store as a limited run collector's item.

The Future of Printed Programmes. 
Every music festival now offers their full programme in a digital format, either as a dedicated App or low-tech PDF download. The advantage of the digital version is that updates and news can be made in real time benefiting festival-goers. As programmes are now available via mobile devices there is no charge for access and production costs are reduced. However, the organisers will still have to invest in the creation of a dedicated App and will need to provide resources to produce and update content. It is likely that the physical printed programme will be relegated to a merch souvenir or collector's item with a small target audience. Some festival organisers now focus on only producing a high-end quality souvenir programme guide available in their merch store relying on a digital programme for the duration of an event. 

Obtaining a physically printed programme guide on-site at a music festival is likely to be difficult in the coming years as the demand dries up completely. However, with a thriving collector's market for older printed programmes the viability of printing limited runs for sales in merch stores will probably continue.

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 Kconcha via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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