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Festival Organisers It’s Time for a Break.

Andy Robertson

For many European and North American festival organisers the festival season usually runs from May to September every year. As we enter late September it's time for organisers and their staff to take a well-earned break. Why is this an important time for festival organisers and what are the benefits to staff.

Any large-scale music festival can take between 1 and 2 years to plan and for organising staff it can seem like a never ending operational and logistical challenge to make sure everything happens when it should. To pull off a great event the planning and execution for many seems to be continuous but always crescendos in the weeks leading up to the live dates.

Given the long planning process for most events many staff are subjected to stress and long working hours particularly in the immediate period up to and including the event. After the festival site has been broken down and waste dealt with the weeks following the event are an ideal time for staff to take a well-earned break. Some organisers give all staff an entire month off whilst others operate with a skeleton team in place. It is not unusual for festival staff to use their entire holiday allocation up in this period. 

As most festival organising entities operate with lean teams it is not unusual for staff to be working extremely long hours every day in the weeks leading up to the live dates with increasing intensity during the festival dates. Many will be suffering from sleep deprivation with little respite and this is bound to take a toll on the body. Physical exhaustion after working in this environment for several weeks is almost inevitable.

Mental Health.
Aside from the physical aspects of working long hours the stress and impact in mental health can also be an issue. Dealing with complaints, late deliveries, missing volunteers, AWOL artists and equipment failures can be enough to break even those who are mentally prepared. After such an intense experience it is bound to take some time for people to wind down and relax.

Break Activities. 
Whether it’s being with friends and family or spending time alone in a quiet space every individual has a different way of relaxing. Given the likelihood of both physical exhaustion and mental stress it’s a time when staff should focus on eating a healthy diet, taking exercise and seeking different methods of relaxation like yoga or meditation.

Suppliers and Contractors. 
The festival planning phase seems never ending and there will always be suppliers with questions so it’s important that organisers communicate with all contacts to notify them that the organising team are taking a well-earned break. In most cases anyone wishing to contact the organising team will be understanding and will defer their contact for a month.

Not every festival organising entity allow staff to take this post event break but most understand the benefits in doing this. Staff can return to work refreshed and enthusiastic for the next festival season. These break periods can also help improve mental health and reduce staff turnover in the long term.

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
Asad Photo Maldives via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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