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Making Organisational Changes That Save Costs for Festival Entities.

Andy Robertson

Operating any music festival van be a risky business and many entities are lucky to break even or make a profit. The pressure on organisers has increased this year with rising costs and in some cases difficulties in generating sufficient numbers of ticket sales. What options are available for organisers prepared to make changes to reduce their operating costs.

The biggest challenge for any business is maintaining good cash flow but if activities are seasonal like running a summer music festival the risks are increased. The timing and pricing of festival ticket sales is becoming a science as organisers try and forecast potential revenue. Increased sales revenue from sponsors and vendors can help boost income in periods when no other revenue is coming into the business. In these tough times organisers can look at making some operational or organisational changes that could help reduce costs and maintain good cash flow.

Legal Company Structure.  
A quick look at any legal entity controlling a music festival can present a confusing picture about ultimate ownership. There is a trend for organisers to operate multiple limited companies that may have responsibilities for various aspects of the festival's operation. The directors may have an interest in an artist booking agency, event management company and another one that owns the festival brand. Multiple limited companies can provide legal protection, flexibility and risk mitigation for example. An alternative option may be to consider the Community Interest Company (CIC), a type of limited liability company designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

Cost Control. 
A key element to managing cash flow is controlling costs and expenditure by negotiating with suppliers. Whilst earning revenue form vendor and sponsor deposits are encouraged expenditure can be mitigated by negotiating a payment plans with suppliers and contractors to spread the costs incurred. This can only be achieved with the variable costs of operating the festival organisation and there will always be fixed annual or monthly bills to pay. 

Remote Working. 
A large portion of operating costs may go on office or business space and post pandemic many companies are encouraging staff to work remotely. Whether the business gives up their office space completely or downsizes will depend on their specific requirements. There is no reason why staff cannot work remotely with the current array of software that enables team collaboration. Closing a physical office will remove costs like rent, business rates, heat and lighting for example. The savings can be significant but it would be prudent to provide a nominal additional payment to team members who will now be responsible for increased use of services at home like electricity and internet.

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
Vlada Karpovich via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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