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Deciding on the Presentation of Music Festival Line-ups.  

Andy Robertson

Festival-goers always eagerly await the announcements of headliners and line-ups for music festivals. For events taking place in the summer months the most popular time for announcements is autumn and winter but how do organisers decide which artists are headliners and in which order to present them.


Festival organisers want to promote the most well-known and popular artists as a priority because this can ultimately drive ticket sales. However, with many festivals booking hundreds of artists how do organisers decide on the order and prominence each artist gets in their promotional materials whether that’s in press releases or the traditional festival poster. 

Posters and Press Releases. 
Most festival organisers prefer to secure their well-known headliners as early as possible in the planning process. This enables them to make announcements well before the event dates and helps promote ticket sales. Once more artists are confirmed it is normal practice to produce and release early editions of the festival poster. The poster design often defines a festival and although only a digital online version is still the key tool used to promote a festival. As more artists get announced the poster design will expand and change to accommodate new additions but how to organisers decide who goes at the top and who goes at the bottom of the poster. Top artists are usually in larger bolder fonts with less well-known artists appearing lower in the order in small fonts. 

Decision Making Process. 
Festival organisers and the curation teams will usually have a view on which artists should be in large bold fonts on a poster, however, every festival will operate different criteria in their decision-making process. This may involve looking at the number of social media followers an artist has or assessing their recording and material sales history. The ordering of artists can be open to interpretation and cause heated debates with some organisers preferring just to list artists in alphabetical or performance running order. 

Artist Contracts. 
For some artists where they appear on a festival poster can be a bone of contention if they feel they should be higher up the listing order or in a larger, bolder font. Some artist’s mangers may even add a clause into a contract regarding prominence of their listing in any poster or press release. Equally there are artists who do not care at all where they appear on any poster listing or press release.

Festival organisers will always want to push and promote the artists most likely to draw an audience and ticket sales and this will be their overriding priority. Whatever decision is made it will be the graphic designers who then have to work with fonts and layout s to present artists as agreed by organisers.

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.

Image by Tammy Duggan-Herd from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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