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Overcoming Language Barriers for Music Festival Organisations.

Andy Robertson

Music can transcend any language barriers as understanding the language used in lyrics is not essential to enjoying songs. This makes it possible to book artists from around the world to performs in their chosen language. What steps can festival organisers take to ensure that language barriers are not an issue when scheduling and booking artists form overseas. 

When festival organisers are curating their line-up for forthcoming events many will stick with artists from their own country as this makes the booking and scheduling simpler. Booking an international artist based overseas presents additional considerations that may include obtaining visas and work permits along with scheduling details that can easily get lost in translation. With some careful planning organisers can overcome logistical hurdles but the potential language barriers can sometimes be overlooked.

Artist Management Teams. 
Although most commercial organisations globally conduct business in English for less well-known artists based in non-English speaking countries this can present problems. Most fee negotiations and contracts will be in English and an artist’s manager will need to translate this into their local language. Accurate translation is essential to avoid any misunderstanding at a later date. Large music festivals regularly book international artists from many countries and it’s possible that the artist management team have multiple language abilities. If this is not the case and an artist demands a contract in their own language then translation services can be outsourced.

Advancing Information.
Accurate translation becomes critical when agreeing the artist’s advance as this document contains details of the set times and schedules for sound checks and dressing rooms for example. The advance also contains the artist’s technical specifications, accommodation and travel arrangements and their riders. It can be a challenge getting a completed advance form an artist even when there are no language barriers so if the artist does not understand English, it makes the completion of an accurate advance in a timely manner more difficult. Festival organisers should provide as much support and help to those artists when their first language is not English.

Let the Music Speak. 
Providing an artist line-up that includes international artists who are performing in their own language adds to the cultural diversity of an event. Music is an excellent way to connect people with diverse backgrounds and cultural differences. It is not a requirement to understand the lyrics of a song to appreciate and enjoy the music being performed. Music festivals have always been supportive of international artists performing in their native language especially if they are highlighting particular issues related to struggles in their own country. In such cases it's not unusual that they are unable to perform in their own country due to restrictions and censorship for example.

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 Wendy Wei via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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