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The Music Festival Load Out and Breakdown Process.

Andy Robertson

Much planning goes into getting a music festival up and running but a significant amount of planning is also required for the site breakdown load out process. What are the key aspects that festival organisers need to be aware of when planning their site breakdown for an efficient and effective process.

Every festival site needs to be returned to its original status after an event and depending on the size of the event this can be straightforward or present some logistical challenges. It’s essential to have a good breakdown plan in place that involves agreeing in advance with all suppliers and staff to ensure that the process happens quickly and without any issues.

Musicians Crews and Backline Equipment Suppliers.
The load out of expensive equipment either belonging to musicians or backline suppliers can be a complex process if there are a large number of items. This process requires meticulous supervision and tracking to ensure that the correct items are taken by the right people. The event can be vulnerable at this time as it can be a target for theft, it is also not uncommon for valuable pieces of equipment to go missing or be taken by mistake by the wrong crew member or supplier. A comprehensive list of suppliers, equipment and schedules for packing, load out and transportation collection is required by a festival staff member responsible for site operations and logistics.

Temporary Structures.
After the removal of all the expensive equipment it will be time for the dismantling of stages and other temporary structures. The suppliers responsible for stages, marquees, fencing and office buildings will need to remove everything form the site. If any items cannot be re-used it is essential that the supplier removes this waste too.

Waste Management and Cleaning. 
The supplier responsible for wastewater needs to collect and remove this in line with waste management protocols agreed. It is not uncommon for this supplier to also be responsible for temporary toilet facilities which need to be removed too. A dedicated team of cleaners and rubbish collectors, usually made up of volunteers, should remove all the trash left on site. If possible, this may include sorting into different types so waste for efficient recycling processes. Contractors tasked with waste collection may require rubbish to be pre-sorted and any waste designated as hazardous will also need to be collected and disposed of appropriately. 

Leave No Trace. 
The restoration of a site to its pre-festival condition is now an accepted practice for most festival organisers. Any damage to the site needs to be repaired and some sites may require re-seeding grass and landscaping for natural areas that were impacted by the festival. After any remedial work has been completed a final inspection should be conducted to ensure that everything has been properly removed and that the site is safe for public use again. After the breakdown process is complete, festival organisers will need to evaluate the festival breakdown process and identify areas for improvement for future events. 

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
Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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