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When Music Festival Organising Staff Quit the Business.

Andy Robertson

Running and organising a music festival of any size can be a demanding and stressful occupation for most people. Despite various challenges festival organisers generally enjoy what they do and find their work satisfying and rewarding. However, there can come a time when it may make sense to decide to quit the business altogether.

There are a variety of reasons why music festival organising staff may decide to quit the business, and this can vary depending on the prevailing challenges being faced by the industry. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic did force many experienced organisers to look at alternative employment and some found it just as satisfying as running events. What are the most likely reasons for quitting the business in the current climate?

Economic Instability and Financial Rewards.
The financial situation for many festivals in 2023 has been precarious having to deal with rising costs and slow ticket sales. The cost-of-living crisis and inflation has seen fewer festival-goers willing to commit to ticket purchase resulting in margins being severely reduced. This is making it hard for organising entities to pay their staff high salaries and can make employment unstable and risky for organising staff. This lack of stability and fluctuating income can drive many organising staff to quit and look for alternative stable work.

Sustainability Challenges.
If a festival organiser is committed to sustainability and implementing this for the events they work on it can be disappointing when external factors prevent this. The organising entity may be trying to reduce costs and expensive sustainability initiatives could be sidelined. In addition, the volume of landfill waste generated by festival-goers can completely negate all the efforts by organisers to make their event sustainable and eco-friendly.

Personal Health and Well-being.
Most music festival organising staff are used to working long unsociable hours often under extreme pressure which can lead to mental and physical exhaustion. If they recognise this in themselves, it may be prudent to quit the festival business and take on work that is less stressful with more sociable working hours. Anyone working in a music festival environment should be trained to recognise the symptoms of burnout in work colleagues and raise this in an appropriate way.

Increasing Regulation.
Music festivals that ran decades ago traditionally had little regard for health and safety and often flouted rules and regulations regarding capacities and the sale of alcohol for example. Times have changed and any event being organised in current times has a plethora of rules and regulations to adhere to. Compliance with these is time consuming and costly for event organising entities. Also, the increasing complexities of the event logistics can make even the smallest festival challenging to operate successfully in a safe manner. Many organising staff can find the logistics and regulation compliance challenging to fulfil even if they have years of experience, leading some to quit.

For some organising staff that are leaving the music festival industry perhaps it’s the disappearance of the ‘fun’ element among a plethora of other reasons that is driving them to quit. Others may find that a break from industry for a few years can help them find a work life balance and they could yet return to work in music festivals.

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 Harrison Haines via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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