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Managing a Disappointing Music Festival Line-up.

Andy Robertson

It is not unusual for a music festival to come under criticism for presenting a disappointing line-up. This is likely not by design and may be due to a series of unforeseen circumstances that have impacted the curation process and organising team. What options are available for organisers to salvage their event and make it a financial success.

When planning a music festival, the curation process is a key part of this as target artists will be identified early on. Failure to secure their preferred artists can be caused by a multitude of factors that can include budgetary constraints, artist availability and last-minute cancellations. Any internal staff turnover can also have a significant effect on the artistic curation process. Suggested steps for organisers to recover a situation where the line-up is not strong may include the following. 

Focus on Theme and Atmosphere. 
It is possible to provide some distraction form a weak line-up by have a strong theme to the music festival which can be promoted and pushed in any marketing and advertising campaigns. Encouraging potential festival-goers to embrace a well-presented theme can help deflect any negative comments about the line-up. A well thought out theme with well executed design and lighting can help build a good atmosphere during the event shifting the focus from the music to an overall experience for attendees. Alternatively, organisers can use a theme to help highlight unknown music genres and up-and-coming artists to deflect adverse feedback. 

Diversify On-site Activities. 
Rather than focus on the event being just a music festival organisers can incorporate other attractions like comedy shows, talks, dance and art workshops to diversify the festival content. This can be further enhanced by introducing specialist food and drink vendors to participate differentiating them from the usual fast-food choices. Organisers can also consider having interactive experiences and even fairground rides for example. 

Positive PR for Artists Announced. 
Although a line-up may be perceived by potential ticket buyers as disappointing organisers can counter this by putting a positive spin on any PR announcements. An explanation why particular artists have been curated including any glowing reviews from previous performances can help enhance the reasons for the artist’s selection. Never apologise or give excuses for the line-up selection, try to put a positive spin on what the curation process has produced. 

Provide Excellent Customer service. 
If organisers are aware that their line-up is not that strong it should not detract from them providing excellent customer service to ticket buyers and festival-goers once on site. Efficient and well managed event logistics can help enhance the overall experience. This could include attentive customer service during the ticket buying process and on-site information provision. In addition, a clean site that has well managed bathroom and camping facilities with clear signage all help.

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 Thibault Trillet via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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