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Success Factors for Music Festivals. 

Andy Robertson

Assessing the success of any music festival is so much more than just the financial performance and attendance numbers. Organisers need to assess a plethora of factors to accurately determine if the events they run have been successful or not. What are these factors that contribute to a holistic approach in determining success.

Most festival organisers run post event analysis which may be based on robust research combined with anecdotal data collected form staff, suppliers, artists, vendors, sponsors and festival-goers. This data can be used to measure a mixture of key success factors that can include both traditional elements and new innovations in the industry. Measuring success should be done annually to obtain a trend over time striving for continuous improvement. 

Audience Experience. 
Meeting festival-goer expectations can sometimes be tough but measures like interactive installations, artistic displays, workshops, VIP packages and food vendor variety can all add to the overall experience. Creating memorable themes and stage designs that have a wow factor can generate engagement and social media sharing. A festival that is logistically well organised with a great line-up will also be a major contributing factor towards positive audience experiences. 

Local Community Impact. 
An event in a remote location will rely heavily on interactions with the local community who can influence licence approval for example. Giving preference to local vendors, artists and sponsors can certainly help build community relationships. Partnering with local tourism initiatives and supporting local causes giving them exposure on the festival site are all positive actions. 

Artistic Curation. 
Depending on budgets an organiser should aim to get a blend of well-known headline artists and up-and-coming talent. A mixed genre curation process can ensure that the festival attracts a more diverse audience, and this diversity should extend to artist selection too. An inclusive approach to curation should aim to showcase artists from a range of genres, ethnicity, and genders. The line-up curation is a key contributing factor towards a positive audience experience. 

Technology and Innovation. 
How new technology and innovations are incorporated into the festival logistics is a key factor of success and requires trouble free implementation. Use of new technology can start with the ticketing process with seamless payments and ticket fulfilment for all sales. This further extends to how organisers implement cashless payments and use of RFID technology when festival-goers are on site. Other on-site infrastructure like Wi-Fi and festival apps should work without breaking and meet festival-goer expectations. 

Are festival organisers taking their sustainability objectives seriously?  The implementation of all sustainability initiatives will be under the spotlight in the current climate as music festivals have a reputation for being environmentally damaging. Organisers should be using as much eco-friendly power sources (wind, solar and biofuels) as possible to reduce their carbon footprint. On-site initiatives like dedicated recycling zones, banning single use plastics and communicating the ‘Leave No Trace’ programme can all contribute to meeting sustainability objectives. 

Logistics and Overall Organisation. 
The festival-goer experience will be influenced by how well an event is organised. This can include the ticketing, transportation and accommodation booking efficiency and the customer service received. Organisers should have a well thought out process for managing parking and gate entrance procedures. A sufficient volume of food and beverage vendors with a wide variety of options and pricing is essential as is the number of toilet and bathroom facilities on site. Reducing queue times to acceptable levels is always a challenge for organisers and should be a focus of the operational logistics. Festival-goers will also notice how well an organiser manages on-site security and provision of medical facilities that will make them feel more comfortable whilst attending. 

Whether an organiser is using a third-party research company or utilising tools like survey monkey to collect data all the factors above should be considered in the questionnaire structure. This will help create a holistic picture of the festival’s success. 

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 Wendy Wei via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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