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Curating Artistic Installations for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

In an attempt to attract a wider audience and generate ticket sales music festival organisers look to diversify their offering and artistic installations are often a popular way to achieve this. For festival organisers new to curating artistic installations what are the key considerations in finding and implementing something that matches their theme and target audience.

For years music festivals have liked to describe themselves as music and arts events because they offer more than just music. In addition to the music organisers offer other attractions like dance, theatre, art workshops, yoga and meditation for example. Curating these activities only involves selection and provision of site spaces as those responsible for the activity will organise everything themselves. Artistic installations will require more involvement from curators as they need fit in with the event’s overall theme to enhance the musical experience. 

Festival Theme. 
Festival organisers will always try to create a theme for their event every year to make the festival stand out. This can involve the design of promotional material, stages and other temporary structures on site. When curating artistic installations, it is vital that those selected can fit well with the theme being used that year. Important considerations can include the music genre, audience demographics and issues that are topical and current. Once selected the chosen artist will work closely with the festival team, particularly the marketing personnel, as the theme and installations make up an important part of the festival promotional process. 

Artist Selection and Budgets. 
The curation process for artistic installations will require the curation team to connect with both renowned international artists and possibly local artists too. An assessment of an artist's previous work and their availability is an essential part of the selection process. Additional assessment can include deciding if the selected artist can complete their installation in time and to budget. Once selected festival organisers should provide a comprehensive brief on requirements including the theme, space availability, timescales and budgets. Although an artist may work to a specified budget the amount can vary wildly, however, in some circumstances it may be possible to secure funding through sponsorship, government grants or other partnerships. 

Installations and Logistics. 
Organisers will have a detailed site plan for their festival which identifies different zones, stages and other temporary structures. Part of the site plan can indicate the preferred location for any artistic installations and these plans will form part of the brief to the chosen artist. This plan allows the artist to create something that will fit into the chosen location for maximum impact. The festival logistics team will coordinate with the artist to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place for the installation and may include electricity, safety measures and weather protection. In addition, they will specify the delivery and installation schedule which will need to fit in with other site build logistics. 

To fit in with a festival's sustainability credentials the selected artist should ensure that their installation meets the requirements for use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials. Other considerations will be the avoidance of toxic chemicals in the installation build. A decision about the use of the artist's installation post event requires some forward planning and organisers need to arrange for the safe removal and disposal unless the installation is being sold or going to a gallery 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. 

Image by stux via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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