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Challenges Ahead for the Music Festival Industry.

Andy Robertson

As all music festivals globally have cancelled their 2020 events or as a minimum gone virtual or a drastically reduced socially distanced format what are the challenges ahead for music festivals planning their 2021 events? Here are some key considerations that event organisers should be considering and planning for now. 


In the foreseeable future any large-scale music festival is unlikely to be anything like previous events. Normality may be resumed in two or three years realistically so organisers need to consider changes they can make to an event planned for 2021 to make them as successful as possible when facing these challenges:

COVID-19 Restrictions. 
New processes will certainly be in place during 2021 and local authorities and government agencies will most likely dictate what these processes could be. Rapid testing for event goers, temperature checks, wearing of masks, cashless payments and plenty of sanitizer are going to be the norm at music festivals in 2021 and many organisers are already planning logistics and additional staffing to implement these new requirements.

Artists.
As many music festivals have an international theme there will be challenges in getting a truly international flavour to an artist line up. Travel restrictions combined with the limited availability and costs of flights is going to severely restrict where artists can travel. A possible solution is to curate more local talent.

Event goers.
Despite pent up demand some potential event goers may feel reluctant to go through the new entry procedures for music festivals. With a focus on more local artists in any line up the appeal may be lost and with potential travel issues the appetite may wain. Notwithstanding that the current economic woes have probably pushed disposable income to new lows.

Vendors and Sponsors.
With budgets squeezed there is likely to be less investment available from sponsors and potential vendors who are also feeling budgetary pressures from a drop in business. This will surely have a knock-on effect on music festivals who normally secure sizeable revenue from both sponsors and vendors.

Event organisers should be planning now for a music festival that will have new entry procedures and more likely a focus on localised artist line ups and audiences. The international music festival will probably re-emerge in 2022 or beyond. Organisers of a music festival scheduled for 2021 face a conundrum with fine balancing of their financials because of higher running costs and reduced visitor numbers. Organisers should be making plans now for creative and alternative ways to make up the shortfall in visitor numbers, reduced international artist availability and a squeeze on budgets from vendors and sponsors. There is no magic solution but they should consider perhaps bundling competitively priced packages for visitors, vendors and sponsors who commit to two- or three-year deals as long as they pay now, and that’s going to help cash flow and future survival.

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro event organisers get all the functionality they need to manage event logistics and planning. 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 FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing new processes and for creating flexible artist scheduling plus a comprehensive ticketing and pricing function.  

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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