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Alternative Planning Strategies for UK Music Festival Organisers in 2021.

Andy Robertson

Having just entered a second lockdown in the UK, this time for a month, possibly longer, the prospect of further lockdowns and restrictions is playing havoc with music festival organiser's planning. What strategies can organisers explores to minimise the impact on their planning for events scheduled for 2021?  


Given that any large-scale music festival takes about 18 months to plan the wheels are already in motion for music festivals scheduled to re-emerge in 2021. For events planned for the latter part of 2021, July/August onwards, the likelihood is that those will go ahead as planned as long as any new restrictions in light of coronavirus infection reduction are adhered to.

For organisers with events scheduled for the first half of 2021 more thought is required on contingency planning. Some organisers have considered breaking up their music festivals into smaller chunks whereby a 4 day festival is perhaps run over several months with just a shortened one or two day event. Although this has an impact on more complex logistics and a subsequent effect on potential event goers this can be balanced with the benefits of reduced risk should a further lockdown loom at any point. If an early date has be cancelled it may be possible to move artists, vendors and event goers to one of the future dates already scheduled. This strategy may work for some of the smaller festivals with venue facilities that provide flexibility. It may however, prove more difficult for the biggest festivals. 

An alternative strategy could be to plan for 2 alternative dates. If for example a festival was planned for a weekend in late May organisers could consider running a mirrored version for a weekend in early September. Assuming all the logistics, contracts and agreements are in place with the venue, artists, contractors and vendors, in simplistic terms they could copy and paste the event to a later date. To achieve this would require efficient communications between all parties with clear options to agree to a transfer to an alternative date. The same clear and concise messages would also have to be commuincated to tickets buyers. 

These alternative contingency plans can be considered now for 2021 and to some degree can mitigate the risks of running a music festival earlier in the year. Organisers can build in processes now to prepare for a date move should their original date come under threat. If the country is going into lockdown during their proposed primary date then the decision can be made to quickly move to the reserve date but with the benefit of all logistics set up with only dates and schedules needing to be changed and all parties informed. 

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro festival organisers get all the functionality they need to manage complex logistics required for music festivals. 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 scheduling acts, contractors, vendors and volunteers with dynamic calendars. The built in CRM functionality makes it easy to set up and send customised bulk emails to all parties to enable rapid deployment of communications about possible date changes.

Photo by Vishnu R Nair from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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