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The Music Festival Vendor Booking Dilemma.

Andy Robertson

With uncertainly hanging over many music festivals in the UK remaining what is the impact on the thousands of vendors that usually support music festivals? Vendors usually make booking applications to festival organisers well in advance but with many dates remaining tentative are vendors holding back in applying?


The competition for vendor pitch space at UK music festivals is normally very competitive with vendor applications made early to secure the best pitch spaces. However, with early summer festivals still likely to be tentative vendors are unwilling to book now and pay the deposit fee for fear that an event could be postponed again and risk losing their deposit. It is likely that festivals scheduled for August through to November have more chance to proceed and vendros are gravitating to these late 2021 events.

This doesn't mean that festival organisers will cancel the early events between May and July but there surely is an element of nervousness? The most successful and active vendors will have applied and booked their pitches for the later dates perhaps holding off on the earlier dates. This is a dilemma for both vendors and event organisers. Vendors will be keen to book and attend as many events as possible but event organisers of music festivals scheduled for May, June and July will have to provide some kind of guarantee by making any booking deposit refundable. At the same time vendors may take the view that if the deposit is small enough, they are prepared to take the risk by booking and confirming their attendance at the early date festivals.

Another factor for music festival organisers to consider is that many vendors, particularly in the food and beverage sector have had to find alternative sources of income over the last twelve months and have shifted their operations to providing take away services in their local community. Some may also have unfortunately ceased trading altogether. It would not be surprising to see an overall reduction in the numbers of vendors willing to book a music festival pitch in 2021. Event organisers should be aware of this possible trend and make allowances in their booking terms and conditions to make their festival attractive to a reduced number of vendors.

It's not just food and beverage vendors that face these booking dilemmas, the non-food vendors have equally been financially affected by constant lockdowns and perhaps shifted their business operations online and be unwilling to commit to a festival pitch this year. For event organisers faced with empty pitch spaces they should be proactively looking at alternative use for that space, either offering it to key sponsors or seeking new vendor types. Organisers should be prepared to flexible in their approach to vendor pitch booking this year.

For any music festival organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their vendor booking and scheduling. 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 and ticketing.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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