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Music Festival Artist Logistics Protocols in 2021.

Andy Robertson

The largest music festivals can have a line-up that could include in excess of 1,000 performance artists. Traditionally the artist booking logistics were managed using the artist advance and managed by the artist liaison manager. In coronavirus times there are going to have to be some significant changes to managing artists. 


The artist advance is a great document that details every aspect of the booking and scheduling agreed between the event organiser and the artist. It’s a quick reference guide that both parties agree too and the event organiser relies on the accuracy of the artist advance to schedule anything from travel and accommodation arrangements to stage backline specifications and times for soundchecks and sets for example.

In some respects, the standard artist advance now needs some significant amendments to allow for the impact of coronavirus. Although there will be fewer changes required for in country artists the changes required for artists travelling internationally could be somewhat more complicated. 

Travel Documentation.
Adding into travel schedules will the possible requirement to record when and where the artists and their crews have been vaccinated, perhaps with some kind of ‘vaccine passport’. This will obviously vary from country to country but it seems likely that this vaccine passport will become a mandatory requirement to be able to fly internationally. Additional time will also be required should the destination country require evidence of a recent COVID-19 negative test. Evidence of documentation needs to be scanned and logged by the event organiser.

Travel Logistics.
Assuming that the artist and their crew have all the required documents to enable them to travel they may well face further checks on arrival including perhaps a quick COVID-19 test. Depending on the arrival airport and required procedures the test result may be known within a few hours or up to 24 hours. Even if they get the all clear there still could be quarantine requirements meaning the artist and crew is confined to their hotel for an additional 14 days.

The requirements for each country of departure and arrival are different and currently very fluid. The artist liaison manager will need to check the requirements that affect each and every artist booked for their festival. Once known the logging of new documentation and scheduling around extended country entry requirements need to be built into the festival's schedules. Adding these requirements to the artist advance seems to be the most logical move and event organisers should perhaps be incorporating an allowance for these now rather than waiting till the last minute. 

These new procedures could make international artists less keen to travel but this is outweighed by the desire to get back to performing live in front of an audience. For the most popular and well known artists once they have successfully entered a country, they can take advantage of their presence by scheduling in as many appearances as possible at multiple music festivals. 

For any music festival organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their artist advancing. 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. 

Andy Robertson
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