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Legal Resources for Music Festival Organisers.

Andy Robertson

An often-overlooked aspect of many music festivals is having access to reliable legal resources. There are so many things that can potentially go wrong when organising and running a music festival that having the appropriate legal advice and resource should be an essential part of running any event. 

Most music festival organisers will employ the services of a law firm on an ad hoc basis and there are numerous law firm practices with specific ‘events’ legal experience. Larger festival organisations will likely have an in-house legal expert who may provide advice on a multitude of minor topics but rely on external help for any serious issues. For the corporate backed music festivals, they already have an in-house team of legal counsel to represent the organisation on everything. What are the typical ‘music festival’ specific legal issues (for the UK but similar principles apply in most countries with a thriving music festival scene) that may require attention from a legal professional?  

  • Obtaining licences for the provision of alcohol sales and live performances.
  • Providing copy for terms and conditions of ticket sales and event entry, although if using a third-party ticketing agent, they in turn will have terms and conditions of sale too.
  • Obtaining appropriate insurance to cover public liability and other unforeseen incidents.
  • Providing copy for contracts with artists, contractors, sponsors, media, venues and vendors.
  • Giving legal advice and obtaining representation in the case of a festival visitor being injured or killed because of negligence. Protection from public and private prosecution.
  • Advising on the organisation company legal structure, limited company or charity status for example and ensuring that legal requirements from Companies Houses and HMRC are complied with in a timely manner.
  • Responsible for GDPR compliance concerning the collection and use of customer data.
  • Internal staff and volunteer employment contracts along with compliance with any diversity regulations for example.
  • Checking and raising compensation claims or cease and desist letters to third parties that are breaching any copyright or trademark issues by re-publishing material owned by the festival and checking for any Intellectual Property breaches too.
  • Compliance with environmental sustainability legal requirements.  

This list is not exhaustive as many music festivals may have additional requirements specific to their event. However a music festival organiser sources their legal resource there are numerous law firms that can provide an outsourced service, the alternative is to hire an in house qualified legal professional. Both options can be expensive and some festival organisers prefer to employ seasonal legal staff who perhaps work for the six months prior to the festival dates. Whichever solution festival organisers opt for they have to balance the costs against the numerous legal tasks that are essential for every music festival.  

For any event organiser planning their music festival in 2021 using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival 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 and ticketing. 

Image by Andreas Breitling from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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