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Catering Services for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

One of the key logistics challenges for music festival organisers is the catering arrangements for staff, volunteers and artists. Depending on the nature and size of a festival the organisers may select a different approach to how they manage their own F&B logistics. What are the key aspects that organisers should consider to improve this essential service? 

The relatively secure back stage area of most music festivals will contain dressing rooms along with other services for artists, technical staff and the organiser's own staff. This can make the perfect location for the provision of food and beverages to these key people. Alternative areas may be sectioned off as VIP areas that some ticket holders may or may not have access to depending on their ticket status, artist's guests for example. What are the typical hospitality arrangements and how can they be improved?

Key to controlling and managing the catering arrangements is appointing someone with responsibility, usually a Hospitality Manager. They will make all booking and scheduling arrangements for accommodation, transport and the provision of F&B services. The festival organisers will allocate a budget for all these activities, some are recharged to users and some are not so as well as good organisational skills they need to have excellent budget management skills too.

Dedicated Catering. 
For larger festivals with multiple stages, it makes sense to have a dedicated catering facility for the supply of F&B services. Some artists and support staff may have pre-selected meals with specific dietary requirements along with specific timing so the Hospitality Manager must co-ordinate these requirements with Artist Liaison Managers as well as double checking any riders that may also apply. Where multiple stages are used it may be possible to use a small catering facility for each stage but a larger festival will probably warrant the use of a specific VIP designated area for artists and support staff.

Selected Vendor Deals. 
For the supply of catering to festival organising staff and volunteers making deals with selected vendors saves time and effort in organising a dedicated catering section. Staff and volunteers can be issued meal vouchers to be used at selected vendors who submit any vouchers used to the organisers post event, this means only meals taken are paid for.

Sponsor VIP Deals. 
Depending on the sponsor deals arranged with the festival organisers it may be possible to negotiate an F&B deal with them for selected individuals, specifically artists and their guests. This can save time and effort negating the requirement to set up a dedicated catering facility for them.

Innovation in technology can make the provision of F&B services to artists and support staff easier, more efficient and potentially reduce costs and abuse. Using cashless ordering and other Apps for cashless payments that utilise QR code scanning can make the catering provision more efficient and reduce wastage. This technology can provide an accurate audit trail of what has been ordered by whom and any costs incurred. These systems can replace the old food voucher schemes used for years. 

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

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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