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Pop-Up Food and Beverage for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

For any bar or catering establishment that wants to try their hand at providing food and beverages to festival-goers the first step is to secure a suitable vendor pitch. The allocated pitch is often just a vacant space with a provision for the supply of water and electricity. The pop-up bar or catering facility is usually the easiest way to occupy any allocated vendor pitch space.   


The more established music festival vendors are more likely to have their own mobile set up which makes it easier to set up and break down for each festival. These long-time experienced vendors will arrive on-site with a fully stocked mobile van already fully compliant with any health and safety and licensing requirements and simply connect their utility supplies. For anyone starting out or with ambitions to have a vendor pitch larger than the standard mobile van there are two options, custom build construction to fill the vendor space or rent a pre-prepared pop-up structure.

There are numerous services available depending on what is required and of course the costs can vary enormously. For music festival organisers that want to provide a bar or catering service themselves without a sponsor or vendor, perhaps in a dedicated VIP area many suppliers will supply everything required for the pop-up bar including stock, staff and licences at a minimal cost. This may be a suitable solution when something is required urgently due to sponsors or vendors pulling out. For a new vendor just starting out it may be possible to negotiate with suppliers of mobile pop-up structures to rent them without stock or staff. This is commonly known as a ‘dry hire’ where the vendor rents the bar or restaurant structure with all the necessary equipment but no stock or staff. It is of course the sales of alcohol and food where the greatest profit margins are to be made.

Renting a dry hire pop-up food and beverage facility that is fully functioning but without stock can be a cost-effective way for new vendors to try out servicing festival-goers without having to commit to the investment in their own mobile vehicle. This can suit potential vendors who perhaps already have an established bricks and mortar bar or restaurant and would like to venture into the music festival vendor space. Such establishments already have stock, staff and experience and are simply moving their operation temporarily to the pop-up structure at the music festival.

Dry hire is becoming more popular as bricks and mortar establishments want to expand their operations to other channels without the cost or opening a new bar or restaurant. If financially successful this may lead to investment in their own mobile catering facility in the future. 

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 logistics and vendor management. 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 Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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