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Festival and Live Event Understaffing.

Andy Robertson

It takes great people to organise and run a successful music festival or live event so having a reliable team in place is a crucial step in the logistics process. One element that can totally disrupt any event is a lack of staff whether it’s full-time employees or volunteers. What steps can organisers take to mitigate such an occurrence?


Data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) state that the average working days lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2020 was 3.6 days per worker. Although this is a very low number the data was skewed by the coronavirus pandemic. If a key member of staff falls ill just before a festival or gets injured on site for example the impact on logistics can be significant.

Employees. 
Whilst all employees will have an allowance for paid holiday and sickness organisers should ensure that applications for holiday do not coincide with any crucial time periods. Unfortunately, no one can plan for the injury or sickness of a key individual but there are some straightforward steps that can be taken to reduce any potential impact.  It is key that any documented processes and procedures are stored in an easily accessible online location. Equally, any schedules and contracts should also be stored in the same way. Using interns can also assist, as well as providing support to key staff they can also act as understudy to those with essential roles.

Volunteers. 
Estimating the number of volunteers for a particular event or festival can be difficult but examining historical records can help give an indication the of the likely numbers required. It would be prudent to increase the estimated number by as much as 20% This should ensure a sufficient allowance for no-shows as well as absence due to sickness. A shortage of volunteers can have a detrimental effect on how well an event runs as most volunteers are used to assist in gate entrance and security plus ensuring that a venue or festival site is clean and tidy at all times.

One of the biggest grips event-goers often have is that there was a build-up of rubbish at the event or that it was difficult to find someone to assist them with any problems they may have had. Thankfully technology has progressed significantly in the last ten years and it is now possible to have everything documented and saved on an online depository that can be accessed by appropriate individuals. This will require those responsible to ensure that everyone does save documents where they should be. Making an allowance for potentially being understaffed should also form part of any event contingency planning to avoid any staff absences from affecting the smooth running an event or festival. 

For organisers planning their events and festivals using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics online. 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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