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The Festival Director.

Andy Robertson

The person that manages every aspect of any type of festival is often referred to as the Festival Director and is usually appointed by a limited company or other responsible organisation. Most individuals that reach the pinnacle of this role are usually the most experienced with a proven record of running successful festivals.


There are numerous routes someone can take to become a Festival Director and anyone with a good reputation will have an excellent resume of events managed and be sought after by numerous organisations. This demand for the highest calibre directors means that they are also able to command some impressively high salaries.

Music Festivals.  
A smaller music festival is likely to be organised and run by its founders who may also take the title of Festival Director. These founders will often only have the experience of their own festival and are self-appointed, with an intimate knowledge of their own festival and they are able to run the event as they want, usually successfully. For the music festival that has grown in size or become part of a large corporate events company the role of Festival Director will be someone who is appointed by the parent company. An appointed director will be able to bring their wider experience to the role and make improvements that ensure a commercially profitable festival.

Arts Festivals. 
Many Arts Festivals are run and organised by local authorities or other government sponsored Arts Councils for example. In every case the Festival Director will be appointed by a managing committee and any shortlisted individuals will probably have an outstanding record of achievement of successful Arts Festivals on their resume. An appointed individual for an Arts Festival is likely to be appointed on a short-term contract basis due to likely funding restrictions and event oversight.

Other Specialist Festivals.  
Whether it's a comedy or film festival organising entities prefer to appoint individuals based on their specialist experience, interest and passion for the event theme. Many specialist festivals have organising committees and they are the ones responsible for assigning a Festival Director, however, for these types of events the person assigned is more likely to come from within their own ranks rather than be sourced externally.

The role of Festival Director involves touching every aspect of the festival logistics including artist curation and working with contractors, vendors, volunteers, ticketing agencies, marketing teams, finance teams and external licensing authorities. In some organisations these all-encompassing roles may also be performed by someone called an Event Manager or Artistic Director for example. There is often a shortage of talented people that can successfully fulfil these roles and it is not unusual to see them getting head hunted for alternative festivals with the offer of increased financial reward and management control. 

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. 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 Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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