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Early Booking Performance Artists for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

As with many things in life it is often better to book early to avoid disappointment and the same principle can be applied to finding and booking performance artists for music festivals. What are the challenges in confirming acts and what benefits can festival organisers gain by getting their headliners and line-ups confirmed at an early date.


Getting a comprehensive line-up together for a music festival can be a huge challenge for organisers. Once a future date and location are announced ticket sales will be muted until festival-goers have some idea of the line-up. Equally, sponsors and vendors prefer to wait on making any commitment decision until performance artists are confirmed. 

Availability and Negotiations. 
Using the artist curation function within an organising entity, curation managers should primarily focus on securing their headliners first. This will involve negotiations with the artist’s managers to check availability for any proposed dates along with fees and concessions for example. Once key headline acts have been confirmed it will be easier to get other performance artists interested in preforming and can have snowball effect on confirmations.

Marketing PR and Announcements. 
Depending on the size of the festival and the number of artists being sourced organisers may prefer to drip feed any announcements. Some organisers wait until they can name at least 10 confirmed artists that may include a mixture of headliners, support and up and coming acts. PR announcements at an early stage in the process should be made between 8 and 12 months prior to the festival dates. This enables the marketing team to compile online content that supports the promotion of ticket sales. With at least some acts confirmed the sales and marketing team can start the process of selling sponsorship packages and accepting vendor bookings too.

Logistics Scheduling.
If a festival has multiple stages and between 50 and 100 artists booked the operational logistics can start once they have confirmed their date availability along with completed contracts and advances. Having these detailed documents confirmed allows for sets to be scheduled for each stage along with all the support services like backline set-up plus dressing room and sound check times. Operational managers can create provisional schedules based on information they have at the earliest opportunity. As more artists get confirmed or changes are required a dynamic scheduling approach will be beneficial to the overall logistics planning. 

Ideally, music festival organisers should have a plan at an early stage with target dates for confirmation of performance artists along with the critical path of activities that cannot commence until artists are confirmed. In the planning phase it makes sense to have contingency plans for the addition of artists at a late date or equally for any unexpected cancellations. 

For music festival organisers planning their future events 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 picjumbo.com from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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