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Train and Bus Transport for UK Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

All festival organisers like to encourage use of public transport like rail and coach to festival-goers when considering getting to and from festival sites. Use of public transport helps reduce a festival’s overall carbon footprint and supports their sustainability objectives. How do festival organisers work with transport suppliers during festival season?


One of the biggest challenges for the average music festival is the transport logistics because of the remote locations selected as venues. The road network can be limited and public transport stations may still be miles from the festival site. This partly explains why the vast majority of festival-goers still opt for their own private transport, usually cars. Festival organisers do attempt to encourage visitors to consider other options as this helps reduce their carbon footprint and alleviates road congestion around festival sites. What proactive actions are festival organisers taking to convince people to switch to public transport or consider alternatives.

Train and Rail Operators. 
Although most rail operators and ticket agencies (The Trainline) in the UK will promote and push deals for train travel to specific music festivals there do not appear to be any specific commercial deals between festival organisers and operators at present (unless they are being done behind closed doors). The rail operators and ticketing agencies are quite shrewd in offering good deals for festival-goers going to specific events by advertising deals to relevant stations for popular routes. Most organisers will post details on their website and social media for local train stations, travel times, distances and prices.

Bus and Coach.
A much more popular option for festival organisers is to pre-book services to their festival site from local towns, cities and train stations. Many festival organisers do have commercial arrangements with operators and they can arrange a scheduled service that allows them to plan for staggered arrivals for example. The Big Green Coach company has deals with multiple music festivals in the UK to provide all their bus travel arrangements, the company claims to be carbon neutral which is a big plus for organisers and festival-goers alike.

Alternative Future Transport. 
Festival organisers like to encourage car sharing to ticket buyers and many are starting to introduce sliding scales for site parking fees which reduce when a car has 4 or more people. They are also encouraging use of PHEVs and EVs with many currently offering free parking and charging points. Some festivals make arrangements with nearby land owners to offer park and ride schemes where shuttle bus services are provided to get festival-goers onto a site. This option is particularly popular where the festival site access roads and infrastructure is prone to traffic congestion.

There is still some way to go to get visitors to abandon their private cars when attending a festival, a car parked on a festival site means people can travel door to door and it’s often a cheaper option than the public transport alternatives. Public transport will forever be bound by schedules, waiting times, higher costs and inconvenience. Festival organisers need to appeal to festival-goers consciousness regarding sustainability as the primary driver to convert.

For festival organisers planning their 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 veerasak Piyawatanakul from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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