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Utilising CAD (Computer Assisted Design) For Music Festival Sites.

Andy Robertson

As music festivals get ever larger and more complex organisers are turning more and more to CAD to help them accurately plan and map a festival site. CAD has been around for many years but what do organisers new to this need to know about the technology and how it can help in their planning process 


CAD has been around for 60 years and its sophistication has advanced in line with developments in computer technology. Modern CAD consists of vector-based, very accurate maps and drawings done so everything can be correctly measured and accounted for on a site plan. The most popular program to create CAD’s is known as AutoCAD and is perfect for festival site mapping and rigging arrangements for example. 

Festival Site Specific CAD.
Organisers will have to bring in external expertise to implement any CAD designs and there are numerous companies that regularly provide services to festival organisers. Services usually include the design and drawing of site plans using both 2D and 3D design using products like AutoCAD. Contractors often use Satellite GPS Surveying Equipment to carry out on-site surveys which can record the topography and highlight uneven unusable ground as well as identifying the correct locations of tracks, fences, streams, trees and woods. All useful data is uploaded to CAD computer programs and combined with Ordinance Survey map data, if that data is available.

Advantages of CAD. 
Once an accurate site map has been produced it can be distributed to all decision makers involved in the site planning process. This will often be accompanied by recommendations from the CAD contractor on what will and will not work on site. Involving all the right people during the planning will ensure that the CAD festival site mapping becomes an iterative process where changes are made in real time. The finalised site map can also be used as part of any premises license application and demonstrates detailed site planning by the festival organisers. Using CAD to produce a festival site map will improve the accuracy and efficiency of the festival site planning process and lead to fewer on-site build up and infrastructure issues. Most CAD contractors will produce festival site plans that take account of any prevailing health and safety protocols too saving time in the planning process for any safety concerns.

The use of CAD is only really going to be justified once a music festival gets to a certain size and for most smaller events a physical site survey and plan may be sufficient. However, once a music festival grows to a certain size the site planning and mapping becomes a key element in maintaining efficiency and accuracy in the site planning process.

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 energepic.com via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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