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The Creative Design Planning Process for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Music festivals grow over time increasing in size and attracting more visitors. With this growth comes increased competition from other festivals all looking to secure festival-goer's hard earned cash. What can festival organisers do to create a uniquely themed event that will differentiate them from competing music festivals to ensure ongoing success.

With new music festivals entering the market the competition for visitors can get intense and this can put pressure on organisers to get ever more creative each year. There are still numerous festivals that stick with a standard site format consisting of stages, camping areas and designated vendor pitches. At most their creativity may stretch to a logo and perhaps some themed design. Larger festivals with deep pockets are moving towards more theatrical and immersive themes, good examples being Tomorrowland and Boomtown festivals. This can involve elaborate stage designs with pyrotechnics and stage elements in motion. What is the process these festival go through to create such fantastic designs?

Creative Specifications. 
It takes great imagination to create unique and impressive designs and themes and will be driven by the specifications drawn up by organisers. The specification brief provided by organisers will include the available budget along with requirements for adherence to health and safety requirements and importantly compliance with the festival’s sustainability credentials. The agreed specification is then given to creative designers and build experts to come up with a shortlist of alternative themes and designs ready for selection and approval.

In house and External Agencies.
Larger festival organisations may have an internal team of designers and build experts but increasingly external creative agencies are being used. There are a good selection of creative agencies to choose from an although this will increase costs it may well save time and the creativity may be better. In house teams and external agencies should work closely together to ensure that the logistics of build delivery is completed on time. Most external agencies can also contribute to the orchestrating of theatrical shows and creative production including any associated light shows.

Creative Execution. 
Once a theme design and creative process is finalised it is key to roll out these out across all elements of the marketing mix with the designs reflected on websites and social media platforms. This should also be supported by good PR support with announcements to the press about the festival themes, shows and design to highlight what festival-goers can expect.

All these elements need to be brought together to form a cohesive presentation to potential ticket buyers. Planning for such elaborate theatrical design and shows can take in excess of a year from specification to on-site build so organisers need to be adept in the planning process to achieve a unique and amazing experience for their festival-goers.

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 Lukas Rodriguez via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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