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Managing Music Festival Load-in Transport Logistics

Andy Robertson

A large-scale music festival planned for a remote location with no infrastructure requires all equipment and supplies to be transported to the site. The planning required for the load-in transport logistics needs to take place well in advance of the festival dates, what are the key elements of this process that organisers should consider.

The planning phase for a sizeable music festival can start between a year and 18 months before the live dates and a key part of this process is determining the load-in transport logistics. Festival staff assigned with this responsibility will usually have extensive experience in operations and logistics planning where mapping out critical paths is essential. The objectives of this planning process is to ensure that all equipment and supplies for the event arrive in a timely manner.

Identifying Load-in Requirements.
The planning process should identify exactly what needs to be delivered and when, this can include security fencing, toilet facilities, temporary buildings, stage construction materials, backline equipment, electricity generators and telecoms towers for example. The contractors and suppliers tasked with deliveries will need to specify their requirements for access including vehicles type and size along with specialist lifting equipment and forklifts needed. Closer to the live dates there will be a requirement to coordinate with sponsors and vendors regarding what delivery needs they may have. 

Timing and Schedules. 
With a well-structured logistics plan in place there will be an agreed critical path illustrating what needs to be delivered and when. A schedule of deliveries needs to be issued and agreed by all suppliers who require site access. Part of this process will include logging details of vehicle registrations and issuing vehicle and contractor passes that can be checked by security personnel and on-site operational staff. Allowances and contingencies should be made for early and late deliveries to prevent road congestion and vehicle queues on-site.

Routes Directions and Schedules. 
All suppliers and contractors tasked with delivering materials and equipment should be issued with recommended routes and directions to the site. A festival site may have multiple access points with some having size or weight restrictions so prior knowledge of vehicle size and type is essential so that appropriate entrances are used. A site map issued to vehicles will indicate exactly where they need to be on-site and fully briefed operational staff should be available to ensure the correct delivery point is used.

Health and Safety. 
It is essential that all contractors working on a festival site adhere to any prevailing health and safety regulations. The movement of large vehicles and handling of heavy equipment presents an array of potential hazards. Festival staff responsible for health and safety should be on-site to supervise all load-in operations to make sure they are conducted in a safe and secure manner.

The load-in transport plans should be communicated with all relevant staff, suppliers and contractors. Clear load-in schedules and instructions can be created in an electronic format using a good event management software platform. This allows for changes to be made dynamically so that deliveries and schedule changes are communicated easily to relevant parties. A software platform should contain the contact details of everyone involved with the load-in logistics enabling an open communication channel for clarification and potential changes.

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.

Image by Jenny Friedrichs from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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