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How to Control Artists at Your Festival.

Andy Robertson

Controlling a multitude of artists at a festival spanning several days may seem like a daunting task. There are so many things to consider, the devil is in the detail. Here are some considerations for managing artists to ensure a successful event.


When you are running a music festival with multiple artists it’s not unusual to get the odd rouge artist and if you don’t prepare it can turn into a logistical nightmare. Imagine you have 10 acts lined up in an evening running to your tight schedule the last thing you want is act 4 turning up late or worse disappearing in the venue itself. Having a contingency plan is essential but there are other factors you can employ to mitigate such eventualities.

Make sure that you plan well ahead and document all logistics steps to ensure artists and their agents are fully aware of where they need to be and at what time. In most cases you are dealing with the artist’s manager, which adds an extra layer of communication complexity. Balance your schedule with artist availability and be prepared to move acts around at the last minute, expect the unexpected and be dynamic there will always be last minute changes.

Typically you should consider the following questions when planning with artists and their agent managers well in advance:

  • Are there contracts in place involving all parties (artists, agents and organisers)?
  • Is there a schedule in place for stage times, set duration and sound checks along with any specific technical requirements?
  • Have all the arrangements been made for artist and crew catering and dietary requirements?
  • Have the performance fees been agreed (is this in the contract)?
  • What are the arrangements for guest tickets and VIP access?
  • Are all the equipment delivery and pick up schedules confirmed including vehicle registrations and transport itineraries?
  • Has there been coordination with the artist and their manager for pre-event press coverage photos, blogs and artist profiles?
  • What are the dressing room and accommodation arrangements?

Key to controlling this is effective communication with all parties, it can be a bit daunting when running an event over several days with a multitude of artists. It can take a minor oversight to a specific request like not providing a can of ice cold coke zero for a specific artist in their dressing room to end up with an unhappy artist that doesn’t perform well or refuses to play. It’s all in the detail.

How can you effectively manage all these facets of controlling artists at an event? In the past this has been done manually, lists on paper and spreadsheets for example. Some events are still run in this manner but there must be an easier way? You can consider using a purpose built software solution and there are many to choose from, for smaller events there are free no cost software packages but for a professional solution based on real life event management logistics consider FestivalPro. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. The good news is that they’ll even let you try it for free too.

Andy Robertson
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