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5 Tips For A DIY Music Festival

As the summer is fast approaching, you’ll not be short of things to do. The pleasant weather opens doors to activities you wouldn’t dream of doing in the more rainy and miserable seasons. Trips to the zoo or theme parks are what the English summer is all about. However, more recently, music festivals have become a bit of a staple for us Brits. The only downside to a music festival? The price. Some of you may be thinking; what’s so expensive about sleeping in a tent and building your own fires? Well the answer is: everything but the above.
You’ll firstly have to fork over hundreds of pounds just for your ticket. Then you’ll need to stock up on meals, snacks and the ever-so-important drink. Subsequently, you can’t take your own drinks into the arena, meaning that you’ll have to cough up £5 for the watered-down venue substitutes time and time again.
Is there a cheaper alternative? Yes: Organise your own.
What sounds like a daunting and expensive proposition, couldn’t actually be further from the truth.

Here are 5 top tips for your own music festival.

Our first tip is likely the most vital. Without a venue, you don’t have a festival. Now the cheapest option is to throw up a tent in your back garden and see who turns up. However, the chances are that your garden can hold a maximum of 20 people and your nosy next door neighbours will have a few things to say when the local cover band start wailing out “Don’t Stop Believing” at 2am.
Great Britain has no shortage of open space from farms to public parks. Sure it might take a lot of grinding but asking each and every one will pay off eventually. The way people now work is “what’s in it for me?” and in this case, that’s a fair enough question. Why not offer the farm owners the chance to participate? They could operate a stall. They could provide the refreshments. Or you could even offer them a share of any profits made.
Scout camps are home to a lot of pleasant and caring people. With vast open spaces and on site toilet facilities. If I was organising a festival, I would definitely start there.

Another key to a successful festival is the music. Unless you have extremely good connections, you’re going to struggle to get Ed Sheeran or Little Mix headlining. Instead, you need to book the local bands. This will require some in depth research. There is no doubt that your town will be a smorgasbord of “up and coming” bands but if you approach the first ones you see, you can’t guarantee success. Dig a little deeper and find the more popular local bands. Scope out those with quite a large following or the ones that you know will bring in a crowd no matter what such as 60’s cover bands or tribute acts.
Next, you have to tiptoe through the minefield that is genre. Many music festivals mix genre, the difficulty is doing it well. If you have the space, by all means, have a rock concert in one field, and a rave in the next. However, if you a limited space, with just one stage, genre mixing can be increasingly difficult. You wouldn’t have Take That supporting Slipknot because attendees for each respective act have no interest in the other. So choose wisely. Pick something that your audience might not have turned up for, but would happily sit through to get to their favourite band.
Local bands may not charge playing and be happy to play for the kudos it brings. Entice them with the idea of playing at a festival jam packed with potential new followers for their music as well as free food and drink for all VIPs.

Stalls & Refreshments
3 course meals have no place at a music festival. Burgers, hot dogs and chips are at the forefront of camping cuisine. Many refreshment trucks will be happy to turn up as they mainly keep their profits and are promised a sizeable footfall. The only downside is that there’s no revenue at your end. Why not get some friends and family involved? You could easily set up a stand selling bacon sandwiches and subsequently, any money made, finds its way back to you.
This also goes for any activity stalls. You’ll be amazed at how well a Hook-A-Duck or Tombola would go down with a plethora of adults solely attending the festival to let off some steam. Just make sure you check they have their own public liability insurance for events in place and get a copy for your own records.

The Money
You can’t expect the turnout of Glastonbury but there is the possibility of bringing in a small amount of profit. The biggest task is getting people in. If you charge £70 a ticket, you’ll struggle to attract a big crowd and any that you do, will be very hesitant about spending any money once at the venue.

How about charging £5 a ticket? This very accessible amount opens many gates for you; both metaphorically and physically. Not only will you bring in a considerably higher audience, but you will also take away any festival goers hesitation in spending £2 on a bacon roll or £3.00 on a pint.

I’d take 50 people paying £5 over 4 people paying £70 any day.

Remember Your Goal

You started out this little adventure wanting to make a festival more accessible, not only to members of the public, but to yourself. There’s going to be little fun to be had if you’re missing the local Bon Jovi tribute act scream out ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ because you’re busy counting how many burger buns you have left.

Try recruiting some volunteers, whether that be willing friends or local organisations. This will lessen the burden on yourself and allow you the time to belt along with “Ohhhhh we’re half way there…”

It may seem a daunting task but if you set yourself out a plan, it’s perfectly achievable. Try not to forget the massively important things, such as licenses or event insurance cover to provide that all important protection should things go wrong, and you’ll be good to go.

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