Planning is more critical than ever. Each year, local authorities are dealing with more and more outdoor events, which has prompted them to become far savvier when it comes to their own knowledge and understanding.
Make no mistake, this is a good thing for the industry. However, what it does mean is that organisers need to think very carefully when they decide to put on a festival. What we noticed last year is several organisers who – despite having the very best of intentions – simply didn’t plan well enough to deliver the event they had hoped for.
This was through a combination of not allowing enough time to plan things in detail, and due to not having a dedicated event manager with the relevant experience. To host a festival, an organiser needs to obtain a license. To do that, the application must be watertight and thorough.
As I write this piece, we are also preparing an Event Safety Plan (ESP) that forms part of application relating to a 10,000 capacity festival. The ESP currently stands at 150 pages, and the license is yet to be granted.
What this highlights is the need for organisers to have all the pieces of their festival jigsaw in place at an extremely early stage. If they don’t, the simple reality is that they might not even get the license needed to run it.
We know of one first-time organiser who last year didn’t plan their festival site accurately enough. As a result, they had to turn away the funfair vendor when they realised there simply wasn’t enough space for them onsite.
There is an innocent naivety among first-time festival organisers that often leads them to under-resourcing their event, which is a crucial mistake to make. If running a festival is not your primary experience, always ensure you allocate the correct resources when it comes to skilled personnel, and the correct time to plan your event.
Kevin Waters started his own event management agency in 1992. He has been directly and indirectly responsible for the winning and successful organisation of over 2,000 corporate and public events, and is a member of IOSH, the largest Health & Safety organisation in the world and a NEBOSH qualified HS safety advisor and Fire Risk Assessor
This article featured in the Event Industry News Festival Guide 2019