Sam Kirkness
Ever thought of staging a festival?
8 July 2015

With the number of music festivals increasing - and some even making a profit - you may have wondered what’s involved with running one, or if you own an estate, hosting one of your own. Sam Kirkness of Savills Rural considers some of the key aspects.


The first consideration is who will run your festival. If you are planning on running it yourself, you will need to have a thorough knowledge of the festivals’ market. In addition, you will need good contacts, an understanding of licensing and legal requirements for contractors, and knowledge of practical issues such as parking, loos and camping facilities. The ticket sales process is also something you will need to be well versed in to ensure good cash flow.

The alternative is to outsource it and leave everything to the experts. Although with this option you have to part with some of the profit, it does tend to give better scope to scale up quickly, leading to potentially greater income.

In some respects that’s the easy part. The next aspect that needs to be covered is the practical side. Is the site secure for festival goers and can it keep out trespassers? How are you going to mitigate the noise levels? Is there good access to the site that enables traffic to be controlled? Are there any conflicts with other activities on your estate such as sporting enterprises? Have you got the facilities to install cash machines? And what considerations have been put in place for farm tenants?

A key aspect of any event is getting the local community on side. Without their on-going support bad feeling can damage ticket sales and lead to possible objections in the future. Using local businesses for services such as portaloos, waste management and catering makes for good relations but also inviting locals to meetings where they can voice their concerns enables you to be aware of potential obstacles and issues.

Today’s festival-goers expect far more than they used to in terms of food and accommodation, even at non-premium festivals. Fresh, healthy food has become commonplace and choice is vital. Campers also expect to have space, well-managed facilities, showers and a supply of drinking water. As for ‘glamping’, whilst it might have found a place at some festivals, it is perceived as an expensive option that is unlikely to grow much further at non-premium events.

And finally, making your festival stand out from the crowd is key as competition from smaller festivals increases. Great music is obviously crucial, but you must think about other forms of entertainment, such as theatre, film, comedy, arts and crafts, activities even banquets.


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