Festival tips and suggestions for success….
Summertime is here and outdoor festivals are a big deal during this time of year! Creating a concert space on a large plot of land is perfect for packing in as many people as possible, using daylight as an alternative for stage lighting, having sponsor tents available, bringing in as many portable toilets as needed for your attendees, and even offering more parking than is found at indoor locations are advantages to having an outdoor festival. It’s the ideal situation for large size live performances and public events, but there’s some planning needed to make it go off without a hitch.
Sound is always a necessity for outdoor concerts, but quantity and clarity is the key ingredient. Make sure you call a sound rental professional who is familiar with festivals and large live performance events. You will not want a weekend warrior for this type of job, it calls for top notch pros. Powerful sound is important of course, but a proper, clear mix is too. Be sure to ask who the engineer is going to be and what his experience level is. If the band is of national level, you’ll want to procure their technical rider and see what type of requirements they are requesting. This is highly important, and in most contracts, the requests must be addressed ahead of time. The performers may want a separate side stage console for on stage mixing, special microphones, or backline equipment arranged ahead of time. All this takes careful planning and consideration to make it go off perfectly.
A stage with overhead covering can come in handy for many reasons during the Summer months. Rain is the biggest of course, because with no alternative space available, there will be no show in the case of a downpour. The production equipment would be compromised in a storm, and either way, would result in a “wash”. Think ahead when it comes to stage covering. Another great advantage of a roof is to keep musicians hidden from the hot sun. Its warm enough performing on stage live and moving around, but add HOT Summer sun, and it could be a recipe for heat stroke or other health related concerns. Make sure the stage is high enough to see over people and at a distance. 3 feet tall is minimum stage height for clear view, but taller can be better in most cases.
STAGE LIGHTING IDEAS
If your outdoor event is continuing through the night, you’ll need stage lighting to highlight performers as the sun goes down. Don’t settle for the “free” or cheap static lights a sound company may offer, which does absolutely nothing for ambiance or accenting musical changes. Shop around and make sure the company you’re getting sound rental from also offers proper stage lighting effects and a lighting tech to run it to the music. You may have to rent live sound from one company and stage lighting from another. Be sure to secure professionals who specialize in what you’re looking for. Free or cheap is good, but audience members are going to know the difference between a good and bad presentation, and they’ll expect their moneys’ worth. A cheap or poor production will not bring them back the next year.
MARKETING AND PLANNING TIPS
Plan your festival event with plenty of time for advertising and marketing. Radio advertising, social media, event flyers and posters, and email campaigns are necessary for getting the word out. Booking popular bands with a following will assist in ticket sales and word of mouth marketing. Be sure to charge what the event is worth so you can show a profit, and have plenty for unpredictable circumstances. Searching for sponsors, and charging for vendor space, to sell food, drinks, and other products will help offset any expenses needed for quality sound, lighting, staging, and performers. Ticket sales should be considered as profit, not expense money. Relying on advance and “day of” tickets is a bad way to get in a sticky situation when taking care of overhead and costs of putting on a big event. Request volunteers to help with set up, guest relations, and trash collection once the event is over. There’s no need in putting yourself in debt trying to provide a quality event for patrons.
Just remember to always consider event rental professionals when planning for any event, but especially a huge festival where anything can go wrong. You’ll need to make sure your production team is experienced, has quality equipment, and top notch crew members. You get what you pay for in this business, and you’ll want to develop a clean reputation in order to build a following year after year for an enjoyable time to be had for all!