How to Put on a Music Festival: 10 Steps for Organizing Music Festivals

January 25, 2023
Liz Arnold

Planning a music festival can be a lot of fun, but it also represents a lot of hard work. From securing the artists who will be playing and the perfect venue to providing festival bus transportation, festival planning is not for the faint of heart. However, if you are wondering how to organize a music festival from scratch, you are in the right place. We have gathered all the tips you need to begin planning a successful festival that will be the highlight for attendees and those who will be performing alike with as little stress for you as possible.

#1. Set Up Goals and Reasons for Your Festival

When you create your own music festival, it is the perfect occasion to enjoy some live music from some of your favorite bands, but it could also be a unique opportunity to raise money for causes dear to your heart or raise awareness for local charities. You want to stand out from similar music festivals to attract potential attendees. Not only do you want to create concrete goals early in the planning process to help your marketing efforts and your event’s success, but it can also help you attract potential sponsors and define your target audience.

#2. Determine the Event's Budget

There is no such thing as successful music festival planning without talking about the overall budget. There are many elements you will need to consider when deciding on your festival setup. Here are some examples of expenses to account for when building your marketing plan:

  • Rental fees for the perfect location
  • Stipends for the bands and artists who will be performing. You may be able to save some money by targeting the local music scene
  • Food for the eventgoers, like hiring food trucks and possibly securing a liquor license
  • Sanitary facilities
  • Cost for the event staff and security staff
  • Administrative fees like registration forms

#3. Get the Insurance and All Necessary Permits

how to start a music festival

Depending on your event type and the expected number of attendees, you will likely need to obtain event insurance and secure multiple permits from the city hall. If you are wondering how to start a music festival, your first step should be to inquire about the different laws and regulations for your venue, including noise restrictions, health permits, policies regarding social distancing, and so on. You will also need an insurance policy sufficient to cover any potential issues. You may want to ask a local event planner for guidance if you are not familiar with the process.

#4. Find Volunteers and Funding

If you are asking yourself how to put on a music festival that is successful, then the answer lies in two elements: all events depend on securing funding and filling volunteer roles. To find funding, you will likely need to solicit several sources of financing. Some municipalities may offer a grant for a music event since it will attract visitors. If you need more money, you can also approach private sponsors like local organizations and businesses, and private investors if you think you can make a profit when you sell tickets. You will need to prepare a solid business plan for your festival goals with as much detail on projected returns as possible and all information regarding entertainment vendors.

Many festivals rely solely on volunteers for event staff. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, your planning team should include a volunteer management position to coordinate the efforts so specific tasks essential to starting a festival are assigned as efficiently as possible. To drive awareness for your festival, you may use word-of-mouth – especially if your event involves local acts who already have contacts – but also social media and other forms of communication like local media.

#5. Book a Venue for the Event

Booking a venue for your festival is essential to give potential concertgoers the desire to attend your event. It will determine essential elements for a successful event, such as the general atmosphere of the event, the number of attendees, etc. It is an exciting moment since your vision will finally start turning into an actual event! A detailed look at your venue will also help you determine the feasibility of your vision and decide on logistic details for the best attendee experience possible. For example, you may need to sell parking passes if on-site parking is limited.

#6. Book the Lineup for Your Festival

When it comes to festival planning, one of the most exciting parts is planning the lineup. This is your chance to gather your favorite bands and artists. In order to secure the perfect lineup, you will want to start your quest as early as possible, especially for more notorious artists. You will need a clear vision of what your event should include. You may be able to save money by offering a combination of well-known artists and splurging on your headliner, who will make concertgoers buy tickets while also giving their chance to more affordable local artists.

#7. Hire Vendors & Staff

While the quality of entertainment is essential to all music events, reliable vendors are just as important. Vendor planning should start early on to ensure that you have the people you need to provide a stellar experience for all the festival-goers on event day, including catering, parking, festival art, alternative forms of entertainment such as DJs between sets or lawn games, and so on. You may want your festival layout design to include parts away from the main stage for attendees to relax, socialize, or take a break from the excitement of such events.

#8. Plan Out the Schedule

Once you have settled on the location, chosen the artists who will be performing, secured the vendors and staff that will ensure that your festival runs as smoothly as possible, etc., you will want to set up a detailed festival schedule to ensure that everybody is at the right place at the right time. Providing a clear schedule is also essential for volunteer management to ensure that all shifts are covered. You can publish your festival schedule on your social channels when you start selling tickets so anyone interested can see the lineup and timing and find other activities offered during the festival.

#9. Create Your Own Music Festival Marketing Strategy to Boost Ticket Sales

Finding the public willing to buy tickets is often the most challenging part of a successful music festival. Figuring out how to host a festival will not lead anywhere unless you can gather the crowds you need to pay for the facilities and the artists. Often, you will need to boost your social media engagement to get the word out to the broadest number by hyping the lineup – particularly if you managed to secure famous headliners – but also promote other activities you will be offering during the events, like food or games. It is a good idea to create a hashtag that users can pick up on to help spread the word beforehand, but also to collect pictures and videos posted by the bands and festival goers during the festival. You may want to promote the event and boost engagement by giving away VIP tickets.

In addition to social media, do not hesitate to promote your event locally by printing and handing out flyers and posters and soliciting local businesses, especially those who are more likely to cater to the crowds you want to draw in, such as bars, music venues, and concerts with a similar genre.

#10. Hire Infinity Transportation for Music Festival Charter Bus Services

Once you have all the elements you need, do not forget to hire your music festival charter bus transportation. Providing transportation is the best way to avoid issues and delays due to parking, not only for the concertgoers but also for those essential to the success of your event, like staff, volunteers, and performers. Depending on your venue, you may need to set up several pick-up spots and provide a schedule. Do not hesitate to reach out to Infinity Transportation for a personalized quote or to ask any questions you may have about organizing a music festival.

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