How do music festivals make money?

Festival Money

We’ve all been to at least one, music Festivals have seen massive growth in the past decade. In England alone, the sector value was worth £2.8bn in 2018. 

Ticketmaster suggests that a third of the UK population have attended a festival since 2016. Despite the 2020 pandemic, this number is expected to rise into the 2020s. 

So, with the number of festivals growing, how do they make money?

Music festivals make most of their money through income generated from ticket sales, sponsorship, advertising, concession fees and merchandise. Additional revenue comes from things like database access, VIP areas, WIFI access, mobile phone charging and chillout areas.

Now let’s dig into how Festivals make that money in a little more detail. 

Ticket Sales

Ticket sales are a significant income for music festivals, and there are a variety of different strategies for pricing tickets correctly and for attracting customers to buy them.

There are several ways festivals will price their tickets.

Cost-based ticket pricing

Cost-based is the simplest way of pricing tickets. The festival works out the total cost of putting the festival on including any profit margin they want to make, then divide that number by the number of expected attendees. 

The advantages of this approach are that it simplifies the process and requires little research. On the flip side, not researching what competitors are charging could be risky. It also doesn’t allow for last-minute costs.

Competitor-based ticket pricing

Competitor-based ticket pricing is different to cost-based. A festival’s tickets price is based on the level of competition around the festival.

Competitor-based pricing may be a strategy that a festival considers when first starting. It would be challenging to remain competitive on reputation alone, so this is reflected with the price of the ticket admission.

Value-based ticket pricing

This approach uses market research of a target audience to determine what the pricing strategy will be. This means understanding what the target audience is prepared to pay for the festival.

Festivals will strategise their ticket sales in several ways. One of the most common ways is to offer tickets on a tiered basis, releasing batches in levels. Releasing batches usually involves cheaper tickets being sold very early on, perhaps straight after the previous event. 

The festival are open with the fact that after a given time or some tickets have been sold the price will increase. Batch-based releases encourages people to buy tickets earlier. 

Sponsorship

Sponsorship is an excellent way for festivals to increase their income and offer higher value to their attendees. 

Festivals will often use assets which they already have for sponsorship such as large TV screens, fencing covers or even the neck lanyards used for staff.

Usually, festivals like sponsorship because they don’t have to provide anything in advance. 

The sponsor gets involved because they see brand or marketing gain from the visibility the festival will afford them. In this respect, sponsorship can be a highly profitable activity for festivals.

When first starting out, however, it can be difficult to attract sponsorship if the festival is relatively unknown. Sponsors will expect to pay less and demand more in return for any agreement.  

Other examples of festival sponsorship ideas can be found in this post.

Advertising (Online and Offline)

Festivals make money from advertising in a number of different ways, and this is often a separate channel away from sponsorship.

With the majority of their marketing now focused on online channels such as social media and email, there are enormous opportunities for would-be advertisers to gain visibility across the festival audience.

Festivals will consider all of the digital assets they have and how they might be leveraged to include some advertising for additional income to the festival.

Digital assets could, for example, include sponsored posts on the festival Facebook group or Instagram, or it could be a specific email sent to all ticket holders mentioning the advertiser.

Many festivals now produce digital guides or brochures for their festival. These digital brochures are another opportunity to sell some advertising space.

Offline channels are still relevant to many markets and target audiences. While it might be that online advertising would return a higher profit. There are many opportunities offline such as physically printed brochures, lanyards, site plans, tickets, banners on fences (and some many more!) which offer opportunities for advertising space at a festival.

Concession Fees

Concession fees are those that charged to food vendors or traders that attend festivals. Depending on the size and reputation of the festival, these fees vary enormously. 

Festivals which are just starting will be unable to charge hefty fees as they cannot guarantee large amounts of football for the trader.

Those festivals that are well established and attract thousands of people will be able to charge extremely high concession fees to all traders attending.

Merchandise

Merchandise is a common way in which festivals make money and will usually be available online before and after the event, plus at one or more stalls dotted around the festival.

It is often split between the event’s own branded merchandise and then reselling stock from any performers for a fee.

The production costs of merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies or caps are often low when a large number of them is ordered. Bulk buying is an opportunity for the festival to enjoy a healthy profit margin, but can carry a risk if the merchandise doesn’t sell.

Very popular festivals can make a lot of money from selling merchandise.

Database access

Database access is where the festival allows advertisers or partners access to email or mail information they have collected from their audience, usually from a mailing list or from ticket sales.

Database access has the potential to be quite profitable as there is little cost attached to it. It is important to remember that there are numerous pieces of legislation in regards to data protection (such as GDPR in Europe) that make significant regulation of this type of activity.

Smaller Add ons

There are numerous smaller way in which a festival can make money, many of which will largely depend on the type of festival (music, food, arts etc.)

Patreon

Patreon is a relatively new phenomenon and involves people donating to support a festival either as a one-off payment or regularly. The festival can set up payment tiers, (£5, £10, £25 etc.) and people receive something in return. 

For lower-tiers, it would be something as simple as a shoutout on their social media or right up to VIP access to the festival.

Brand new festivals that are looking for community support can use this to generate income to get started. For more information, check out the Patreon website.

VIP Areas 

Charging a premium price for the ultimate premium experience is another way festival can make money. 

VIA access could be an exclusive area that has specific access to some of the performers or activities. It could also just be access to high-quality toilets. People will often pay a premium price for this.

WiFi Access

People crave data access to share their experiences at Festivals, but this can often be let down by weak phone data caused by large crowds or a rural environment. Festivals can provide WiFi access to customers who will then pay for the privilege.

Mobile phone charging

Another common way to make money is to charge for access to phone battery charging facilities. 

In recent years some Festivals have started offering rented power banks so that customers don’t have to leave their phones in a locker while they charge.

So there are some of the ways in which festivals make money, of course, there are plenty of other ideas. Leave a comment below if you’d like to share one.

What Are First Aid Legal Requirements At Events (UK)

Whatever the size of event you are planning, you will likely need to consider what your first aid requirements will be. This article looks at what the legal requirements are for first aid at for events.


DISCLAIMER: Please bear in mind that this article is written for a UK audience, although it does highlight best practise which should be relevant in most other countries. It’s your responsibility to check the legal requirements of the country in which you operate. If you are unsure, please consult with a safety expert to advise you of the requirements.


First Aid Legal Requirements at Events

In the UK, first aid legal requirements at events are covered by the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. These regulations require all employers to provide ‘adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work’. The HSE recommends including event attendees also.

Additionally, there is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which covers most employer activities and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1999. Both of these include the requirement to assess and protect workers. The MHSWR (specifically) introduced the legal need to undertake risk assessments. As an event organiser, you have a legal duty of care to event attendees. Part of this included adequately assessing the first aid requirements for your event.

Event organisers could be prosecuted for breaching these pieces of legislation so it is worth knowing what they are and how they might affect you. If you use volunteers for your event, they are classed as employees, and you still need to undertake the same steps and precautions.

It’s worth remembering that an event site is a workplace from the moment you arrive to start the setup to leaving following close down. In the case of large-scale events, this can include hundreds of people being onsite for days beforehand. 

Event organisers have a legal requirement to assess the first aid requirements of that work in addition to the actual ‘event’ opening hours.

There isn’t a law that specifically mentions legal requirements for first aid for event attendees. Still, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommends that members of the public are included in any risk assessment undertaken for first aid requirements.

If your event is taking place on publicly owned land, you may need to participate in a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) during the event planning process. SAGs are forums co-ordinated by your local authority and include representatives from the emergency services and other relevant parties. They do not have any legal powers or responsibilities. Still, they provide an excellent opportunity to engage with people who can help you to meet your legal requirements for first aid amongst many other things.

Remember that the event organiser (you!) has the overall legal duty for ensuring public safety. You can not absolve yourself of this or pass it onto another person.


Legal, moral and financial reasons

Yes, there are legal requirements to provide suitable adequate first aid provision, but there are also moral and financial reasons for doing so.

From a moral perspective making sure that you have the right requirements in place is great for your event reputation. Event attendees will want to know you take safety seriously and that you provide adequate first aid facilities for them should accidents or injuries occur. Attendees might be less likely to attend any event where they perceive this isn’t the case.

Beyond legal and moral requirements, there is also a need to consider financial reasons. From an economic perspective having good quality first aid cover means taking care of people and reducing the chance of an injury becoming severe. If this were not the case, a first aid incident could escalate, or someone was seriously injured or killed. In this case, your approach to first aid provision will likely be called into question, and if you haven’t followed the right guidance could be open to prosecution or civil court cases.


How do I comply with the legal requirements?

Event Medical Risk Assessment

You should carry out a medical risk assessment of the build, event and takedown phases assessing things such as:

  • How many staff will be onsite at any one time?
  • What tasks will they be doing and are some more hazardous than others?
  • Are there any dangerous materials included (e.g. pyrotechnic chemicals)?
  • How many vehicles are needed onsite, and what type (e.g. cranes)?
  • How far away is the nearest hospital?
  • What is the nature of the event?
  • What is the nature of the venue?
  • What is the audience profile?
  • Any known history of the event (records of incidents)?
  • What is the expected attendance
  • What time of the year is the event taking place?
  • Are there any additional hazards (e.g. fire breathers)?
  • Do staff need to travel, work remotely or are lone workers?

Again, if you are unsure about how to undertake a medical risk assessment, you should seek help from a competent safety consultant. Risk assessments should be carried out by competent individuals to ensure they cover all possible hazards.

Undertaking suitable training allows you to become competent in undertaking a medical risk assessment; there are lots of options available in the UK, see our resources page for further information.

Event Medical Plan

You need to write a specific medical plan for your event that includes all of the information around your event medical provision based on the risk assessment you have written. For larger or high-risk events (e.g. motorsport) this may warrant being a separate document. In the case of smaller events, you may include it as part of an overall event safety management plan document.

This medical plan should include elements such as:

  • Medical Risk Assessment
  • Level of medical provision to be present (all various stages)
  • Who is providing the medical provision?
  • Location of the nearest accident and emergency hospital
  • A suitable system for recording incidents and any treatments given (including RIDDOR)
  • Emergency Plan
  • Major incident procedure
  • Communication Plan
  • What mobile response do you have on site?

Other resources

There are some useful sources of information and help available when planning medical provision at events, some of which are listed below for further reading.

The Purple Guide – Safety at Outdoor Events

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds 6th Edition

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981. Guidance on Regulation

How early should you start promoting an event?

Timing is a question that I get asked all the time from my University students. The honest answer is it depends on the type of events that you are promoting. I have over 20 years’ experience in marketing events, so I have a lot of experience to share, both good and bad!

In this post, we’re going to explore time scales needed to promote a variety of the most popular types of event, focusing on local, regional, national and even international.

When promoting events, you should leave a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks; this will allow your audience enough time to learn about your event and decide about attending.

How much time do I need to promote an event?

Knowing what is the correct amount of time to promote your event can be the difference between success and failure. If you leave too little time, people will not have the chance to discover your event or worse, forget about it! Too much time and you may find that you waste valuable expenditure on marketing materials or adverts.

Understanding who your audience is and the type of event is key to this process. Not only will the event-type dictate how long it will need to promote, but you also need to consider your audience. Consider what the audience buying behaviour is for the type of event that you plan to promote.

For example, large music festivals will often put their tickets on sale shortly after the previous year’s event.  They know people have just enjoyed the experience and will be keen to relive that the following year.

In contrast, smaller events such as local music night may only need 6 to 8 weeks for marketing. This audience rarely make an informed decision about attending until the week or even the day of the event.

This concept is perhaps better understood by considering the scale of the events in terms of local, regional, national or even international. Primarily, the larger the event, the longer the amount of time needed to promote it.

Now clearly some international events such as the Olympics promote themselves. There is very little active promotion may be needed to sell tickets as demand is so high. However, they will still need to consider a brand and marketing communication plan years in advance.

Launch your event.

Now there is a difference between launching the event to the public and actively promoting the event. As soon as you’re able to confirm the date for your event, you can announce it with a “hold the data” date teaser and website.

Launching puts the notice out there for those who may be interested. This tactic works particularly well for annual events where people come regularly, and the event manager has an email database.

One top tip here is to add an email address subscription tool to your website for people to sign to notifications. Email lists are a far more powerful way to promote any event than using social media. Start making an email database as soon as you launch the event date so people can sign up for more information.

Remember that first impressions count! You should ensure that all of your branding and website is complete before you launch the event. You can’t go back and undo any poor representation of your event afterwards.

Launching puts your event onto the attendee’s radar which starts to help build a buzz around the event in anticipation of tickets going on sale and your active promotion.

After you have announced the date, then you can continue to plan the event without actively promoting it, that will come at a later phase. Let’s look at the different sizes of an event to understand the ballpark times when you should consider starting your active promotion.

Ramping up your promotion

When you start the process of ramping up to be actively promoting your event, timing is everything.

Local Events

Local events are those that attract anywhere between 50 to 500 people and more often than not happen regularly week to week or month to month. Local events can often be the hardest to promote as you may have a small target audience but also more commonly quite a tiny marketing budget.

For this reason, you must pick the right time to start actively promoting your event. You don’t want to start promoting too early, and then people forget about the event. Vice versa you don’t want to leave it until the week before as you may find you can’t reach out to enough people in time.

Typically local events should allow between six and eight weeks to promote actively. That is not to say that if you have an annual local event, you cannot put out some light marketing information up to a year in advance. For example, you are asking people to hold the date for a particular local music festival. This is true if you know the date for next year.

You will actively start to promote the event eight weeks before to get people interested in buying tickets.

Regional Events

Regional events typically are those that ranked between 500 to 10,000 people and will usually only take place once or twice a year. With this number of people, the amount of time to promote the event is between 6 and 9 months.

Again these numbers allow for a launch date before you actively start promoting the event. Again, it would help if you considered who your target audience is. Is your audience the kind of people who like to buy tickets early or perhaps your event as an artist that will cause people to buy tickets on the day they go on sale.

If it is, great but unfortunately, not all events can be this lucky and will need to give serious strategic thought as to when to begin actively promoting the event.

National Events

National events will almost certainly have a promotional timeline of a year or more, again depending on the type of events and the target audience.

National events are typically those that take place once a year such as major festivals, sporting events or exhibitions. Again as with the previous two types of events comment a launch date holding a date is fine. Still, in this case, active promotion usually starts at that point as well.

These types of events will often put tickets on sale immediately after the previous year’s event as they try to ride the wave of good feeling from those that attended.

The type of marketing channels (e.g. TV or radio) that a national event may use may also have much longer lead times.  Again, a careful and strategic marketing communications plan should be created to divide up how the year’s budget will be spent.

International Events

International events will often promote themselves, and an excellent example of this is the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup. Such is the popularity of these events that they require very little promotion. They will be promoted up to four years in advance depending on their cycle.

They are so popular they often sell themselves especially, and demand will be quite high when tickets go on sale.

Events at this level will have marketing and branding budgets in the millions of dollars range and a serious and strategic marketing plan we required.

Conclusion

So to summarise the key takeaways from this post are that you need to understand the size of your event; who’s coming to your event and when they will buy tickets for your event. From here, you can start to develop a marketing communication plan based on the time frame as described above. Hopefully, you’ll have a successful event. Best of luck

How do I start a festival in my town? A 6-step guide

Festival town and city

Running a festival can be a dream for many people. Others view festivals as a vital part of the social construct of any town, building social connections through society. Festivals can add social value but also have the potential to attract visitors from outside, thus helping to boost the local economy. This inevitably leads people to ask how they start a festival.


There are several ways you can start a festival, it will largely depend on the type and size of event. Here are six steps to starting your own festival in your town.

  1. Ask why are you running the festival?
  2. Set some aims and objectives for the festival.
  3. Work out who the key stakeholders are.
  4. Develop an income and expenditure plan for the festival.
  5. Plan and market the festival.
  6. Deliver the festival.

Now let’s look at each of these six steps in detail to understand better the answer we’ve just give above and help to direct you further.

1 – WHY are you running the festival?

Sound like a simple question, right? Very often, people need to first sit down and understand why they want to run the event and what purpose will it serve. This is a fundamental decision that needs to be taken and understood so that you don’t get too far down the road of planning the festival before you realise it won’t work. 

Many festivals fail to get off the ground as the organiser’s motivations were not compatible with the concept or idea of the festival.

Think about the benefits that attendees will get from the festival. Are you going for purely economic (profit) benefits, or will your festival have social and environmental objectives? 

These form what is known as the triple bottom line. In theory, your festival should balance its objectives to be sustainable into the future. Note that in this context, sustainable doesn’t just apply to the environmental aspect, but all three elements need to be balanced.

2 – Set some objectives for the festival

When writing your objectives, set out exactly what you want to achieve by the end of the festival. These could be economic, social, environmental or a mix of all three. Here are some examples of each

Economic 

  • A certain number of tickets sold
  • A certain amount of sponsorship income
  • Sticking to your budget

Social

  • Attract a certain number of people from a particular community or background
  • Have people learn new skills or make new connections
  • Use a certain number of volunteers from the local community

Environmental

  • To reduce the number of CO2 miles people use to travel to your festival
  • To promote the use of sustainable cutlery at all of the catering outlets
  • To recycle a certain amount of waste from the festival 

When writing your objectives, you should also try to make them SMART. Doing this ensures you can demonstrate success after the festival has finished.  

This can be an import activity for some of your key stakeholders. In some cases, your festival may be dependent on external funding such as grants, so being able to demonstrate your successes could be key.

SMART objectives have five different elements to them:

  • SPECIFIC
  • MEASURABLE
  • ACHIEVABLE
  • REALISTIC
  • TIME-BOUND

You can find a full guide to writing SMART objectives here

3 – Work out who your key stakeholders are

Stakeholders are people or organisations who have the POWER to influence your festival, or who are impacted by your festival. 

It may not be a term that you are overly familiar with, but you should give some real thought to understanding who the stakeholders are. This can be key to the success of any festival as you will have to manage them throughout the planning and delivery process. 

In the first instance, think about all the people who have the POWER or influence for your festival taking place. Make a list of these people and consider whether or not their motivations will be positive or negative. 

For example, consider the local government organisation, they may likely be the landowner, and you will need to seek permission to host your festival there. Local governments may be sceptical of a new festival promoter, and so you’ll need to build and manage the relationship with them to ensure the success of the festival.

Secondly, make a list of people who are IMPACTED by the festival taking place. Again consider if the impact will be positive or negative on them. If you are hosting a music-related festival, then consider the effect of the music festival on the local residents in terms of noise. 

If not managed correctly, this could lead to complaints and ultimately jeopardise any future running of the festival.

Another critical stakeholder to consider will be the people attending the event. Your marketing plan should be heavily based on the audience profile.

For further reading, there are several models that you can follow to analyse stakeholders. One of the more popular ones is Mendalows Matrix, and there is a useful link here for further reading.

4 – Develop an income and expenditure plan for the festival

One of the most important things you can do to make a successful festival is to ensure that you have a clear income and expenditure plan. Failing to understand and clarify both of these can lead to disaster. Income and expenditure usually form the budget plan for the festival overall. 

Income

You should make a list of where you think income will come from to fund the festival. While traditional income may be from tickets, there are other possible avenues of income that you could explore. Some of these include:

  • Sponsorship of the festival
  • Advertising on your website or at the festival.
  • Grants 
  • Catering pitches
  • Government funding
  • Premium revenue streams (e.g. VIP Packages)
  • Merchandise
  • Broadcast rights

Expenditure

Once you have your income established, really important that you determine what the costs of your festival are going to be. Again a large part of this will be dependent on how big your event is and the environment in which it takes place.

Specific environments such as greenfield sites will require more infrastructure costs such as power, water and waste management than if you placed the festival in an urban environment with established infrastructure.

Again you should start by writing a list of all the costs you can think of and get some quotes from suppliers. You might be surprised as to how much things like toilets, fencing and security actually cost. And these are all the things you need to run the event even before you thought about your entertainment!

The entertainment or activity costs will be a significant reason why people come to the festival. Managing the cost of these against the expectation of your audience will be absolutely critical.

5 – Plan the festival

Planning an event like a festival will take many months and should be treated like a large project. It will require you to keep control of the project as it progresses. As a festival manager, you are responsible for managing all of the elements. Including, stakeholders, the budget and all of the experience that will be delivered at the festival.

Many festivals start planning up to a year in advance. An excellent way to manage this process is to use a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets). Create one with a list of all the tasks, and then this can be used as the project plan 

6 – Promote the festival

The final and sixth part of this process is to market and promote the festival. Earlier target audience was identified as one of the critical stakeholders for any festival. The marketing plan should be tailored to these stakeholders.

The reason for this is so that all marketing activity is highly targeted and effective. For example, if you know your audience are heavy users of Instagram, then this should be the social media platform where you put most of your efforts. 

If you have an audience which is slightly older and uses digital marketing channels less, then you may want to consider more local offline channels such as radio and newspapers.

Having a plan mapped out for your marketing will ensure that you have a coordinated approach that reaches that target audience promptly.

What is Event Insurance?

Event Insurance

Having worked in and around events for the last 20 years, I understand the importance of having different kinds of events insurance to cover you for possible eventualities. Let me tell you; even with the best planning, things can go wrong and often they do!

This information covers the UK events industry, so while similarities exist with other countries, you should carry out due diligence for the region where your event operates. 

What is Event Insurance?

Event insurance covers things that go wrong with your event or operations, causing accidental loss or damage to persons and property, for example. The main types of event insurance that an event organiser will need to consider are: 

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Employee Liability Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Event Cancellation Insurance

There are specific event insurances that can also be purchased. For example: 

  • Christmas Lights Insurance
  • Street Parties Insurance
  • Exhibitions Insurance
  • Conference Insurance
  • Sports Event Insurances
  • Stallholders Insurance
  • Wedding Insurance
  • Catering Insurance
  • Festivals Insurance
  • Firework Insurance

Claims services have notoriety (certainly in the UK) for an aggressively marketing their “where there is blame, there’s a claim” services. For this reason, it makes sense to ensure you have sufficient cover for all eventualities. 

There is a multitude of insurance companies offering insurance packages for events. These packages will likely have options for different types of insurance. So you need to understand what these types are and why they might be necessary for your event. 

Let’s look at the main types of insurance most events will need to include.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability Insurance is not a legal requirement for UK events. Still, it covers the policyholder for things like:

  • accidental damage to property,
  • accidental loss of property,
  • accidental bodily injury,
  • accidental injury or death, 

… concerning members of the public attending your event, your client or other customers. 

Without this in place, the event organiser would find themselves liable for the costs incurred through any claim. Costs could turn out to rise very quickly with various legal and medical bills, so it is something to consider seriously. 

If any incident occurs at your event, this type of insurance covers your legal liability to pay for damages incurred. A typical example at events is people claiming for trips on uneven surfaces such as cables or uneven floors. 

If your event is taking place on a publicly owned site, such as a town square or park, then the local Government (as the landowner) may insist on you holding Public Liability Insurance.

Public Liability Insurance can be included to most event insurance policies, and you will need to determine what level you required. Competent insurance or financial advisors will be able to talk you through this. It can range from £1million to £20million depending on:

  • the size of your event
  • the nature of the event or activity
  • the number of people attending. 

Employee Liability Insurance

In most circumstances, Employee Liability Insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, and it covers the cost of compensation claims due to employee injuries or work-related illness. 

Employer Liability insurance will cover any costs of settling and defending claims that employees bring against you. For example; compensation payouts and legal fees if a court is involved. 

In the UK, the Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 makes it a legal requirement to have a minimum cover of at least £5million. 

There are some exceptions to this, such as small businesses who employ close family members, however again it is best to practise to have it in place. 

From an employee perspective, it can be reassuring to know their employer takes safety seriously and has protections in place for when accidents happen. 

You should also consider how you are complying with Health and Safety legislation as this may invalidation any Employee Liability Insurance policy. 

As is common in the events industry, a policy must be in place to cover temporary, part-time or seasonal staff. This legal requirement also extends to volunteers who will be working at your event. 

If you are the sole employee of your business, like a freelancer, there isn’t a legal requirement to have Employers Liability Insurance in place. Still, some clients or customers you work for may request you have it. 

If you fail to have Employee Indemnity Insurance in place, you could incur a fine of £2,500 a day until you arrange the correct cover. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance 

Professional Indemnity Insurance or PI protects your business if a customer or client alleges that there are mistakes in your work. While you operate with no intention of doing so, mistakes can still happen, and you need to consider how to protect your business in these situations. 

PI covers legal costs and other expense that are involved in defending you against any claim brought from the customer of the client. They may allege that you have given inadequate advice, services or designs that cost them money. 

Without PI insurance, you could be liable for thousands of pounds of legal costs and compensation payments. You may also lose income from the time you have to spend defending any claim.

You should consider PI if:

  • You provide professional services or advice (e.g. You work as a safety freelancer for various events).
  • You provide designs to your client (e.g. you design site plans for events).
  • You work as a contractor, consultant, or are self-employed, and your client requests it as part of any contract.

How much does PI cost? It can depend on several factors, including the amount and range of work you undertake. Insurance policies can start from just a few pounds per month, so it is worth considering to make sure you have the peace of mind in place. 

Event Cancellation Insurance

You’ve spent a year planning your event only for something out of your control to happen at the last minute, forcing you to cancel. Cancelling is every event managers worst nightmare and can be extremely costly to your event business and reputation. 

Event Cancellation insurance will cover irrecoverable costs and expenses that you incur through having to cancel your event. They compensate you for any financial loss for:

  • cancellation of your event
  • disruption of your event
  • postponement of your event
  • relocation of your event

…beyond your control. So it needs to be something that you had no role in controlling!

Event Cancellation insurance covers cancellations for things like:

  • Terrorism
  • National mourning
  • Adverse weather
  • Transport disruption
  • Industrial disputes like strikes
  • Non-attendance by guests or performers
  • Ongoing or delayed building work
  • Personal bereavement

NOTE: During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, many insurance providers took the stance that their event cancellation insurance policies did not cover contagious diseases. As the majority of events were cancelled during this time, organisers were left to cover the cost of their cancellation. Looking ahead, it may be worth asking your insurance provider if your policy covers cancellation specifically for contagious diseases.

When Should I buy Event Insurance?

Keep in mind that you should make event insurances one of the first things you buy when you start planning your event or committing funds towards the cost. There may be restrictions on how close to the event any insurer will allow you to purchase it so not worth delaying on. 

Further Infomation:

Here are some event insurance providers based in the UK who you can speak to about a quote for insuring your next event: 

What equipment is needed to start an event planning business?

Equipment for event planning

Are you thinking about setting up your own event business? Looking to find out what equipment you’ll need? keep reading!

Are you want to escape the daily grind of your commute, or you feel trapped in a corporate environment that isn’t meeting your creative needs?

Maybe you already involved with the events industry in some way, and you have ambitions to go it alone as a freelancer. Working as an event freelancer is diverse as no two days are the same. You can also enjoy a more flexible work-life balance be choosing when to work.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. These help keep this site running!

Introduction

I’ve been working as an event freelancer for nearly a decade following a ten-year career working in music venues. I have experience of working inside an event organisation but also setting myself up independently to work for others as a freelancer.

So what equipment do you need to be able to work as a freelancer in the events industry? This post is going to explore some of the necessary equipment options that you need to set yourself up in business to plan and deliver events.

It will also mention some of the service-based items you might want to consider when working as a freelance event manager. These will be non-physical items or services that you need to consider.

What does a freelance event manager do?

What does an event manager do?

A freelance event manager plans events, usually working from home in a home office and for different clients for varying times and on various contracts depending on the particular sector of the events industry.

Some people might think of the glamourous side of events and being on-site dealing with VIPs and artistes, for example. However, the reality is, most of the hard work takes place in the weeks and months in advance, checking every part of the plan.

This hard work means days spent at a computer doing administrative tasks like checking paperwork, booking suppliers, signing off marking and many other different duties. Having the right equipment and services at your disposal will certainly help this process!

Here is my take on what equipment you need to think about, this list includes both physical items and services like software:


Equipment and services in the office:

So lets five in and talk about some of the key items you might need to start an event business. Some of these will be more relevent that others depending on which sector of the industry you are working in.

Laptop with a large monitor

You can use a desktop computer (i.e. traditional PC) for any office work. Still, in my experience, if you are going to spend money on buying new equipment, then you’re better off buying a laptop. A laptop gives you mobility for when you need to work on-site at an event but also the flexibility when you are working at home. A laptop computer can also be connected to a separate large monitor in your office. The larger screen helps when working on applications like spreadsheets or project plans, for example.

Depending on the sector that you work in, you might find that owning a tablet helps. It is only recently that tablets such as the iPad Pros have started to be able to match the power of laptops. I still prefer a tactile keyboard over touch screen for when I’m working on site.

Laptop and monitor

Backups / Cloud storage

You’ll need to consider how you plan to store and back up data at home. The need to have a back up your data can’t be understated enough. There were two options here, both of which have value and both you may want to consider. You could use an external hard drive or network-attached storage (NAS) device this purpose. Network-attached storage can also be accessed when working away from home.

Techraders Reviews:

Secondly, and in addition to having data storage at your home office, you may also want to consider using a cloud data storage service. The benefits of this are that you can access the data wherever you are.

Some of the major companies you might want to consider are Dropbox, Google Drive and Onedrive. I have used Dropbox Business (link) for my freelance work for nearly a decade without any issues.

Cloud drives for events

I have occasionally fallen foul of not having data while on-site at an event; therefore, my laptop is unable to sync or access my cloud storage. Some providers (like Dropbox) allow a saved local copy onto your PC. One possible solution to this is a mobile WiFi hotspot, but again will this will be dependent on signal strength where you are working.

Multifunctional Laser printer

Ok, so a multifunctional laser printer is not the jazziest bits of equipment that you will ever buy, but having one in your home office is invaluable. You will need to print large volumes of materials such as handouts, access permits, stage passes, project plans and many more.

In my experience, a laser printer is preferable to an inkjet printer. The latter is excellent for personal use, but the cartridges are expensive, and this cost soon adds up if you are printing large quantities.

The multifunctions allow you to scan important documents and save them to your NAS or cloud storage which ensures you keep all of your paperwork in order!

Internet Connection

To communicate with clients and customers, you are are going to need a fast and reliable internet connection, both at home and on-site at events. Depending on where you live, you may have access to high-speed internet through a telephone line (less common in rural areas in the UK!).

You’ll want to ensure you have the fastest speed possible for when you are handling large files like photograph or video. This speed is becoming more and more critical as events use high definition video for promotional reasons.

Also, you may want to consider a mobile dongle or WiFi hotspot device that will allow you internet access when not at home. An alternative to this would be to use the tether option on your smartphone. In both of these cases, you should consider using unlimited data plans to prevent costly data charges when you need access the most.

Shredder

Again not a jazzy piece of equipment but having a shredder in the office makes disposing of sensitive information easier. In the world of heightened data protection laws such as GDPR, this is only one step. You should consider also employing third party services who will dispose of any sensitive waste in a safe uncertified way. The protection of client data is critical to your continued success.

Desk and chair

If you’re working from home, then you’ll need to invest in a suitable desk and comfortable office chair. Employers assess their employees through display screen equipment regulations, and these should apply to freelancers as well.

I can tell you from experience that trying to work for 8 hours a day at your kitchen table on a hard seat is not sustainable!

Consider how big a desk you’ll need, taking into account the size of your computer laptop and computer screen plus any other equipment that you need.

In terms of an office chair, consider a chair that is adjustable both in height and back support to enable you to get into a comfortable position to work. Your back will thank you!

Business cards/Brochure

Even though we now live in a very digital world, I’ve yet to see a strong argument against printing business cards. I still come home from industry conferences armed with a bag full of them from other suppliers.

They are still an excellent means for building networks between people. Business cards can cost very little, and it’s worth having a supply of them with you at all times. You never know when an opportunity to build a connection will present itself.

If you work in some sectors of the event industry such as weddings, conferences and exhibitions, you will from time to time have to pitch for work. Having a physical brochure can still be a useful means to promote your previous work and testimonials.

Website

You will need to set up an excellent website to showcase your previous work and to provide a sales platform to gain new customers and clients.

Setting up a simple website doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be very complicated. There are hundreds of guides on the internet, (in particular on YouTube) for how to do this. From my experience, I’ve always used WordPress as a basis for my website. It is straightforward to pick up and generally hosting costs can be found cheaply as well. I currently use a company called Siteground to host this website. Click here to find out more about Siteground*.

Siteground

Equipment for on-site at your event

There will be a large amount of equipment that you’ll need to put any event on. Most of this you will hire in for individual events rather than buy it outright—things like fencing, portable toilets, linen etc.

There are a few items that you may want to consider purchasing that you will need and probably use at every event while on site so will serve you well for many years.

Powerbank

Powerbanks an invaluable piece of equipment for any event manager, you are always on the go running around the event, and you’ll need your phone with you at all times. Modern smartphones will only last around a day under regular use, and an event manager will use it frequently more. You will the power bank need to recharge and be mobile around the event.

Anemometer

What’s an Anemometer I hear you ask? Put simply it’s a little fan that measures wind speed. If you have any temporary structures such as marques or gazebo’s at your event, then you will need to be keeping an eye on how strong the wind is. And that’s where this little tool comes in.

Tape measure

Not the tape measure that you’ll use in any kind of DIY job but a good length tape measure of say, 20 metres. A good tape measure can be particularly useful on any site visits before the event then also helpful for setting up the event on the day.

Clipboard or folder

It does fit the cliche of an event planner to be walking around with a clipboard. Still, they are handy, and if you are managing a small event, you can keep all the information you need in there and have it to hand.

For more significant events, you may want to consider a plastic folder with plastic sleeves where you can easily access multiple important documents about your event.

Just don’t put it down and forget where you left it!

Gaffer tape

Also known as “duck tape” or “material tape”, this handy little item will get you out of many fixes. When I first started in the events industry someone once told me if you can’t fix it with gaffer tape then you haven’t used enough!

Conclusion

So setting up you’re of own event business is no easy task. Still, hopefully this article has helped you to understand some of the critical items and equipment that you need to make a success of your business. What do you think? Are you already an event freelancer and want to add something to this list let us know.

How are ticket prices determined?

Tickets

Determining ticket prices for your event can be a tricky business, but it can be the single thing you need to get right for your event to be a success. It can be the difference between someone deciding to attend your events or tonight and maybe go to competitors.

Event ticket prices can be determined using cost-based, competitor-based or value-based methods as part of the planning process for any event. Each of these methods has specific pros and cons.

I’ve priced 1,000s of events during the last 20 years working in venues, so I understand the fine line between getting it right and getting it wrong. This post intends to look at three ways in which events managers can price tickets for their events; cost-based, competitor-based and value-based.


Cost-based event ticket pricing

Cost-based event ticket pricing is perhaps the purest form of pricing and the one which people would automatically think about first. Essentially you calculate your costs and then decide what margin you wish to make a profit on top of those costs, and that is your ticket price.

That margin might be a 5%, 10% or 20% mark up, for example. Be careful to ensure you have taken into account both your fixed costs and variable costs in this process.

For example, let’s say you are planning to run a live music event. You know that your venue will cost $200, your bands cost $300, your marketing will cost $150, and you have staffing costs of $100. That is a total cost of $750 before any attendees have bought a ticket.

Let’s assume that your venue has a capacity of 200 people. Divide the total cost of $750 by 200 gives you a per-person cost of $3.75. Assuming you want to make a 20% profit on this event, you can either:

  • add the 20% to the total cost of $750, and divide again by 200 or,
  • add the 20% to the cost per person of $3.75.

Looking at the former, adding 20% to our total cost of $750 gives $900 and a profit of $150. If we divide that $900 by the 200 capacity of the venue then we arrive at a ticket price of $4.50.

This method does assume that you will sell 100% of your tickets to generate that profit. This strategy is high-risk, and from my time working in venues, I would advise basing ticket price on a break-even of 75% of capacity, not 100%.

Pros of Cost-based event ticket pricing

The significant advantage of this approach is that it is a simple and straight forward process. As long as you’re able to calculate your costs, it doesn’t require any research or analysis.
You add a percentage profit margin onto your cost calculations.
You’re also guaranteed to cover your expenses; therefore, you may feel there is a lower risk of running the event.

Cons of Cost-based event ticket pricing

  • While a cost-based approach might seem the simplest, there are some downsides. You don’t always know all of your costs; events can have hidden expenses on the day, which could ultimately impact on your profit.

  • You need to set your ticket prices at the start of your marketing process; if you find the marketing needs additional boosting (adding cost ) later on, this will impact on your final profit. This approach may work very well with businesses who produce physical products, but can be a challenge in the service industry such as events.

  • Customers have no idea how much it costs you to run the event, and they may not care. What they are bothered about is what value they represent to them.

Competitor-based event ticket pricing

Let’s consider how you might price your ticket based on competitors ticket prices. It would be best if you researched the local area to find events like yours or those that attract the same target audience. This research will give you a good idea of how much people will pay for a similar type of event or experience.

Once you’ve undertaken this research, you then have the choice of pricing at a similar level or attempting to undercut your competitors’ prices in the hope that this will sway an attendee to your event. You may decide to position yourself in the middle of the pack, so potential events attendees won’t feel that your event is too cheap or too expensive.

Pros of Competitor-based event ticket pricing

  • This approach will ensure that your event remains competitive against competitors. Pricing your event the same as your competitors will allow you to offer value in different ways and help set you apart from them.

  • This approach is simple, and a few hours spent researching your competitors will allow you to develop a rapid pricing strategy.

  • If your event is in a highly competitive market environment (such as a city) where there are plenty of alternatives, then the pricing of your event should be close to what the market can reasonably sustain.

Cons of Competitor-based event ticket pricing

  • The biggest downside to costing your tickets based on your competitors’ price is that you don’t have YOUR pricing strategy; you have their pricing strategy. It would help if you considered how your event offers something different to what is already available.

  • As with the approach for cost-based pricing strategy, your event attendees may not care about your competitors; they care about the value extracted from your event. If an attendee researches your event or visits your website is because they are interested in what you have to offer that is different from your competitors.


Value-based event ticket pricing

This approach is slightly different in that it uses market research of your target audience to dictate your pricing strategy. Value-based pricing means looking outwards at the people who are going to decide to buy a ticket for your event. The goal with this approach is to understand how much attendees are willing to pay to attend the event; this allows you to maximise your revenue and therefore, profit.

This market research of potential attendees should help you to understand how much value they would see in your event, and therefore you will gain an understanding of how much they’re willing to pay.

Pros of Value-based event ticket pricing

  • The first major pro of this approach is that you have an understanding of how much value an attendee season attending your event. You could argue that this is very similar to competitor-based pricing as if they will pay £200 for a competitors’ event, then they are likely to pay £200 for your event. However, it would help if you looked to vary your offer to be different from your competitors which may then allow you to charge a higher price given you are providing more value to the attendee.

  • Also, with this approach, you get to know your consumers well, which can be great at developing your event in the future. and

  • It allows you to focus on attendee needs and how your event can satisfy and provide value to them.

  • Finally, remember that pricing isn’t just about the number on the page; a value-based approach will help you to understand what your attendees want and how you can develop better events for them in the future, which can only be a good thing!

  • Over time you can use this information to create more value and therefore, revenue from all of your events without necessarily increasing the amounts of cost, meaning higher profits.

Cons of Value-based event ticket pricing

  • Of course, you can appreciate that this information comes at the cost of time and money. This process requires you to fully understand who your target audience profile is, including attendee buying power.

  • It is also challenging to be 100% reliable with such research if you only as a small group of people. Remember that a small sample of your audience base may not necessarily translate to every attendee interested. You will, however, get an approximation of what is the right price and package for your attendee.

Conclusion

So that is a short overview of three ways in which you can price your event. It is certainly not an easy process and can take some practice to find what works best for your events and your audience. Best of luck!

How to make your next event more successful: 10 tips

Event Sucess

Event managers are often perfectionists who need to think on their feet when faced with all manner of challenges that come up during the event planning process. But what are the key ingredients to making your next event more successful? This post has 10 ways you can improve the chances of success: 


1.    Understand your target audience

Knowing who your target audience is one of the most important things for any event manager. Having a good understanding of what your ideal attendee looks like allows you to design an experience that matches their needs. This, in turn, will give you better feedback, make your event more valuable to the attendees, and allow you to develop a more efficient marketing plan.

You should start by considering where you can find information out about your target market. There are several ways to do this. For music and art events, you could use a fantastic free resource called Audience Finder which has pre-defined target audience segments for the UK. If you run a music festival, cultural or arts event this should help you to identify down to the nearest postcode the size of your potential audience.


2.    Do your market research 

Market Research

On top of knowing who your target audience is you should do some wider market research into the local competitive environment and if your target audience will be motivated to attend your event. You need to understand if there is a demand for what you’re proposing. Doing good market research at this stage can prevent potential failure further down the line.

Look and see if there have been any other similar events recently which were successful, consider if there are any competitor events in the local area and use surveys with your target audience to gauge opinion on key elements such as artists, speakers, ticket price and food.


3.    Create a project plan and stick to it

It’s very important at the start of any project, particularly an event to map out a road to completion. In the events industry, there are an increasing number of project management tools available to help you to do this. Some are free and some cost money, look at what you need in terms of functionality.

If you’re just getting started one of the easiest ways to do this is to create a timeline on Google Sheets. Google Sheets is a great free piece of spreadsheet software that allows you to share your project plan with the team who are working on it.

Work through all the key elements and phases of planning your event like preplanning, focus groups, research, marketing, on-site production, the event, take down and then evaluation. Give an appropriate amount of time for each stage, get feedback from suppliers and communicate this to your team. Ensure that you check this plan regularly to make sure that you are up to date and on track.


4.    Make a budget and stick to it

Make sure that you set a budget at the start of the planning process to help prioritise your spending and to determine what can be realistically offered at the event. Doing this before setting your objectives means that they can be as effective as possible and you won’t risk setting unrealistic goals.

You should regularly review your budget and try to set it up in a way that allows you to monitor how much you’re spending either on a week-by-week basis or month-to-month. Keeping on top of the budget will help to ensure a more successful event.


5.    Set some SMART objectives

Setting some clear objectives before you start even planning your event is key. A great way to do this is to set your event some SMART objectives. If you’re not sure what SMART objectives are they stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Let looks at these in a little more detail:

Specific

Make sure that you’re being specific about what it is you’re achieving with an objective. Try to avoid vague language that would be difficult to understand or to quantify. Think about what you specifically want to achieve in the context of the event.

Measurable

Make sure that you give a measurable and quantifiable element to your objective. For example, this could mean saying that you want to reach 80% of your target audience with your marketing campaign.

Attainable

Make sure that this objective is something that you can achieve within the time and resources that you have available to complete it. To follow up on the last example a step further, perhaps 80% of your target audience is too high and a more realistic attainable figure would be 50%.  

Realistic

Very much in common with the previous attainable elements you should ensure that your objective is a realistic challenge for the time frame of delivery.

Time-based

Consider what time frame you’re looking to achieve this objective in. This could be a day, a week or longer.

Remember that all five of these elements come together in one objective.


6.    Give enough time for marketing the event

It’s often the case with some events that event managers do not allow enough time to promote the event to an audience. The amount of time that needed to promote an event will vary depending on the size of the event and the difficulty in reaching out to the target audience.

Consider at least four to six weeks for local small or medium events like workshops. For music and arts events this may be several months. For bigger or annual events, then maybe anything up to six months or beyond.

For an event that you will organise regularly, you’ll get a better feel for how long this process should be. Remember, a new event may take longer to promote the first time than in subsequent deliveries.

You should consider creating a marketing communications plan which will outline what you will attempt to undertake each day or week in your marketing. This might include thinking across various marketing channels such as newspapers, social media or other and amongst different target audience groups that you have. 

Some audience groups may be quicker to respond to certain types of marketing than others and to a large extent this can be trial and error and you should attempt to try and evaluate this with each event.


7.    Let your attendees help co-create the event

Co-creation in events is a relatively new concept but one that is gaining popularity. By allowing your attendees to help co-create your events, not only do you achieve an event that is more valuable to your audience, but your audience feels part of and feel ownership of the event.

This process goes beyond just engaging your attendees and must truly encourage collaboration and co-creation. You should try to create a space where people can interact and collaborate by harnessing their skills to help generate value for themselves and the event.


8.    Map out who your stakeholders are

Having a clear understanding of who your key stakeholders are is key. At the start of any event planning process put aside some time to map out a list of your stakeholders. Try to imagine anyone who has the power to help you deliver the event or who is influenced or impacted by the event. You should carefully work through this list of stakeholders and use a scoring system to evaluate who are the most important and can have the most influence on the successful delivery of your event.


9.    Evaluate, evaluate and evaluate!

It is quite common when concluding an event to want to start the pack down and get out as quickly as possible. One of the key things that you can do at the end of your event is to evaluate how the event was received by the attendees. This can be done in several ways either in person using tablets or afterwards with email or social networks. There are several creative methods that events can evaluate in quite a simple way. One great method to use as a benchmark for every event that you run is the Net Promoter Score. This simply asks if the attendee would recommend the event to a friend. 


10. Know what is going on!

This might sound like a fairly obvious suggestion, but you need to almost have a sixth sense as an event manager for what is happening in each area of your event at any given time. 

Sufficient planning in advance will help this but you need to be able to check that you have everything in place before the event and that you will have a good event team around you who understand their roles and who will highlight to you when they find problems. 

Another great tool for an event manager is having a backup plan. Consider in advance of the event what you would do if you didn’t sell enough tickets, if your headline artist didn’t arrive or if you had a safety emergency.  

How to organise a film screening

Film Screening

Film screenings are a great way to fill a quiet night in a venue, raise money for charity or even to launch your own event business. In this post I’ll look at some of the key things you need to think about.

Introduction

I have organised countless film screenings in the last 20 years and there is one piece of advice that I would always give to anybody looking to organise a film screening and that is the choice of the film and alignment to your target audience is key.

I have had free-entry film screenings where I’ve had audience members on the floor because it was so busy and others where I have allowed my own ego to pick the film but the room has been remarkably empty!

Compared to 20 years ago competition now exists from the likes of Netflix and Amazon along with other streaming services that are able to provide a wide range or films six months or even earlier after they’ve been in the cinema. It is not always possible to gain a license to show such films any earlier and you’ll need to consider properly licensing each screening.

A word of caution (here in the UK) you are NOT allowed to simply raid your home DVD collection and play a film of your choice to a group. We will get into the legalities of film screenings later in this post.

You may be hosting a film screening for a few reasons, such as:

  • Community Cinema in local libraries
  • Film societies in Universities
  • Film Festivals
  • Charity fundraisers
  • Pop-up events
  • Experiential cinema events

Who is your target audience

Film Screening Target Market

As with all events, starting off by considering who is your target audience is important. Doing enough market research at this stage can save you time and money further down the line and it will help to ensure that your event is a success. You should try to think about the kinds of people who would be attracted to the film or films you want to show.

For example not everybody will want to attend a film screening of an offbeat indie film, but a wider audience may want to attend the latest Hollywood blockbuster. This is not too say that that the indie film doesn’t have the potential for a great event (indeed whole film festivals are based on this!). What you must consider is who the audience is and how to reach them and how you will add value before, during, and after the film screening.

A great resource you might want to look at here in the UK is the ‘Audience Finder’ tool from The Audience Agency. It’s totally free to use and provides some great insight and pre-made target profiles within arts and entertainments in every post code across the UK.


What will be your added value?

As always providing value is key. In the world of online streaming video services where people can watch from the comfort of their homes, delivering a remarkable and memorable experience is key to the success of any film screening event.

There are some great examples of companies such as Secret Cinema making fantastic experiences out of films . No doubt the production cost of such experiences are huge, so you’ll have to balance this with what you feel that you’re able to charge in terms of ticket price if you go down this route. Be careful not to oversell the experience and then underdeliver on the actual event.

It may still be possible to pick out certain elements of the film and translate this into a live experience on the event. For example, organisations like Secret Cinema use actors as attendees are entering the screening who are in character from the film. This adds a completely different dimension to the experience of going to see a film. You are no longer simply a passenger but an active actor in that experience.

You should consider how this value can be delivered during three phases of the event delivery; before, during and after. Much of the before will be connected to your marketing and promotion for the film screening so try to think about how you can pick out elements of the film and deliver those as valuable touchpoints to your audience before they buy a ticket. Here are some of the ideas used by film screening companies to engage on a deeper level with their target audience:

Before

Think about the following touchpoints that an audience member is likely to experience in the build-up to buying a ticket and attending your film screening:

  • your website,
  • your social media,
  • your ticketing page,
  • your emails.

You should endeavour to deliver a consistent experience as customer through each.

During

During the screening you should think about touchpoints from the moment the customers arrive to the moment they leave and how you can take them on a journey that ties into the film. This doesn’t require huge amounts of money and try to be creative in the way that you bring the film alive on the evening!

I would advise consideration is given to how to serve food and drink during the film, what kind of seating is provided (note try not to use hard seats!) and the kind of service that they will receive from your staff or volunteers. Giving a good experience at this point helps to build your reputation especially if you’re considering future film screenings.

After

Depending on the film screening and the amount of time and money you have available, it may be worth attempting to do undertake some evaluation with your audience to enable you to get feedback on how to improve future events.

This doesn’t have to be an onerous task. You could send an email survey to all the people who bought tickets from you or you could simply look to do something creative at the end of the event.

One example I came across a few years ago was during a film screening for the film Seven (with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman). At the end of the event the organizers had somehow located large quantities of doll heads and each person was asked to place the head in one of 10 boxes. This is quite a creative use of what is a well-established evaluation tool known as The Net Promoter score. Essentially, they were asked to rate if they would recommend this film screening to a friend you can check out the theory behind this at this link.


Marketing

When considering how you’re proposing to promote the film screening you should always reference back to your target audience. This is key in understanding how to reach them and what will resonate with them to help build a desire to attend your event.

Consider which social media channels your target audience uses and how likely it is that any posts you add will be seen by them. Remember that the algorithms on social networks like Facebook are weighted heavily against organic natural posts. It may be worth giving some consideration to a small budget for paid advertisements on these networks.

Try to tap into any community groups local to where your film screening is taking place and if you’re choosing to use the event to fundraise consider tapping into any groups or mailing lists that your charity may have.

You may be undertaking the film screening as part of a University or College film society so be sure to communicate the information through any social media groups or email lists.

If you’re considering this as a business idea, with plans to run more film screenings in the future, you should consider starting an email list as this one of the most effective ways to sell event tickets.


Budget

Film Screening Tickets

The first thing you’ll need to consider with your budget is how much you need to pay for the screening of the film. In the UK there is a requirement under Copyright Law to ensure any film screenings for entertainment purposes require a license.

Luckily there are organisations that license film screenings. One such organization in the UK is a company called Filmbank Media. They license film screenings in several ways. If you are simply showing one screening, then you can buy something called a Single Title Screening License or STSL. This allows you to show the film to an audience once. Within the STSL there are non-commercial screenings and commercial screening options.

Non-commercial screenings are those where the audience attends for free and you pay a fixed fee from £83 pounds for indoor screenings or from £139 pounds for outdoor screenings.

Commercial screenings allow you to charge the audience a ticket price but the difference here is that you are required to pay a percentage of your box office takings if they are greater than the non-commercial fees.

For an indoor screening you will be required to pay from £83 or 35% of your box office (whichever is greater) and for outdoor screenings from £139 pounds or 40% of your box office takings (whichever is greater). These prices are illustrative of the price you could pay and the fees increase with the venue capacity. (prices are correct as of April 2020)

You can find further information on the Filmbank Media website.

The choice to pursue the non-commercial or commercial routes is therefore dictated by whether you feel you need to charge for entry to the film. You may consider that you can make up the revenue through other avenues at the screening such as selling snacks or drinks or by offering additional experiences that tie into the film. These are fine as long as entry to the venue is free.

You will also need to consider costs such as venue hire, staffing (before and during the event), the cost of any marketing materials or advertising, any website hosting fees or design, and any theming you wish to include with the venue.


Picking a venue or location

External Cinema

The choice of venue or location will play a huge part in the experience you deliver. As I mentioned earlier you should consider how the audience will watch the film. You will need a large screen and projector along with a suitable sound system for the size of venue you have chosen.

Many smaller independent cinemas allow you to hire out their screens. This may be the easiest solution if you are looking to host a charity film screening that will fundraise but if you are considering a more in-depth experience then you might want to consider a more bespoke venue.

The previous example of the Seven film screening that I mentioned was actually screened in a disused retail outlet and careful thought was given to the ambiance, lighting and decoration to match the dark nature of the film.

If you’re considering screening the film outside, then you may want to consider using specialist audio visual company to provide the screen projector and sound. You will also need to consider other infrastructure that is needed such as seating fencing and lighting. you should also check if any additional licenses or permits are required wherever you are planning to host the event.

In the UK a Premises Licence is required only if you aim to generate a profit from the tickets being sold. Please check the Licensing Act 2003 for more information.

You should make sure that your venue or location is completely accessible to all people who would want to attend your event. This may also include:

  • Subtitles or sign interpreters,
  • ensuring people are aware of any flashing lights used in the film,
  • preferential seating for those who are partially sighted,
  • ensuring the venue has wheelchair access.

Other paperwork to consider

As with most events you should consider any other paperwork such as insurance and safety documents (such as a site plan) as key elements of your event plan. Check with your venue for any procedures to do with fire safety they may have and what your role would be in any emergency such as an evacuation. It’s very important to work with the venue if you are planning to include props and theming to ensure this doesn’t become additional hazards during the event.

Best of luck with your film screening!


Some other great resources:

UK Film Screening licenses: https://www.filmbankmedia.com/licences/stsl/stsl-pricing-options/

Making film screenings accessible for communities: http://cinemaforall.org.uk/

14 Festival Sponsorship Ideas

Event Sponsorship

Sponsors can add an important revenue stream to your festival that helps to keep it open year after year so this article looks at some of the ways you could increase potential opportunities for your event.

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that sponsorship doesn’t fit all festivals and events and you should carefully consider how it might impact or be perceived by all of your stakeholders.

Be sure to provide a website or pdf document that has all of your sponsorship offers and information about your event such as footfall, ticket sales, media coverage, number of programmes or any other economic data that you may have. Sponsors will use this to help make a decision about partnering with you.

Try to see this from the sponsors perspective. What value will they get for their business from partnering with you. Sometimes that is exposure, production distribution or customer information.

Yes, there are the usual sponsorship of marketing materials and programmes, which are all very important. But in this post, we wanted to look at some different ways you could offer sponsorship opportunities at your next festival or event. Also remember that not all sponsorships involve the transfer of money. Some arrangements can be “quid pro quo” if the agreement offers value for both sides.


Festival Sponsorship idea #1 – Patreon

So this is a quirky idea and not strictly sponsorship (certainly in the traditional sense) but Patreon does allow for creators of festivals to offer tiered support prices. If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it is an online service where members give money to support projects that they feel connected to.

If you already have a community for your festival or event this might be a route for you to tap into some of the goodwill that you have built up to enable future funding for your event.

Patreon works by allowing you to set different levels that people contribute to. This can be as little as a few pounds per month upwards and for every tier you offer something in return. Contributors generally sign up to give a certain amount on a monthly basis.

Those contributors then receive something in return, which could be as little as a thank you through to a ticket for your event, a festival t-shirt or right up to something like VIP access to the artists who are performing.

There is a fee for using the service, but this avenue may be really useful for smaller, cultural, arts or community events that have largely social outcomes where you can tap into the goodwill of your local community. For example the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) has four tiers that allows supporters to help fund/sponsor the Festival.


Festival Sponsorship idea #2 – App Sponsorship

Many festivals now produce their own apps for smartphones that allow attendees to navigate and customise their experience. Perhaps you already have one and can offer this. If you don’t already have an app, it can give a valuable opportunity to connect with your audience before and during the event.

Using an app, festival experiences can be customised and live feedback captured in real time. For any potential sponsor, access like this to your audience is hugely valuable, enough to perhaps contribute towards the cost of producing the app. Apps like Eventee offer the ability to monitor and manage all of the information.

Consider approaching local technology firms who specialise in producing apps to see if they would consider partnering with you. This may lead to them producing the app for a discounted price or for free in exchange for sponsorship.

You should prioritise the privacy of users on the app and limited the amount of data that you collect to only what you need. This should be as transparent as possible to ensure you have the confidence of the attendees who will use the app as any data breach could damage the reputation of your event and any future sponsorship partnerships.


Festival Sponsorship idea #3 – Sponsored Live Stream

This idea will largely depend on if you can identify elements of your event that can be broadcast. Music and performances are great as they tend to be continuous throughout the event. Don’t discount demonstrations, live circus or talks as well.

While the concept of live steaming your event on Youtube or Facebook Live may seem daunting, there are companies that can help with the technology and this medium offers the ideal opportunity to add some value to any potential sponsor.

Live streaming has the power to reach a much wider audience than just those who attend your event in person, plus there is a huge opportunity for the footage to be reused and reshared on social media. All of this provide potentially huge value for a sponsor.


Festival Sponsorship idea #4: – Fitness and Wellness Sessions

Ok, ok it might not be the first thing that come to mind where you’re at a music festival but there are certainly many events and festivals that might lend themselves towards some “get up and go” fitness activities. There are some great examples of fitness and wellness festivals appearing in the United Kingdom such as the Wilderness Festival, The Big Retreat or Soul Circus.

Any festivals that celebrate food, nutrition or sport could offer sponsorship opportunities to sports clubs, gyms or salient food and nutritional products.

Even if your festival doesn’t fit into any of these categories, running wellness sessions could still add value for your attendees. The Love Fit Festival in Kent combines partying, fitness and well-being!


Festival Sponsorship idea #5: – Sponsored Phone charging stations

You need and want your attendees to interact with you, so keeping their phones topped up with power is a top priority. There are numerous companies who can supply phone charging lockers and potential activation points through vinyl wraps.

Offering this to a sponsor will be of value as there is likely to be a higher dwell time and so more opportunities for the sponsor to interact with you attendees.

Also consider an option that allows your attendees to book a takeaway charger (power bank) so they won’t miss any of the action if their phone run low on power. Companies like Charged Up offer apps that allow your attendees to locate and self-manage access to power banks

Check out some of these companies offering charging facilities for Festivals and outdoor events: Charge Candy, ChargedUp and ChargeBox


Festival Sponsorship idea #6: – Sponsored ‘play area’

While your attendees may spend a lot of time online at your event sharing their experiences, what about creating an offline play zone with classic or large games like chess, Scalextric or Jenga to them some respite from the online world.

There are numerous companies who are able to supply these games and you could consider placing a sponsor’s brand on some of the game pieces, which will then make it into people’s social timelines through photos?

Taking this idea a step further you could have a sponsored leader board for specific games like Batak or a cash cube for some more competitive fun!

Check out some of these companies offering charging facilities for Festivals and outdoor events: ES Promotions, Novel Events and Garden Games Hire


Festival Sponsorship idea #7 – Free Wifi

Providing strong public WiFi is often a challenge when you have a high number of simultaneous users and you can expect to pay a high cost to install a temporary WiFi system. Being able to offer free WIFI to your end users would be a higher valued asset for you and a potential sponsor, particularly if you have a bespoke app for attendees that needs a good data connection to function.

Very often the system will allow any registration page to be branded to your event and sponsor. If you have an event with high footfall, this opportunity could be very lucrative.

Check out some of these companies offering charging facilities for Festivals and outdoor events: Noba Event Wifi, Simpli-Fi and Event Wifi.


Festival Sponsorship idea #8: – Sponsored craft area

This idea taps into your attendees’s craftiness! They are highly likely to share their creation on their social network of choice so consider how any potential sponsor could add and derive value from this.

This could take the form of the sponsor providing something that the attendees must then decorate or providing a photo frame for that final completed shot. With a move to more sustainability there could be numerous opportunities for attendees to use upcycling as part of this activity. Try to avoid using cheap decorative materials that contain micro plastics such as glitter.


Festival Sponsorship idea #9 – Naming Rights

If it suits the objectives of your event, then consider offering some sort of naming sponsorship deal. If you have highly social outcomes or objectives it may not be appropriate to use this. If you have a more commercial focus, then it may be appropriate.

The amount you can charge will largely depend on the number of people attending, the profile of any acts and your social media reach.

You should also consider how salient the brand is with your event. You’ll want to avoid upsetting regular attendees or stakeholder of the event by bringing in a sponsor who is seen to be a competitor to other trades appearing at your event. For example, imagine brining in a supermarket to sponsor an independent food festival, obvious right?


Festival Sponsorship idea #10 – Artist announcements

Most festivals will at some point announce their line-up. Most of these announcements will take place on social media and often will garner quite a lot of interest particularly if you have an event that has been running for a number of years.

With this in mind consider if you integrate a sponsor’s logo or information into an artist announcement. This would work particularly well if you breakdown the announcement over several days or weeks therefore lengthening the opportunity for the sponsorship.


Festival Sponsorship idea #11: – Sponsored Photobooths

Photobooths are a very popular addition to many events in recent times, people seem to love dressing up and posing! Clearly you need to consider if it is appropriate to have a photo booth at your event but they’re great for bringing people together in a fun way and the photobooths themselves can be branded for your events and include any sponsors logo or information.

Photobooths usually have the option of either printing the photos or allowing users to post the photos directly onto their social media timeline. If the latter is true, this offers an opportunity for sponsorship to reach wider beyond your event as users share humorous content on their own timelines.


Festival Sponsorship idea #12: – Swag bags

Swag bags a great way to add value to your event attendees either as they arrive or leave your event. Sponsors could either contribute towards the cost of producing the bags which can be branded with their logo or they could contribute towards the contents of the bag.

One of the great things about this idea is that it has a guaranteed reach as everybody entering or leaving your events can be given a swag bag. People will typically then look at the contents in detail at a later time ensuring that the sponsors brand or product is directly viewed by them.


What to charge for Festival Sponsorship

It is possible to undervalue your sponsorship assets. Getting the pricing right of your sponsorship takes time and research to ensure that you are charging the correct rate for your event but also the correct rate that the sponsor is happy to pay and feels value. This last point should always be in your mind when considering your rate card. You should undertake market research for at least three competitor events to see and understand how and what they are charging for their sponsorship. You should do this methodically and then consider how this looks from the sponsors perspective. Remember that sponsorship is a business investment for them and they will want to see tangible outcomes and value before they’ll even consider meeting with you for less commit to sponsoring your event.