What Are The Legal Requirements For Festivals?

If you’re asking this question, I’m going to guess that you have serious interest in running or promoting a festival. After 20 years in the events industry, we’ve had to deal with almost every type of legal requirement. 

But what type of festival and what are the legal requirements? In this short post, we explain which legislation you need to know about when planning your event.

The legal requirements for festivals vary. It depends on the type and the activities taking place as well as the country. Broadly legal requirements will fit into the following categories:

  • Licensing Law
  • Food & Hygiene Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Health and Safety Law
  • Copyright Law

For best practise, you should carry out due diligence for the legal requirements in the country or state that your festival operates. If you are unsure, then seek professional help or guidance from an expert in one of those fields.  The following pieces of legislation will apply to most festivals in the UK.

Licensing Law for Festivals

Licensing covers things like the sale of alcohol, public entertainment and late-night refreshment. All critical ingredients for most festivals so an important first consideration.

Within the UK, there are devolved government arrangements for Scotland and Northern Ireland licensing, so the requirements are slightly different to England and Wales.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, the primary piece of legislation is the Licensing Act 2003. There are two main components to this licencing law that you’ll need to understand before putting any festival on. The first component is a personal licence, and the second component is a premises licence. 

As the name suggests, a personal licence is held by an individual. That licence stays with them.

To gain a personal licence, you must undertake the relevant qualification then apply for the personal licence via a Local Authority Licensing department. A disclosure of conviction must also be submitted. Find out more on the UK Government website here

The current qualification requirements are a Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders. You can find more information on who provides these awards at the UK Government website here.

The venue you wish to host the festival in will require a license itself. This could either be a Premises License (which is semi-permanent) or a Temporary Event Notice.

A Premises Licence allows for licensable activities to take place at that venue. Licensable activities include the sale of alcohol and public entertainment, amongst other things.

A Temporary Event Notice has a slightly different application process and only applies to once event per time period.

See the UK government website here for more information on these.


In Scotland, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 applies and is very similar to the England and Wales version with Personal and Premises Licenses. There are some subtle differences in terms of the licensing objectives that you should make yourself familiar. See the Scottish Government website here for further advice.

Food Safety Law

Food Safety is a crucial area for any festival as having a poor standard of food hygiene can lead to complaints or worst sick customers. This will do your reputation damage as well, so it is worth knowing what is required.

A couple of important pieces of law apply here, The Food Safety Act 1990 and The Food Standards Act 1999 that established the Food Standards Agency.

As a festival organiser, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your staff and customers. This is also referred to as a duty of care. You must, therefore, check the paperwork of any food vendors you book to attend. Sadly this does not involve any food tasting…!

The simplest way to do this is to check they have up-to-date:

  • Food Hygiene Certificates for staff and a
  • Food Hygiene Rating for their business. They should also have
  • Public and Employers Liability Insurance,
  • Registered with a local authority (doesn’t have to be yours)
  • Gas safety check documents (if using gas)
  • Electrical safety documents (Such as PAT tests)
  • Allergen Information

Environmental Law

Depending on the country the festival operates in there will be different environmental laws. However, there is a growing demand from attendees that festivals act in a responsible way towards their sustainability, including things like waste management. 

There are some specific standards, like the ISO 20121, which provides a complete planning system for sustainability at events. This includes considering sustainability at the planning, operational and evaluation phases. EventSustainability.com have a useful tool to help achieve ISO 20121.

In the UK, the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 encourages a duty of care on all businesses (that includes Festivals) to remove all waste. Remember, commercial waste is treated differently from the kind you dispose of domestically.

There are some great resources on A Greener Festival’s website to help understand how to improve sustainability at a festival including better waste management, traffic planning, noise, food and land damage.

Health and Safety Law

One of the most important pieces of legislation that you’ll need to adhere to is for health and safety. Sadly, history is littered with examples where poor judgement or poor implementation has led to the loss of life at large scale events.

The main piece of legislation is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires all festival operators to consider and manage the safety of their staff and visitors or customers coming to the event.

Another critical piece of legislation that you should be aware of is the Management of Health and Safety At Work Regulations 1999, which requires you to undertake risk assessments to assess the hazards at your festival.

The Noise at Work Regulations 2006 require you to undertake a risk assessment for any loud noise on your site. If you’re running a music festival, this is especially important, and you’ll need to understand what the requirements are to ensure the safety of staff, performers and customers.

There are some other pieces of legislation worth looking at, below is a list to start from (Links are to the most suitable resource):

Not all will apply to the activities being undertaking at the festival so seek professional advice if unsure. We recommend the team at Hop Forward Training who offer beginner Event Safety courses as well as safety consultancy for events of all sizes.

Intellectual property / Copyright

Intellectual property might not be an obvious area someone would consider when thinking about festivals. However, it is extremely important.

First of all, you will want to protect the assets such as your brand name, logos. Protecting your brand becomes important when a festival grows and attracts copycats or people who would try to trade in your name for their own benefit. 

The other area to consider is music licensing.

If you are playing any recorded music at your event (including DJ sets), then you will need to consider getting a license so you can do that legally.

Playing recorded music to employees or customers is illegal in the UK without the correct permission. 

In the UK, Festivals can apply for TheMusicLicense. The amount you pay will be dependent on the venue you are using and how you are using the music.

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 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 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 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 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!


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.


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.


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*.


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.


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.


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!


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 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:


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.


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.


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%.  


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.


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.  

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.