What is an event marketing plan?

What is an event marketing plan?

I spent ten years promoting events in music venues, so I have written quite a few marketing plans in my time. There are variations to these depending on the sector of events. This article just focuses on the key elements that will apply to most sectors. 

An event marketing plan shows all of the steps needed to achieve the marketing objectives you set at the start of the event, for example, ticket sales, social engagement or brand awareness. That plan will outline the tools, techniques and channel you will use to achieve those objectives.

Right now, you’ll probably be reading this thinking how to start writing an event marketing plan. It can seem daunting because there is always pressure on to meet event objectives like selling tickets or generating sponsorship. 

Just to be clear, in my view, at this point, an event marketing plan is not the same thing as a marketing event. A marketing event is a type of event ( often for brand awareness) that in itself may have its event marketing plan to attract people to attend.

The key elements of an event marketing plan

  1. Event goals or objectives
  2. Target audience for the event
  3. Marketing channels
  4. Communication and promotional tactics
  5. Marketing timeline
  6. Evaluation

Let look at each of these key elements in detail.

What are my event goals or objectives?

Before you can even begin to write a marketing plan, you need to understand what your event objectives are, also called goals. The terms are interchangeable and can mean slightly different things, but for this article, we will focus on setting your event goals.

These will of course vary from event to event, but you must write these first.

The goals you set must be SMART,  be you can find help on setting smart objectives for events here. By making your event objectives SMART, they should have specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely element. The first two are the most important as it will allow you to under some evaluation of your event marketing plan at the end.

Example of specific event goals

  • Number of tickets to sell
  • To break even financially
  • Engagement on social media (e.g. likes on Facebook) 
  • Clicks on a link on a promotional email
  • QR code scans from a flyer campaign.
  • Sponsors satisfaction.

Your event marketing plan will then illustrate how you intend to achieve those goals. 

Who is the target audience for the event?

A good event marketing plan will clearly illustrate and identify the target audience for your event. The marketing plan will identify this early on clearly describing how the marketing and promotional elements will reach this target audience to satisfy your event objectives.

The target audience for an event can be large or small,  and sometimes you may find that you have more than one audience. 

Having multiple target audiences doesn’t mean you need numerous event marketing plans, but you may need to use different marketing channels such as social media for each. Writing this down in a marketing plan enables you to clear ear about how you will do that.

Which marketing channels will you use?

Your event marketing plan will outline which marketing channels best fit your target audience and therefore offer the best chance of meeting your event goals. You may think that you simply want to use as many marketing channels as possible, but this is untargeted marketing and not advisable.

Untargeted marketing will be expensive as you may be spending money or resources on marketing channels that are not reaching your intended target audience. The alternative to this is to use targeted marketing.

Targeted marketing means you only use those marketing channels where your defined target audience also exist for use.

For example if you wanted to target and mainly teenage audience, you may consider music social media platforms such as Snapchat or Tiktok. This demographic is known to use those marketing channels heavily full stop; this might not be a good strategy if your target audience is made me retired people.

OK, that is a bit of an extreme example. Still, I hope that illustrates why giving due consideration to the marketing channels you intend to use is so essential, especially if you are on on the tight budget and have limited resources.

This method target marketing allows you to gain the maximum return turn for the minimum amount of import. Your event marketing plan should therefore include a list of marketing channels most suited to reaching your target audience.

Communication and promotional tactics

Your event marketing plan should be clear ear around the types of communication and the language you plan to use to promote your event full stop this may start with your brand and the values that you wish to be known.

You should consider the type of language that you want to use in all of the communications you plan to put out. Does your event suit a more formal tone, or would you prefer to speak with more casual language? 

It is essential to make this decision early on and then act consistently throughout the promotion of your event. A communication plan in your marketing is all part of delivering a consistent experience to your potential attendees.

For events, photos and videos are now a crucial element of any marketing campaign, and so you need to consider how and when to use them to best effect. 

Videos can be handy for delivering large amounts of information such as ticket prices and release dates without having to post a long page of text and can often be more attractive to view for your audience.

Promotional tactics vary depending on where you are in the timeline of your event marketing plan. It may also depend on how new or popular your event is,

For example, a brand new event may need to employ promotional activities such as ticket discounting during the early part of the marketing campaign, which often helps to get sales moving and maintain adequate cash flow within the event.

Other promotional tactics could include ticket deals for groups, discounted tickets for previous attendees or using partners such as sponsors to help sell the events as they may have a larger audience than you do.

One final point to consider here is how your potential attendees can interact with you. Many events now rely on the co-creation of value, which means allowing attendees to have a voice and contribute towards the event experience.  Consider how you will manage and facilitate this voice to ensure that people feel their views of valued and therefore building a stronger relationship with them.

Marketing timeline

Your timeline is another crucial element of your event marketing plan. When approaching this experience of past events and evaluation of those event marketing plans should allow you to improve this timeline each year. 

Typically these timelines are designed in software such as a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), but there are custom event management software available. See our resources pages for ideas.

Another tip to give you here is to consider using social media bookers to pre-plan or schedule social media posts. Again depending on the social media that you plan to use it’s worth investigating even what time of the day is the best time to post your content. We have some of our favourites on our resources pages.


Evaluation is always the last thing in your event marketing plan, but it can be the most crucial element if you run an event that happens regularly. One of the reasons that you set yourself SMART objective at the start was so that you can then measure if you achieve those goals within the context of this marketing plan.

You should look back at various checkpoints during the marketing plan, and your goals for that point,  did you achieve these?

Depending on the original goals, there are a variety of tactics that you can use with your evaluation. Sometimes short surveys of customers can best, other times, perhaps you need to engage in some feedback with contractors or suppliers.

So they have a short overview of what an event marketing plan is. There are variations to this depending on the type of event that you have. But all should have these core elements included. 

What is the best Bluetooth card machine for events?

Bluetooth card machine

There are a range of Bluetooth card machines available on the market today, way more than there were a couple of years ago. Sidestepping away from the chunky and unsightly chip and pin fixed to a counter, small businesses (typically with transactions less than £20k a month) can now have smaller, sleek, and more functional card readers that work equally as well.

The iZettle is currently the best all-round contactless card machines to use at events. It offers the widest choice of card accepted as well as all the major contactless card services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Card machines are a great, cost-effective, and easy to use tool for any event business. Over the past few years, there has been a steep increase in people using cashless payment whether it’s through their debit/credit card, apple pay (via phone or watch) or Google pay. In today’s society, it’s seen as an inconvenience if someone doesn’t have a cashless payment option. Additionally, in light of current times (whilst we are in a global pandemic) cashless payment is even more desirable and valuable for a business.

When it comes to choosing a card machine for an events business, there are a few things you will want to consider in order to get the most out of it. Firstly, I should point out that different machines work better or worse in different locations so just be mindful of this. For example, your location could be:

  • Outside at a festival
  • In a warehouse/remote venue
  • In an exhibition centre
  • In a shop/pop up

The biggest barriers with card machines and locations usually are down to signal for the card machine to make the transaction and also power (to charge the unit and or your smartphone). Another key factor is how often you will be using the card machine for your event or business. Daily, monthly once a year? Depending on different readers available this can affect your value for money and overall cost of your card reader.

How do contactless card readers work?

Contactless payment is taken via an app connected to a Bluetooth card reader. The app is provided by a merchant who will process the payment for a transaction fee. The money taken will usually be available within 1-3 days in the nominated bank account.

As a general rule, you get a small card machine which then connects via Bluetooth to a mobile or tablet. On that device, you will need to download an app which then operates the card machine. You are then ready to use it simply by getting someone to tap contactless or enter their pin, just like your normal card machine. 

Most then don’t have a monthly fee or require a contract (although you can often add in some subscription options with your chosen provider). You just need to purchase the card machine at a one-off cost and pay a transaction fee on a Pay as you go basis.

One thing to point out is that you will need either a Wi-Fi connection or 3G/4G connection for the transaction to be processed.

Below I have listed 5 of the most popular card machines for event businesses, listing out some highlights, things to consider as well as costs to help you make more of an informed decision as to what suits your event business the best.

1. Square Terminal


  • Accepts Mastercard, American Express and Visa, both contactless and chip and PIN
  • Can save cards on file for repeat payments
  • Can be used to sell online, collect payments via invoices and by phone
  • Fixed rate of 1.75% per transaction
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • No minimum transaction fees


  • £19 + VAT one off cost for the card reader
  • No contract or inactivity fees

There are a series of add-ons that Square offer. To list a few:

  • Can print receipts from the terminal
  • Inventory management via the App
  • Can sync other apps to it to help with business paperwork e.g. accounting, analytics etc.
  • Can track employee performance using the App

Square reader is a cost-effective and user-friendly reader for any business with the advantages of having integration between payments and accounting across your business.

2. Zettle


  • Accepts the widest range of cards out of all 5 in this post (including apple pay)
  • You can choose the colour of your card machine (black or white)
  • No set up or delivery cost
  • Fixed rate of 1.75% per transaction
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • Refunds are free to process (and you get the transaction cost back too)
  • Charges via a USB or via a dock (takes 1-2 hours for full charge) and lasts 8hrs or 100 transactions
  • Can also be used to sell your items online via iZettle’s ecommerce site

Things to note:

  • Minimum transaction fee of £1


  • Initial card reader £29 + VAT one off payment

Overall, this is a great and low-cost card reader for any small business looking to take card payments. Not being locked into a contract is a great plus point, meaning you won’t have any ongoing costs after your initial investment in the card reader apart from your transaction fees.

3. SumUp


  • Accepts all major brands of cards
  • Fixed rate of 1.69% per transaction
  • Comes with a white card machine
  • No setup or delivery cost
  • Accepts contactless, chip and PIN and signature cards
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • App automatically connects via Bluetooth with card machine when you pick card as payment method
  • Not locked into a contract

Things to note:

  • You don’t get the transaction fee back on any refunds

Initial cost:

  • Card reader costs £29 + VAT and is a one off cost
  • They also offer a 3G card reader (so you don’t need a smartphone) for £69 + VAT

This reader is a good contender with low transaction and initial set up fees. There are just less add-ons and gadgets that work with this reader. However, it comes with a great advantage of not needing a smartphone if you go for the slightly pricier card reader.

4. Worldpay ZINC Reader


  • 24/7 phone support
  • Accept major credit cards
  • Available in black
  • Contactless, chip and PIN and apple watch compatible
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer based on a transaction fee – quoted by WorldPay)
  • Comes with 12-month warranty for the reader
  • Receipt can be issued by email or SMS instantly

Things to note:

  • A steeper 2.75% transaction fee unless you pay £5.99 a month which then lowers it to 1.95%
  • Fees depend on turnover and a few other variables
  • Sign up for a quote on their website for fees
  • Require PCI (payment card industry) compliance 


  • Card reader £39.99 including VAT but has been as much as £79.99
  • No set up fees beyond buying the card reader (if you are happy with the higher transaction fees)
  • Contract monthly £5.99 if you want lower transaction fees

Although still a highly rated app, the transaction fees are a little steep compared to other competitors in the market. Without any significant plus points over competitors it could be worth looking at others especially if you are on a tight budget.

5.Smart Trade APP


  • Does not require a card reader (just scan card with your smartphone)
  • Option to pass on the card fees to your customer
  • Can be used to pay face to face, over the phone and through paylinks on emails
  • Can create customised invoices to send out
  • Accepts all major cards as well as foreign cards
  • Can send paperless quotes to customers and have a one click button for them to accept
  • Allows easy integration for some accounting e.g. Xero, quickbooks etc.

Things to note:

  • More aimed at tradespeople
  • You are in a contract but can cancel at any time


  • No card reader needed just the app which is free to download
  • They also have a 30-day trial 
  • After the trail you will need to sign up to 1 of 3 plans:
    • Business: (up to 15 users) 1.85% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £26.99 a month
    • Enterprise: (Up to 50 users) 1.75% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £89.99 a month
    • Sole Trader: (one user) 2.15% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £9.99 a month

A great choice for those who don’t want to bother with a card machine and for those who want to pass the transaction fee onto their customers. The higher cost transaction fees and monthly payments would mean it is not so cost-effective for business, but a good option for those with relatively limited but high-value transactions.

As you can see from above there are advantages and disadvantages to all of the top 5 card machines. To help you choose the best one for your event/business type I have set out some influencing factors and recommendations on what card machine might work best for your event or business.

Large scale event e.g. outdoor festival, trade show

Things to consider:

  • Number of hours trading
    • If it’s a long time you will need a power supply
  • Size of event
    • If It’s a large-scale event with lots of other people and vendors, you could be fighting for signal for payments
  • Expected number of transactions
    • Some have minimum spend caps on or have higher charges if you do only a few transactions
  • Expected use
    • Is this a one off or will you use the card regularly? – If it’s a once in a blue moon you use it consider the fact some charge dormant fees.

Good card reader option: iZettle is a great reader when it comes to the following:

  • Battery life and power (charges super quickly and lasts 8 hrs)
  • No fees for inactivity/not regularly used
  • Flat rate for fees no matter how many, although minimum spent of £1 which most of the time is not an issue

When it comes to signal being an issue there is not a huge breakthrough card machine that can overcome this. Some ways to help with this machine are:

  • Send remote payment links (your customer can pay later through a link on their phone if the transaction would not go through).
  • Think about getting yourself a remote dongle so you have your own personal Wi-Fi connection. This will boost your chances of being able to take payment quickly and easily.

Charity Event

  • Fees/cost
    • You want to be paying as little as possible
    • You can even pass on the fees to your customer to keep costs down as much as possible
    • Similarly, you don’t really want to be locked into a contract unless there are some serious benefits for you.
  • Number of transactions
    • Like above, if you rarely plan to use it be careful as some companies charge dormant fees for inactivity.

Based on that, a good card reader option: Although the Smart Trade APP is the best in regards to passing on fees this comes with a monthly minimum cost of £9.99 for a contract. Other competitors for examples square reader don’t have any monthly fees or contract so means you will only be paying a transaction fee, which if you are savvy enough you could include in your selling price to help keep costs to a complete minimum. 

Shop or stall

  • Look
    • Your aesthetic and look may be more important here, so the option of colour is nice.
  • Online selling options
    • Possibility to use the card reader’s eCommerce site to sell your items on to widen your selling opportunities
  • Recurring payment
    • Might want to set up recurring payments if it’s an item someone wants to buy regularly

Good card reader option: iZettle again, is a great option for a shop or stall. With the option to choose white or black carder readers, and the option to sell on iZettle’s eCommerce it’s certainly a good purchase. Although you can’t set up recurring payments you can send regular payment links out manually to customers to get payment. 

To summarise, why are card readers a great investment for your events business?

  • Shorter queues due to quicker transaction times
    • Payment in just a tap as opposed to routing through for change
    • More customers served = more cash and quicker waiting time = happier customers
  • Safety
    • None/less cash on site
    • Money straight into your account (can’t lose it)
  • Easy to track
    • Connect your account to a financal programme, it helps track finance, and pulls out key figures etc. to help you report your business profits and loss.
    • Also helps with business credit rating, which in turn can help if you want to borrow money.
  • Add validity to business.
    • Make your customers feel you are more legitimate.
  • Recurring payments can be set up.
  • Increased spend
    • Your consumer is not limited to just what cash they have on them – they are more likely to splurge a little more!


I can safely say a card reader at your event or for your events business would not be a poor purchase. Although there are many more than the 5 card readers above, these are the ones that have been tried and tested more and therefore have greater reviews. If I had to choose one for my events, as a failsafe and cost-effective way of taking payments however, Zettle would be my option if just the card reader was needed. If more established, and on the lookout for a more middle of the road reader with a few extra add-ons Square reader would a next best great option, with the ability to print receipts from the terminal without the restriction of a minimum transaction fee.

What does event insurance cover?

Event Insurance

If you are planning a small local event or a large festival, you will want to consider event insurance. Having worked in several event safety roles at events, I’ve seen countless insurance documents of my own, from venues and suppliers.

Event insurance covers several different areas, depending on the policy it can include Public Liability cover, Employers’ Liability cover, event cancellation, financial loss and event equipment cover. 

Event insurance is essential for a variety of reasons and work by offsetting the risk of something happening. While you need to meet all legal requirements in your territory, everyone has a different perception of risk. Some will choose to seek cover against some things, and others may not. Think about how you perceive risk.

There are four key areas that most event insurance companies will cover. Let dive into each in a little more detail to understand what they include.

Event Public Liability Insurance

Depending on where you hold your event, Public Liability insurance may or may not be a legal requirement. However, it’s one of the most critical components of any event insurance as it protects against any claim from a member of the public who suffers injury or loss as a result of your negligence in relation to how you organised your event.

As an example of what this might cover, a common injury that often attracts claims are slip trips and falls. These can be quite prevalent on temporary events sites where you find a lot of trailing cables or track covering.

If someone trips over you could find yourself in court even if it wasn’t your fault. Claims may involve a court, which means legal fees and potentially paid damaged. All of which could be costly.

Public Liability insurance will cover damages claims and any expenses you incur in defending the claim against that member of the public.

Having Public Liability insurance in place may be a condition of using a particular piece of land or venue to host the event. This can particularly be true if you are hosting an event on property that is owned by Local Government agencies. 

They may specify a certain level of Public Liability insurance that is required before they will consider allowing you to use that space.

Event Sucess

Event Employers’ Liability Insurance

In many countries, Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement. In the UK, this is the case. In the US it may be known as Workers Compensation and is state-based, so check local requirements. 

Employers’ Liability insurance covers the staff, contractors and volunteers who are working at your event. It will cover costs associated with defending a claim brought against you.

It’s worth noting that this insurance covers paid or unpaid staff under your control. There is a common misconception that it only includes paid staff that you employ.

If you utilise volunteers to deliver your events (something like a community festival), you still need to consider insurance cover for them. Having Employers’ Liability insurance in place also demonstrates that you take the welfare of your staff and volunteers seriously.

Even with the best care and attention paid to risk assessments and health and safety, unfortunately, accidents can still happen. Such accidents might be the result of your negligence, staff members’ fault or just a freak accident, but you still may find yourself in court defending a claim.

Event Insurance

Event Cancellation 

Often things happen beyond your control, that means you will have to cancel your event. Event Cancellation insurance will reimburse irrecoverable expenses incurred as a result of having to cancel the event.

The cancellation must be unforeseeable. Events Cancellation insurance will cover losses on areas such as marketing, merchandising, loss of income or venue costs. 

It’s worth checking with the insurance provider and mention when purchasing if there are any specific things you want to be covered.

So what kinds of things does event cancellation insurance cover? Here’s an example list of things you might expect to see on any policy:

  • Adverse weather (e.g. flooding)
  • A serious crime in your venue that restricts access. (e.g. murder or assault)
  • National mourning
  • Closed transport links
  • Act of Terrorism
  • Strikes or labour disputes
  • Delayed building work
  • Personal bereavement
  • Artists cancellation due to accident, death or ill health

NOTE: As a result of the 2020 global pandemic, many insurance providers opted to specify that cover would not extend to contagious diseases, so it is worth asking this question when arranging cover for your event.

Live Music Events

Event Equipment Insurance

Event equipment can be costly; you may own the equipment or have just hired it for one event. Either way, you’ll likely be responsible for the cost of replacing it if it gets lost, stolen or damaged. 

This is where event equipment insurance comes in; this cover helps with that cost.

Event Equipment insurance cover will usually ensure your property or the property of others while it’s in transit to the event, during the event or transporting it back afterwards. 

This could also include equipment that you have hired for use at the event and which you are legally liable against any loss or damage to it.

There may be several exclusions from equipment cover, particularly where there is a significant excess on the policy, where a theft occurred because items have lived been left unattended or unsecured or due to faulty installation or dismantlement.

As always, check the cover when you but to ensure it meets your requirements.

Equipment for event planning

When should I buy event insurance? 

You should start arranging your event insurance cover ideally as soon as you begin planning your event. You will undoubtedly want financial protection when you start having to incur expenses or put tickets on sale.

If something happens during the planning process after you’ve taken insurance cover out, this will be covered. Still, anything that happens before will have to be declared to the insurance company during the purchase.

There may be other deadlines for cover such as weather where insurers may not offer insurance within a few weeks of the event.

How can you get event insurance?

Event insurance is widely available through many brokers or Internet-based companies. Some comparison websites offer to search the market for you. 

It can often be a better experience to speak to an insurance broker to be specific about the needs of your event so that you get an accurate policy that reflects your situation. 

See our resources page for our current pick of insurance providers for events.

What does event insurance NOT cover

There are some differences between insurers. However, as a guide here are some of the things that may not be covered.

  • War, Invasion, Acts of foreign enemies, Hostilities, Civil war
  • Confiscation, nationalisation or destruction of property under order of any government or public authority.
  • Communicable diseases (See note above about the 2020 pandemic)

Other considerations

You should consider what insurance does your venue have. A requirement for hirers may be specified in any contract that you have with them and who is responsible for arranging Event insurance cover.

It is also possible to have additional elements added to your insurance policy that could include things like artist cancellation or non-attendance. Again it depends on your own needs.

You should get insurance details from your suppliers. You must obtain insurance documents from all the contractors and suppliers you plan to use at your event. 

Having a record of these is good practise and demonstrates you’re only prepared to use reputable suppliers.

One more thought on this (and a bit of a tip), if you’re unsure over the validity of any insurance documentation, call up the providing insurer and ask if the policy is valid. Believe it or not, I’ve had a supplier send fake insurance documents in a previous event.

Related Questions

How much does event insurance cost? Event insurance may cost less than you think. Given the potential for claims to be in the 000s of £, a basic insurance policy can cost as little as a few hundred £ but will give you complete peace of mind that you have cover in place. 

How do I get a certificate of insurance for an event? Usually the insurance company will email you PDF copies of the insurance documents. You should keep these safe, although many now provide online portals should you need them again. 

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 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.


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


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


  • 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


  • 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:


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. 


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


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!


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 are ticket prices determined?


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.


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!