A music lover’s utopic dream come true, apart from meeting his favourite artist in a private concert, would be organising a music festival. The most ideal location with the perfect weather,the best line-up of artists performing at multiple stages, and the most ideal audience, who love the music chosen. Of course, very few of such connoisseurs actually work towards realising this dream – by organising a music festival.
Putting together a musical mega act that goes on for days, giving the audience the experience they paid for is no mean feat. It is work that spans months of production value, before and even after the festival is over. But in ambition, the basic dos and don’ts are often lost with festival organisers. Most believe that the job is done, when they secure the dates of that popular-international-band-that-hipsters-love. Having been to many a music festival in the country, we’ve decided to list out a bunch of basic stuff to keep in mind when organising one. Whether it’s a multi-crore event you have in mind, or a local garage fest, read on!
1. Your artists are not twiddling thumbs.
Did you read that? Now read it again. It’s great to want to get some of the most popular acts to perform at your festival, but the music industry is one of great struggle and virtue. Every band is constantly at work, if not performing, then recording their new album. The line-up must be decided, and booked at the earliest stage. There is no way you can save face if your promised artist cancels on you post announcement.
2. Not too far, but not too close.
Getting the location perfect with rising infrastructure is extremely tricky, we know it. But that doesn’t mean you organise a festival in the middle of nowhere, for which even Google throws up an indefinite solution. It must be just far enough to evade the noise of the city, but close enough so you don’t lose yourself reaching there.
3. Your Venue is your greatest Friend
You know what people will speak most about, apart from the music, once the festival ends? Just how good the venue was! Utilise the space to its maximum effort, without spreading out the festival to an unimaginably large amount of land, making your audience wish they had cycles to go around. No one wants to cover kilometres from one stage to another. Space out your stages so the music doesn’t eat into each other. You don’t want an acoustic set to be superimposed by a rock concert. It must allow for breathing space, yet be cozy at the same time. There is a thin line!
4. Don’t leave things High and Dry!
Every festival has a budget. You might be tempted to spend it all on securing the best artists, but spare a thought for the people buying your tickets. Even ground, protection from weather anomalies, requisite parking space, clean carpeting to sit on are some of the basic concerns that you must address. Get your basic amenities of food, drinks and portaloos in order, in accordance with the tickets sold. You wouldn’t want long queues of people outside community washrooms as their favourite artist is in the middle of their favourite song. Believe us when we say, you will never be hated more.
5. What kills music most? Bad Sound.
Take it from us, even the best artists sound disturbing when given subpar sound systems. Enter into a contractual partnership with a sound provider. If not, then invest on some good sound setups. You owe it to the artist you’re hiring. You owe it to the audience paying for the set. And most of all, you owe it to your reputation.
6. ‘Teams’ are underrated.
Sure, as the suave know-it-all music fan you are, you might know every artist at the back of your head. But, at the most tense moments, prepare yourself to be blanked out. This is why you must get together the right team. People who believe in the music you wish to put up, who wish to learn more about the artists playing, and moreover, who trust your vision. Remember, organisation is the solution to potential chaos.
7. Not a one-time child’s play!
Every organiser would want to see the festival go ahead, annually generating fans all over. For that, have a vision, find your niche, pick your USPs, and work on them successfully. As a music lover yourself, it would be disheartening to put up a show that would disappoint even you, had you paid for it. You will make money out of it, sure. But what remains is what people speak once the festival ends. Make that count.
(cover picture courtesy: The Hudson Project/Facebook)