Festivals are a beloved way to relax, celebrate and enjoy yourself during the great British summertime. We’re all familiar with big name events like Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds – but tickets can be hard to come by and maybe you want something a little smaller and closer to home. So, why not throw a mini festival? This could be anything from a huge party with friends, to a summer corporate fun day or a city mela celebrating local community and culture.
In this article, we’ll offer advice on how to successfully organise a mini festival, including some expert tips on festival production and equipment hire.
First things first, you want to think about what you’d like your festival to be. Although the obvious choice is a music festival with live bands and artists, there are lots of options. Maybe you like the idea of a comedy festival, or a food festival? Maybe you want to involve arts and culture? The choice is yours!
It’s important to have a solid concept in mind before you start planning practicalities as your vision will guide all the choices you make. Whilst forming your concept, it is good to keep in mind your intended audience and budget.
The venue for your festival is one of the first things you’ll want to secure when it comes to planning. Consider what kind of venue will suit your festival concept. For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have acres of land on hand, there are plenty of hire options out there! Whether it’s a large pub garden, a park or a field, there are lots of kinds of venue available to hire with a bit of research.
- Space is key when it comes to a venue. Make sure you will be able to accommodate everyone and everything you want at your venue
- How easy is the venue to get to? Consider how your audience will get there and back and if there’s parking available
- What are the toilet facilities like? Will you have to hire portaloos? Toilets are not a glamorous aspect of a festival, but they are an important one!
- If you are planning on camping on site, is there enough room to pitch tents? Consider the extra camping space needed for your audience in addition to space needed for the event itself
Festival Planning & Logistics
Planning a mini festival will require you to think about the practical side of event planning, as well as the fun one. Like with many other kinds of events, you should consider:
- Temporary Event Notice (TEN): events at which alcohol is being sold, or ones that create noise late into the evening may require a Temporary Event Notice. Although it sounds very official, the process is pretty simple – many councils let you apply online. There is a £21 fee and you should apply at a minimum 10 working days in advance of your event.
- Health & safety: you should have first aid equipment on site and consider first aid trained individuals too. Should you be planning any stage pyrotechnics or fireworks, you will likely require a fire marshall on hand.
- Security: particularly if your event is ticketed, you should consider security. Not only can they help with admittance, they can help ensure any issues that arise get resolved smoothly and safely.
- Rubbish & clear up: particularly if you are serving food and drinks, it’s important to make sure there are enough rubbish and recycling bins around. You should also plan to clear up rubbish left behind after your event as this is often part of hire terms for venues.
Music & Entertainment
Music is at the heart of almost every great festival. Getting the music right and the bands hired will be a big priority. Look out for up-and-coming artists and local bands – some may play for free. Live bands can make way for a DJ in the evening to get people dancing the night away. There’s so much choice for music – from indie groups to acoustic country singers to 80s cover bands – stay true to your concept and have fun!
Aside from the music, there’s lots of other entertainment, performers and activities to think about. Smaller stages and marquees can be set up to host a whole array of entertainment for your audience. Your imagination (and maybe budget) is the limit! Entertainment options could include: comedians, poets, an open mic, karaoke and magicians. Dedicated areas or covered marquees could be set up for chillout zones, sideshow games, garden party games, face painting, photo booths, craft making and much more. When it comes to decorating, fairy lights, bunting, streamers, flags, flowers, foliage, beanbags and hay bales never go amiss.
If your festival is going to go all day and night, you’ll need to feed your audience! Talk to your venue, they may have food options available or recommendations. Food vans are increasingly popular these days and most vendors are available for private hire. From crowd-pleasing food trucks to quirky market stalls, you can choose from a host of delicious food, sweet treats, local ciders, craft beers, cocktails and more.
Event equipment hire is a vital part of putting on a festival. The stage, lighting, sound system, special effects – this is what transforms your event from a DIY gathering into an impressive, professional looking production!
Whilst most people might know what music they want and the theme they’d like to create, the technical side can seem a bit overwhelming. By working with event production experts like Stage Connections, you can benefit from professional advice and expertise to help you choose the best equipment for your music festival, mela, corporate retreat or fun day.
Here’s a few things to consider when it comes to festival hire equipment:
- The stage: what’s a festival without a main stage?! We offer outdoor mobile stage hire – perfect for festivals, melas and more – providing a centre point for your event. Our mobile stages are flexible and easy to set up wherever your venue is. Our team can build and take down the customisable, fully equipped stage for you. We can even provide stage branding to showcase your theme.
- Sound: clear and powerful sound systems are fundamental for music festivals. We can build an audio package suited to your musicians and the size of your festival. We offer professional quality speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, monitor systems, microphones, mixers and more. With our line array systems, you can benefit from clear and even sound coverage across large areas so your whole audience can enjoy the performance. Our technical experts can also help with operation at the event too, if needed.
- Lighting: stage lighting will illuminate your performers, but can also be part of the show. Practical floodlights, follow spots and PAR cans can be complemented by creative LED lighting and moving head lights which can be programmed for dynamic effects, in sync with the artist, all operated by our skilled technicians to create a memorable show.
- Screens & special effects: LED screens and special effects can really amp up the show. LED screen backdrops can be part of the artist’s set, or can show the performance for those further back from the stage. Haze machines can emphasise lighting shows, and confetti cannons or spark streams can add drama.
Remember, you’ll also need to hire a generator to power all of your fantastic production elements. Once you know what you’d like equipment-wise, you’ll know what power capabilities you require.
If you’re running a ticketed festival, you’ll want to get the word out as soon as possible after you’ve confirmed your dates. Drum up some interest by creating an event on Facebook, or posting about it across other social media platforms. Create flyers and distribute them in your local area. Keep the momentum going by releasing more and more details in the run up to your event, enticing people to get buying those tickets!
Even if your mini festival isn’t ticketed – for example, for a corporate event – you can still promote it to get people excited. Create posters, programmes or bespoke wristbands to get people involved and in the festival mindset.
The Stage Connections team are experts in technical event production. We can help make your mini festival a success with professional equipment, technical support and expert advice. If you are planning a festival – from local music festivals to corporate days to cultural events – get in touch to see how we can help.