Another summer has been and gone, another festival season dispensed with, one now only felt in the aching limbs and livers of its attendees. Last week’s End of the Road (an apt name indeed) in Wiltshire marked the final date on the UK’s party calendar, and brought down the curtain on a cracking summer of music, dancing and frivolity. All that’s left now is a melancholy that we’ll have to wait another nine months for more of the same to fill.
But why should the fun stop here? Must we let a silly thing like the seasons get in the way of throwing a damn good knees up? If you want to keep the vibe going, the music playing and the collective consciousness partying, then why not organise your own? Pub gardens, abandoned warehouses, fields…they’re all there for the taking! Here are 5 IDEAL tips for throwing your own mini festival.
FIND A VENUE
Without one, your festival is nothing more than a few mates in your garden congregated around some cans. Fortunately, the UK has all manner of venues for hire which could do the job of hosting a soiree just swimmingly. Should a family member or friend be lucky enough to live somewhere with a spacious garden, then it’s time to call in the favours. This is ideal territory, as it’s budget friendly and circumnavigates a whole lot of red tape.
Otherwise, a local pub with a beer garden roomy enough for tents and gazebos is a good bet; alcohol licensing and sales will all be in hand, too, allowing you to focus on the finer details. Or, you could go old school rave style, incognito and cloak’n’dagger, sending out a text on the day of the event directing attendees to a secret location. Though that sounds like a lot of excitement, the murky legality should probably put you off.
Of course, when considering a venue you need to think about parking provisions, whether there are overnight accommodation options (rooms to rent or even outdoor tent space) and if toilets are provided.
TICKETS & WRISTBANDS
Early on in the organisational process, you want to define the purpose of your festival. Do you simply want to host a party for pals, and spend the day glass in hand enjoying yourself? Are you looking to test the temperature for future ventures of a more serious kind? Perhaps you’re hopeful of earning some serious coin from your festival? These considerations will determine your ticket price (if you’re planning of selling tickets, at all) of course.
Imperative to any event of this kind is to have some wearable branding, which stays with punters throughout their festival experience and beyond. This helps in two ways; firstly, and administratively, it’s an easy way for security to identify who is part of the event and who has bought a ticket. Secondly, and just as crucially, the inclusive, part-of-the-club branding of the best festivals is massively enhanced. Stamps are useful, but wash off too quickly and don’t last long on the hand or in the memory. A personalised wristband is a far better option, particularly as so many cherish them as keepsakes long after their ears have stopped ringing.
Arguably the defining feature of your event and a decision which somewhat dictates the flow of the festival, the clientele, mood and more. Decide whether your line up will be genre specific (for instance, trance) appeal-to-all (ABBA tributes anyone?) or be more fluid (open mic). It’s wise to have a budget set aside for this, not least out of respect for gigging artists. Musicians have got to eat, and here’s nothing worse than trying to coerce an artist with ‘free exposure’. The line up is your key tool in promotional endeavours and social media campaigns, so curate carefully and conscientiously.
One of the most important aspects of any festival is keeping your guests well fed and watered with both ample food and drink provisions. You can provide all of the raucous entertainment you could dream of, but without refreshments (solid and liquid) things just aren’t going to kick off. Rumbling stomachs and empty glasses are one of the main buzzkills of any event, so make sure you’ve got food stalls aplenty. For a real talking point, steer clear of the usual hog roast and hot dog stands and go for something more unique; Vietnamese pho, vegan burgers…you get the picture.
BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS
If your festival is within or close to a residential area, then it’s crucial that you let neighbours know about it beforehand, perhaps even by offering them an invite. To be extra safe make sure that you’re obeying the local noise pollution laws if the event is going to go on late – and let’s be honest, what festival doesn’t? Nothing ruins a party quite like local police having to pay a visit to tell you to keep it down, so keep one step ahead on that count.