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Festival Planning Checklist: 10 Things To Include

Festival planning

Festival planning is a huge challenge, no matter how big or small your festival will be. Whether it’s for a smaller audience of a few hundred or as many as over 100,000 party-goers, putting a festival together is a colossal undertaking that requires meticulous planning, attention to detail and thorough processes that will ensure a smooth workflow from the initial planning stages to execution.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 10 items all festival planners must have in their checklists:

1. KPIs

First things first, you must start by defining your KPIs. There are several possible KPIs for festivals, so discuss with your team and decide which you wish to prioritise.

When coming to a consensus on which KPIs to use, here are some leading questions to ask yourself:

  1. What kind of festival do I want to plan?
    Is it in line with my brand objectives?
  2. Why am I planning a festival?
    What results do I want to achieve?
  3. What are some similar festivals that I can model my festival after?
    What did those festivals achieve? Are their objectives in line with mine?
  4. What takeaways do I want my festival-goers to have?
    What kind of feedback do I want them to have after attending my festival?

Here are three common KPI examples to consider:

  1. Ticket sales
    Example: Achieve [monetary value] in ticket sales
  2. Social media engagement
    Example: Garner [total number of] new followers / likes / comments / paid subscriptions on [social media channel]
  3. Sign-up rates
    Example: Get [total number of] sign-ups for [product/service]

2. Budget

A clear budget shows you the approximate boundary of what you can realistically achieve in your festival.

It also helps you make key decisions about how you can optimise your festival without compromising on quality. For example, if your defined budget requires you to sacrifice several quality-enhancing factors of a multi-day festival, you may consider limiting it to a single-day event.

Check out seven essential tips to make the most of your budgeting efforts.

3. Festival planning timeline

There’s no such thing as having “too much time” when planning such a major event, and you don’t want to run the risk of scrambling for vendors or sponsors at the eleventh hour.

While each festival has its own challenges and requirements, try initiating your festival planning timeline at least six months before the event. Start with broader checklist items such as your festival concept and venue earlier, then move on to items such as sponsors and vendors after.

Although there are (naturally) several differences between conferences and festivals, our conference planning checklist may also give you some inspiration for your festival planning.

4. Venue

The first big item to check off in your festival planning journey is securing a venue. Take into consideration factors such as your festival concept, the number of festival-goers you expect to host, and other relevant requirements for your festival, when considering your venue. You may also take inspiration from other similar festivals you wish to emulate (see point one).

Alternatively, you may consider tapping into our extensive venue network for your festival. From magnificent hotel ballrooms such as Pan Pacific Singapore and Four Seasons Hotel Singapore to open-air locations such as Ola Beach Club, you’ll be sure to find a venue that suits your festival needs.

5. Licences

When planning a festival, there are several licences you’ll need in order to move forward. Research relevant permits from the relevant ministries, and check with your venue to see if they have the required permits to run your festival. Some examples include:

• Public Entertainment Licence (PEL)
• Food licences
Alcohol licences
Music rights licences

When planning a festival, there are several licences you’ll need in order to move forward. Research relevant permits from the relevant ministries, and check with your venue to see if they have the required permits to run your festival. Some examples include:

6. Marketing

Depending on the nature of your festival and target audience, you may need to tailor your marketing approach to maximise your turnout rate.

But before that, your first step should be to craft your festival’s marketing message. This helps you to deliver your unique value proposition to your target audience and incite them to register.

After that, start thinking about your marketing channels. Here are some examples:

• Paid advertising campaigns
Organic social media campaigns
Media mentions using press releases

7. Sponsors

Festival sponsors help to boost your funding and increase your planning resources.

Prepare customised sponsorship decks and send them out to potential sponsors. Include unique incentives in your sponsorship packages, such as VIP lounge access or exclusive discounts. Finally, remember to tailor your offerings to each sponsor’s individual preferences.

8. Vendors

Depending on your festival offerings, the vendors you bring in may become a major deciding factor for your target audience to consider.

For example, in the 2023 edition of Artbox Singapore, co-organiser Invade brought in over 350 retail and F&B vendors. This proved to be a major draw for many attendees, and ultimately managed to pull in over 60,000 attendees.

9. Staffing

Festivals, just like any other type of major event, require a dedicated team behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Here are some examples of what you’ll need staff for:

• Security
• Venue setup and takedown
• Registration
• Serving food and drinks
• Audio, visual and lighting (AVL) management

Finally, be sure to plan contingency plans as well, in case your key staff are unable to turn up on the festival day.

10. AVL Technology

Powerful AVL technology lies at the heart of a memorable festival. From the booming sound coming out of your speakers, to the mesmerising digital animations flashing on the LED video walls, to the bright beams of the stage lights, your AVL will define the quality of your on-stage talent (and by extension, your festival as a whole).

We understand the importance of AVL technology ourselves, which is why we’re partnered with technical production company Live Productions, who offer top-of-the-line technical solutions for all types of events, including festivals.

Consult with your venue to see what types of technology and equipment they offer, and see if it suits your festival needs. Don’t forget to also speak to your musicians or other on-stage talent to see if they have any special requirements for their performances.

Bring your next festival to life with us today

While these 10 items are a good starting point for you to kick off your planning process, they may not reflect individual situations or circumstances that you may face when you’re trying to put your festival together. To do that, you’ll need an experienced festival planning partner to open up unique opportunities and explore new experiences for your festival-goers.

Unearthed Productions is an award-winning full-service agency that conceptualises meaningful experiences for a multitude of event formats, including large-scale festivals such as Artbox Singapore and the Great Christmas Eve Street Party in 2023.

From conceptualisation to on-site execution, we’ll help you deliver one-of-a-kind experiences and make your next festival one to truly remember.

Plan your next festival with us today!

Our Venue Partners
Suntec Singapore | Pan Pacific Singapore | Carlton Hotel Singapore | Four Seasons Hotel Singapore | NTUC Centre | M Hotel Singapore City Centre | Orchard Hotel Singapore | Garden Pavilion @ The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore | Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel | Bridge+ Ascent | Ola Beach Club | Changi Cove | Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza | Urban Green Rooms (Orchard Road)

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