Organizing a festival: How to do it?

Organized with a charitable purpose or simply to make known its association law, the festival is an event which wants to be convivial and festive, but also informative. Nevertheless, organizing a festival is not an easy task. Indeed, it is necessary to follow several essential steps for its organization: choice of the place, communication, ticketing, definition of the budget, search for financing.

In addition, it is advisable to respect a certain number of legal obligations such as the subscription to an insurance or the accomplishment of a declarative formality with the competent authority. In addition, the management of the members and volunteers of the associative organization before and during the event must be taken care of. So, to ensure the success of your festival, take these few points into account during your preparations.

The different steps to follow for the organization of a festival

As for any associative event (concert, show, sports tournament, …), the organization of a festival must also go through several important stages. Find out which ones.

Define the theme of the festival…

Before organizing a festival, it is essential to determine the theme on which this associative event will be based. This will allow you to rally other people and possibly other associations and institutions to your project. It goes without saying that the theme depends above all on your expectations and the objectives of the event. The duration as well as the field(s) it will cover can also help you in defining the theme. Music, dance, film, theater, etc… there is no shortage of ideas. The theme can also be used to define the name of the festival.

Choosing and contacting the participants

For the choice of speakers (artists, specialists, etc.), you only have to base your choice on the theme you have chosen beforehand. Therefore, if you plan to hire paid artists, it is strongly advised to rely on renowned speakers. Otherwise, using amateur artists can be an interesting alternative, especially for small budgets. Especially since this is a rather common practice in student festivals.

Establishing the programming

The program is certainly the main thread that will ensure the smooth running of the festival. A well put together program will certainly contribute to the success of this event. Of course, it must take into account the technical constraints and the artists’ fees (if paid). But also the decisions initially taken with the speakers when signing the contract.

Determining the festival’s organization budget

Regardless of the size and the expected attendance of the festival, the associative structure carrying the project must pay particular attention to the definition of the budget for the organization of the event. In fact, a provisional budget gives you the possibility to have an overview of the expenses (room or field rental, logistics, remuneration of speakers…) and revenues (stand rental, ticketing, sale of advertising space…).

Organizing a festival: the legal obligations to observe

The organization of a festival is subject to certain legal obligations, including the fulfillment of a declarative formality or a request for authorization from the town hall or the prefecture. In addition to this, there are other specific administrative procedures (setting up a refreshment bar, broadcasting music…), obligations in terms of security and insurance. Immediately the details.

Make a declaration or a request for authorization

If you organize your festival in a public space, an administrative authorization is required. The association must then apply to the mayor or the police prefect. This request must indicate, among other things

The same applies if your event brings together more than 1,500 people. You must submit a request for authorization to the competent authority at least one month (and 1 year at most) before the festival. However, a simple declaration is sufficient if the festival takes place in a private place authorized as an establishment receiving the public (ERP) and on the public highway.

Request additional authorizations

Depending on the circumstances, other authorizations are required. For example, for the installation of a refreshment bar or bar, you need a liquor license. To obtain it, you have to apply at the town hall at least 15 days before the festival. In addition, you must respect the regulations applicable to drinking establishments in terms of signage, display, hygiene and safety. The respect of food hygiene rules is also not to be neglected.

Ensuring the safety of the festival

Of course, the association must ensure the safety of the festival and take all necessary measures to limit the risk of accidents. You must therefore do your utmost to respect and enforce the safety rules in force. This not only by the festival-goers, but also by the staff members (members and volunteers within the association, service providers, artists, etc.).

Take out an insurance policy

As the main person in charge and organizer of the festival, the association law must subscribe an insurance which covers its civil liability. However, the human dimension should not be the only one to be taken into account. It is also important to consider the material dimension of the event. In other words, you have to add guarantees that can cover the materials used and the place where the event takes place. Cancellation insurance, strike, bad weather…, some guarantees can of course be added according to your needs.

Communication around the event: how to proceed?

Communication is certainly a crucial point not to be taken lightly for the success of your festival. The associative structure must therefore effectively promote its event and make it gain maximum visibility.

How to manage ticketing?

Regarding the sale and presale of tickets, it is strongly recommended to combine the following two devices:

  • Online ticketing upstream
  • On-site manual ticketing

To choose your online ticketing, remember to check user fees or bank commissions, whether there is a ticket scanning application for the event entrance and the different options.

For late arrivals, on the other hand, the manual ticketing available on site will be a great help for them to be able to take part in the festival.