As we’ve explained in an earlier post, running your own festival is actually far more possible than many assume.
With genuine passion and determination, and a little help from the right professionals, you can take the power back from massive festivals like Glastonbury and create exactly the kind of festival you really want to attend.
But this realisation does prompt questions.
Like why do you want to start a festival?
Is it just to say you did?
Is it to bring some life to your town?
Whatever the particulars, it’s important to realise that all the most successful festivals today start with the ‘why’, not the ‘how’.
So before you even start thinking about the logistics of your festival, it’s important that we really think about what your festival is going to stand for.
Now, you might be wondering why a festival has to stand for anything?
What does Glastonbury ‘stand for’, for example?
But the fact is, major festivals stand for themselves – they exist as institutions, as symbols of their own history, and for any act playing Glastonbury means something regardless of the beliefs of the current promoters.
And if we think about the new era of festivals, from Boomtown to Coachella or Burning Man, they all have a purpose, a distinct flavour of their own.
So what is yours?
It’s not as if every festival has to have a major political or ethical motivation – it just has to mean something specific.
Below are a few suggestions to get you thinking…
In five years time, is your festival going to represent an important platform for local talent? If so, why not forefront that in your thinking?
Feel strongly about an ethical issue – vegan, political, whatever it happens to be – a sure fire way of giving your festival direction, purpose and an in-built audience is to dedicate it to a particular cause close to your heart!
Is there a local cause – a beloved business struggling, a library losing funding – close to your heart? Why not mobilise support for it by making it the focal point of your festival!
Charities can be the most powerful motivators, and the best causes to bring people together. Whether it’s something that’s affected you personally, or a particularly important concern for your community, a charity could be the perfect reason for your festival to exist!
Once you’ve established the ‘why’, you can start thinking about the ‘how’ – how do you integrate these themes into your festival? How do you make sure people understand what your festival stands for?