Every daydreamer and music devotee has wondered: what would the line-up be at my fantasy festival?
Now, whilst Patti Smith might be outside your budget and Elliott Smith is sadly unavailable, at Raptor Sound we’ve made small grass-roots festivals something of a speciality, so we know that creating a small festival of your own is not at all out of reach. We’ve even put together a little guide to help you plan it.
First, you need to figure out exactly what your dream festival is going to be about. Is it a pure music bonanza? Does it include theatre? Stand up? A circus? Cinema? Dancing? Fairground rides? Once you’ve got this clear, you can settle on a festival name.
Festivals can be made or undone by their names. As much as it might please him to have his name on a poster, Davefest is unlikely to be a winner. Try to capture the essence of what you want the festival to be about. And if nothing cool-sounding offers itself up, try deciding the type of venue you need and where it will be – that’s certainly worked for naming some festivals!
Not everybody has access to a huge muddy field or a private island, so you need to be smart about where you set your festival. Do you want a big stage? An intimate setting? A round? You’ll likely want to match your venue with your theme, but you also want to remember how much you can transform your venue with your decoration.
Creating an aesthetic is a massive part of any festival – imagine Reading and Leeds without that iconic yellow background. You’ll want a logo that evokes what the festival is about, displays and on-site decoration to create exactly the feel and tone you want the festival to have. Or maybe you want it to be totally bare, minimalist, ready for your festival-goers to set the tone.
As we’ve established, the Smiths are a no-go. But you might be surprised how many good local or even not-so-local bands would be interested in the exposure a small festival offers. Not to mention how cool having a good spot on a festival bill would make them feel. Be ambitious about who you’d really love to hear – the worst case scenario can’t be that bad.
Which leads us to the sound. For a festival, the quality of your sound is not something to ever compromise on. You need to be able to hear every note, and expertly control the volume and reach of the sound. On the other hand, there’s going to be a lot happening around you and a lot to do in perpetration, so you really need sound people who are professional, experienced and who can work around you and just get on.
So, now you’ve got your whole festival planned, let’s make it a reality!