Imagine yourself surrounded by people dancing in the sunshine, chilled and bronzed, everyone’s smiling. There are also spaces to sit and indulge in some people-watching. There are couples, groups of mates who’ve clearly known each other for years, people are laughing and having the time of their lives. Then imagine you made that happen – you’re the festival manager and you co-ordinated all the acts, all the tents, stalls and stages.
It’s Glastonbury this week and we’re excited (just ask Karin, our Head of Recruitment and resident festival queen!) If you live for each of the big festivals coming around again each year and you love the challenge of organising people then a career in festival management could be for you.
Competitive stance in a growing industry
Managing festivals is big business, with numbers of festivals increasing each year in the UK and across Europe. Increasing attendee numbers means more and more jobs are available in festival management, with increasing pressure on festival managers to deliver both revenue and the ultimate attendee experience.
The role demands a fantastic mix of creative and organisational skills to bring an amazing experience completely to life for your attendees. It’s a desirable job so if you’re serious about a career in festivals, you need to know the competition is fierce. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to know the events industry inside out, including the specialist niches relating to festivals so you can prove you’ll be an asset from day 1. That’s exactly why we run a module devoted to festivals as part of our postgraduate and diploma courses, to give you the understanding of how it works on the ground.
What do you need to launch your career?
Firstly, you need to know how different festivals work and what attendees expect. Also, you’ll need to be able to manage people traffic around the site. Remember access to bars, food, popular stages and toilets can become a flash point if not managed well. And just knowing the theory isn’t enough, it needs to be locked into your muscle memory so you can spot and deal with potential problems in the planning stages and not at the event, when it’s too late.
On top of getting the festival going in the first place, organisers are increasingly expected to be environmentally savvy and to include ways to reduce the ecological and social impact on the festival site and surrounding communities. To demonstrate your competitive edge you must know the latest trends in the industry and that you have a problem solving approach. For example, do you know anything about UK based suppliers of eco-friendly disposal drinks cups? And how would you deal with a local community opposed to a nearby festival, but who also stand to benefit from the increased tourism and trade to local businesses?
Build your reputation so you already know the right people
Making contacts and making sure your face is known is just as important as attending lectures. Get yourself known by volunteering, the opportunities we offer our student include festivals, sporting events like the London Marathon, fundraising events and more. Not only do you increase your experience when you volunteer, you also get to meet people already working in the industry. Make an impression on them and they’ll know they can rely on you next time they need staff.
We share a raft of volunteering opportunities that we hear about through our lecturers (who all work in events themselves), our partner organisations and our past students. They all know that Event Academy students can walk right into the role and deliver what’s needed, so they keep coming back to us for volunteers.
If you’re inspired by a career in festivals, get in touch once you’re back from Glasto and find out about our courses. You can study online or attend the live courses and choose a time commitment that fits with the rest of your life. You really could be looking out over the festival you brought to life …