Got a feeling festivals might be your thing? Have a passion for performing arts and delivery of sound and vision spectaculars? Want the chance to work alongside celebrities – possibly anywhere in the world? Then the good news is that the number of festivals across the globe is growing year-on-year and expanding right alongside are the opportunities for successful festival managers.
A Day in the Life of a Festival Director
Ok, you’re on to us … if the job was simple enough that we could define a typical day in the role, then it would be a job that everyone was doing, right? The thing is, being a festival director is a challenging role – and part of the challenge comes from the huge logistics involved in organising a festival event.
Of course, it’s possible to provide a basic list of tasks that may certainly be involved, but as you read them, bear in mind that these tasks crop up relentlessly and in the context of needing to: trouble-shoot; find creative, original options and solutions; fit in with the event’s overall purpose; adhere to, environmental restrictions – oh and manage whole teams of personnel, suppliers and contractors – and that’s before you get to performers and attendees! So, at any given time you could be involved in:
- Client meetings and festival development and branding.
- Creating innovative proposals, then pitching and planning responsively.
- Attracting and engaging sponsors.
- Budgeting and financial management.
- Venue research and management – including liaising with councils, environmental agencies and emergency services for permissions and licences.
- Sourcing suppliers, contractors, contributors, and caterers.
- Marketing, promotion and publicising.
- Working with and facilitating celebrities.
- Risk assessing, and health and safety management.
- Ticketing and security.
- Establishing protocols and routines for safe setting up and clearing up.
- Developing eco-friendly practice with minimal environmental impact.
- Evaluation and follow up with sponsors, attendees etc.
Remember, these are just some of the facets of festival management. There will always be more, but with the right kind of event qualification, specifically one which includes a marketing focus and CIM accreditation, you can gain the professional skills you need.
How to Get into Festival Management
At Event Academy, we’re here to support your events career, so we’re not going to spoil that relationship right at the start by lying to you … because we’d be lying if we said that festivals are an easy field to get into.
The truth is, in tune with the fast growth of festival popularity, comes the rapid rise in competition for festival event roles. So, whilst it’s always important to stand out when applying for event roles, you really have to put yourself in the spotlight when it comes to getting a festival event role. The good news though is you can help things along by gaining:
- Experience – attending festivals is fine, but get relevant experience from the delivery side of the festival, through volunteering and work-experience if you can.
- An industry-related qualification in event management – like one of our CIM-accredited event management qualifications. Successfully completing one of our courses provides knowledge about the fundamentals of event management which you need to know, such as health and safety, logistics, marketing, and promotion, as well as developing your work-ready skills so you have the practical skills and professional knowledge to start finding your future in festivals.
- A network of contacts – volunteering doesn’t just bring you experience, it puts you right in the place you want to be and gives you the chance to spend time alongside others who can support your career. All our lecturers offer a vast network of contacts for you to tap into and completing our courses guarantees you’ll also end up with a fast-developing professional network of your own.
- Focusing on festivals – all of our courses will help you experience those fundamentals which underpin all types of events, including festivals, and we can often arrange work experience within festival management (for our Postgraduate and Degree-Alternative students). Additionally, if you want to know more or if you’re moving into festivals from another sector of events, we also offer opportunities to boost your festival focus and extend your industry links with a Festival Masterclass Course.
Festival Event Management Opportunities - from Exciting Roles to Big-Name Brands and Companies
Festival event management encompasses many roles and may include job titles which fit in with other arts and entertainment event roles. These might include (but certainly aren’t limited to):
- Event Director / Assistant
- Festival Director / Assistant
- Festival Organiser
- Content Director / Assistant
- Production Manager
- Event Producer
As festivals are a fast-developing way of engaging an audience many companies, including big-name brands, employ festival managers. For example, Glastonbury is just as much a good cause as a great festival and many charities, such as Oxfam, are directly involved in the festival.
And of course, although we automatically associate festival-going with music (because we do love our music festivals here in the UK), there’s an increasing demand for food, wine, beer, film, history, hobbies and arts festivals sponsored or run by big-name companies who are always on the lookout for new talent and new ideas when it comes to festival production.
Check out how Johnny Grant, Creative Director at The Department manages all aspect of events for big names such as the BBC, Party-in-the-Park and Glastonbury Festival – and works regularly with Event Academy students on Postgraduate work placements.
Festival Management - Our Expert Lecturers
At Event Academy, we’re all about learning through experience – and we don’t just mean your own! All our lecturers are event industry experts, delivering live events as well as lecturing for us … so you can learn through their experiences too.
Our lecturers also offer their own areas of expertise – so if you’re looking to become a festival event manager, you’ll be learning from those who are centre stage in delivering successful festivals:
- Martin Turner – Senior Lecturer Martin Turner is known for his dynamic, informative lectures which capture both the excitement and challenge of festival management. Martin’s combination of enthusiasm, wisdom, and use of analogies really helps would-be event managers to understand the professional practice that’s involved in events. His experience and inimitable style have made Martin a career role model for many of our students, including alumni Matt King, who studied the Diploma in Event Management with us.
- Dan Wilson – Festivals don’t come much bigger than Bestival and one of the key professionals behind this event (amongst others in his 20-year career) is also one of our lecturers. Event Producer Dan specialises in those strategic aspects which are essential for outdoor events such as festivals – including Quality, Health and Safety, Environmental & Sustainability management – and has a way of putting fun into the essential understanding of these festival fundamentals!
And of course, our lecturers don’t just stand up and tell you all about it, they also show you with on-site visits to events they’re involved in, something which has a real impact both on your learning experience and your professional experience, as alumni Hayley found on her Postgraduate course:
“It’s brilliant to see how the lecturers actually work when they are on site.”
Our courses readily include this level of immersion with the work of professional event managers, because our aim is simple: this experiential basis for all of our learning content should really enhance your own knowledge, practice, network, opportunities, and prospects when it comes to stepping into the festival management spotlight!