Utter the word festival and so many great events spring to mind... Glastonbury... Reading... Nibley Fest... Cheese Rolling... Crufts... Festivals have become a favourite British pastime, popping up all over the land in various guises, shapes and sizes. So if you've got something to celebrate what better way to do it than with your very own mini-festival?
This is an ideal party idea for joint birthday celebrations, anniversaries and fundraisers. Our festival planning guide can help you every step of the way, from the original idea down to the final touches that will make it truly unique.
An Exemplary mini-festival
Pozfest is a mini festival held on the Isle of Wight created as a tribute to Paul Simon Brewer. We think it's a great example of a mini festival and hope it gives you some inspiration and a good idea of what we're aiming at.
Create a Festival Committee
You're going to need some help in planning and running your festival so get people involved at an early stage.
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Entertainment Officer - In charge of finding and booking bands and DJs.
Logistical Genius - Responsible for setting up and running of the festival.
Head of Promotions - Responsible for making sure invites get sent out and tickets are sold.
Before you get into the nitty gritty details it is best to outline a general plan for your festival. Carefully consider the below:
Audience - who do you plan to invite and how many people do you expect to attend?
When & Where - consider potential dates and locations but prepare to be flexible.
Budget - how much do you realistically want to spend and where will the money come from? Will you be paying for it yourself or will you charge friends a small amount for tickets to cover the costs?
Define your Festival Concept
Brainstorm anything and everything you could possibly want in your ideal festival. Maybe sketch out a few plans of how it would be laid out... 3 Stages of music, a firework finale, some enormous projector screens with your face on. Stocks with Piers Morgan and that guy from the go compare advert doing 30 minute shifts...
Find a Venue
What type of Venue do I want? ie. Pub, Club, Field, Indoors, Outdoors...
Where is the Venue located?
How can your festival go-ers get to and from the festival?
Will there be sufficient parking at the venue?
If planning on camping, how many tents can you pitch?
What are the restrictions on capacities?
What are the toilet facilities?
What are the on site food and drink facilities?
How much space is available for Entertainment?
For those of you who, like Michael Eavis, can accommodate a modest 200,000 people in your back garden the venue choice may be obvious. For everyone else a little more planning may be involved.
If you don't already have somewhere in mind check out our venues section.
Barns are a great indoor option, often with plenty of surrounding land to use too.
Quite an important bit, this. You need bands and lots of them. Local bands will often play for free especially if you promise them a good time at your festival, just don't offer them too many free drinks before they've performed!
Find all the equipment you'll need to keep the music pumping all festival long.
If you want to go on all night (and we're sure you will) without getting into trouble then why not have your very own silent disco. Headsets can be rented from just £2 a pair. Check out Silent Arena for hire details.
Although you may want to have a music festival that doesn’t mean it needs to be your only form of entertainment. Here are just a few things you could try to keep people entertained throughout your festival:
Entertainers – Comedians, magicians, contortionists, poets, Am Dram, morris dancers
All the equipment you might need if you fancy having a go at being a festival caterer
Logistics and Planning
Toilets - As a general rule of thumb there should be 1 toilet per 50 people. However, we'd recommend a minimum of 4 in case of any problems.
Temporary Events Notice - If you're selling alcohol and/or playing music late into the night you may need a Temporary Events Notice (TEN). This isn't as difficult as it may sound. You normally just have to fill out the form and send it along with a fee of £21 to your local council and also send a copy to the local Chief Officer of Police. Search for temporary event notices + your local council name to find out more details about getting a TEN in your area.
Safety - Make sure you have first aid equipment on site and that the festival site is easily reachable by ambulance in case of emergencies.
Security - Whilst the ”My dad is bigger than your dad” method of security will work fine for a back garden festival, most venues will need security to ensure the event runs smoothly. Make sure you check with the venue for recommendations.
Power to the People - If your festival is in a rural location and you're not planning some sort of eco-friendly people powered festival then it's likely you'll need a generator to power your electrical devices. There are all sorts of different types available so get in touch with a generator hire company to find out what you'll need.
Rubbish - Make sure you have enough bins and a clear recycling policy. Cans, plastic cups and glasses can be the biggest problem when clearing up. Providing re-usable cups and charging a deposit can really help reduce this. Cater for You have a range of re-usable cups or if you'd like to create some personalised ones for your festival check out Promo Catering's custom printed cups with a minimum order of just 100.
Ensure a safe environment is maintained for your guests.
Top Tips for your mini-Festival
Hay Bales make great seats when you need a rest from dancing - you should be able to pick them up from your local farm for around £3 a bale.
Flags and bunting are a great value way of getting that real festival feel. If you don't have time to make your own you can find all sorts of styles in our party supplies section.
It wouldn't be a real festival without wristbands. Print-a-bands are a good cheap option for customised wristbands with a minimum order of 100.
Selling tickets and handling all that money can be a daunting task. Create an event with an online ticket seller such as Event Brite and guests will be able to purchase their tickets online through your personalised event page.
Every proper festival needs a good chill out area. Think cool drinks, chai tea, beanbags, deckchairs, newspapers, cushions, board games and anything else that fits with your festival theme.
Promotional Time Plan
asap - put the word out about the festival along with potential dates to gauge interest
As soon as date is confirmed - let people know the date so they can keep it free - you don't need to give full details at this stage but just enough to get them interested.
Two months before - make sure guests have committed by purchasing their tickets.
Two weeks before - create some excitement around the event by letting everyone know the full details including line up and entertainment.
Final week - remind guests of times, transport arrangements, sleeping, what to bring etc.
Naming your Festival
There are a number of approaches you can take to this, some just go for the place the Festival is held... Glastonbury, Nibley Fest, others go for something relating to the festival... Secret Garden Party (its in a secret garden), Truck fest (the main stage is a truck)... Others have plumped for edgy words (Latitude, Sonisphere), states of mind (Big Chill) or even misspelt particles (Oxegen).
Promoting your Festival
Your festival is nearly ready to go. Now its time to make sure people know about it!
Creating a facebook group is a great way to invite people and keep the information together but you need to work a bit harder if you want to ensure your festival is a sell out. Start by inviting a small group of friends who you know will attend and drum up some excitement on the group wall. Then invite friends in batches and make sure you speak to key members in the group directly so they get behind it.
You also need to try to get friends to commit and buy tickets as early as possible so consider offering a discount or special prize for the first x number of people to buy tickets.
Have we missed anything? We'd love to hear your own tips and advice for putting on a mini-festival so please use the comments.
Add a Listing
Do you offer mini-festival related services? Perhaps you have a band, marquee or land for hire? If so you can create a free listing here