A Complete Guide to Music Festival Logistics

Ed Budds
Ed Budds - Editor
At A Glance
  • Requiring a monumental amount of work, festival organisers must be able to manage large numbers of staff and equipment and plan the setup of complex infrastructure, often in remote areas.
  • We examine some of the key logistical areas that must be studiously prepared for when organising a successful UK music festival.

We compile a comprehensive guide on how to effectively plan and prepare the logistical elements of a music festival. From talent acquisition to security and location scouting, we detail all the essential information.

The distant sight of summer on the horizon signals festival season across the UK as the nation grabs its wellies and gets ready to party at one of the many music events taking place across the country.  

Whatever your musical taste, be it rock, pop, hip-hop, house, or anything in between, there’s a perfect event for everyone. Indeed, whether your heart desires to get stuck into the middle of the action, deep in the mosh pits, or you prefer a serene, seated view of things, British festivals continue to offer the entire spectrum of musical diversity. 

Every summer season, come rain or shine, the nation witnesses hundreds of thousands of music lovers united in a field, park, or innovative city location, celebrating the incredible sound of their favourite artists.  

From world-renowned mega-events like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and the Isle of Wight Festival to the newer surfing festival, Boardmasters, or family-friendly Camp Bestival and Latitude, there’s an event to suit every age range and demographic, as the biggest acts across the globe descend on the UK to take part in these iconic gatherings. In terms of the meticulous preparation for these gigantic spectacles, nothing can be left to chance. A complex network of components must be perfect in order to offer the best shows, guarantee the safety of everyone who has paid to live the experience, and make sure everything runs smoothly. This is sometimes not the easiest challenge, and the planning and preparation of a successful music festival is a great logistical mission for its organisers. 

Requiring a monumental amount of intense work before, during, and after the event, which often remains invisible to the general public, festival organisers must be able to comprehensively manage large numbers of staff and equipment and facilitate effective mobility, as well as plan the setup of complex infrastructure, often in remote places and adverse weather conditions. 

We examine some of the key logistical areas that must be studiously prepared for when organising a successful UK music festival.   

Festival music band.


Choosing a venue should be at the top of any festival logistics checklist. 

  • Location — A festival must be situated somewhere that suits your goals, and if a large number of attendees are expected to travel to get there, you need a location with a variety of convenient transport links nearby. 
  • Mock-up — When dealing with an expansive area and numerous different activities and performances, it becomes important to visualise your space with a site map. The most important thing is to make sure that it’s accurately scaled and easy to read. 
  • Equipment — An element that is often overlooked in the logistics planning department is festival equipment. Artists and vendors will undoubtedly be carting large electrical apparatus, sound gear, stage setup, and booth materials into the venue. For this, there’s no better way to organise the surplus hardware than with reusable, plastic, collapsible bulk boxes. 


You can’t have a festival without headliners, and while designing an event’s lineup is definitely one of the most exciting parts of the planning stage,  it also requires juggling lots of scheduling responsibilities.   

Pitch — The most affordable way to book talent is to reach out to acts directly by creating a succinct, well-organised pitch that outlines your event and can be sent to desired artists. For events on a bigger budget, partnering with a booking agency can be a good way to secure performers. 

Schedule — A smooth, well-organised festival depends on smart scheduling. Not only is it key to ensure that attendees get to see all the artists that they want to see, it also guarantees that festival staff are scheduled and deployed at the appropriate times. 

Enhance — The best festivals feature more than just glamorous headliners; they also showcase compelling extras that might convert a previously on-the-fence fan to a committed devotee. A range of diverse activities and spectacles, such as art installations, water features, outdoor film screenings, or pop-up shops keep guests engaged between big performances.

Installation of stage equipment and preparing for a live concert


Once a date is set, it’s then time to consider ticketing. To generate buzz for your event, it’s often a good idea to offer presale tickets to a select group of fans or attendees. It is also vital to ensure the use of a reliable, easy-to-use online ticketing platform to minimise customer service issues.  

  • Attendee flow — Anyone who has ever been to a large event of any kind will know that getting in and out of the arena or location is one of the most challenging and often stressful parts of the experience. Before the festival starts, it is important to create a detailed plan of how to funnel guests to where they need to go without causing heavy traffic and to identify and clearly signpost all exits. 
  • Scanners — If you’ve sold over a few hundred tickets, you will undoubtedly require an investment in ticket scanners to ensure that event-goers get through the gates quickly, safely, and efficiently.  
  • Security — Security teams play a crucial role in managing the crowd by controlling the flow of people in and out of the festival grounds. They also ensure that visitors are not overcrowded and maintain order in the event of an emergency. 
  • Payments — Accepting all forms of payment, both on-site and online, will help boost overall event sales. Not only will this make it easier for customers to secure tickets, but it will also make an event look more reputable and legitimate. Many festivals also now offer staggered payment plans, which can help increase sales.


Consumer experience and, most importantly, the simple power of enjoyment, is everything in the event-planning world. Festival visitors spend a huge amount of money on their tickets and often consider these events as an escape or retreat from everyday life. Therefore, organisers cannot afford to make crucial services, artist performances, key information, and food a hassle to find. 

  • Information — Any festival setup must include numerous accessible information hubs so that festival-goers can seek guidance when they need it. Additionally, information booth workers should provide maps and flyers, and be able to quickly direct attendees to medical services, lost and found, security, and other on-site facilities. Furthermore, all this information must also be easily available on the event website or app. 
  • Customer service — It is absolutely essential to designate a few trusted members of event staff as customer service professionals so that volunteers and other attendees can direct any conflicts or issues to a specific person. The festival must simultaneously have a clear strategy in place for how to handle issues with ticketing, entry, vendors, and more. 
  • Personalisation — Every festival should aim to create a truly unique and memorable experience by adding a personal touch.


Once everything else is prepared and ready, it’s essential to effectively market the event and start to build excitement as far in advance as possible. This shouldn’t pause once the gates open, either. Throughout the preparation process, it is vital to consistently engage audiences on social media platforms, which can lead to locking in the crucial influence of promoters and press coverage. Every festival should be considered as a brand in itself, featuring its own personality, narrative, and goals. 

  • Authenticity — The first rule of event marketing is to remain authentic. A valuable lesson learned from the now infamous Fyre Festival disaster, which spent millions on glitzy marketing materials featuring Kendall Jenner and a fleet of private jets, is that it’s crucial to be upfront and honest with ticketholders every step of the way. 
  • Social — If the target audience of the festival is largely from a digital generation, you cannot afford to underplay social media engagement. Creating a hashtag and incorporating it throughout the event is a key example of something that visitors are more likely to share.  
  • Livestream — Social media potential can be maximised and interest can be enhanced for the following year by livestreaming some of the biggest and most well-attended, iconic festival moments.
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