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How to Throw a Coachella-Worthy Festival

Coachella is a festival that makes a ton of money. We’re talking more than $100 million in gross profits. Known for Instagram selfies and trending new artists, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a well-attended, huge event.


However, if your event company is thinking about trying to host a music festival, it’s not as easy as you might think. You have music talent to wrangle, logistics to figure out, security detail to hire, and parking issues to fix.

But if you’re ready to jump in and learn more about how you can make a big impact with your festival, keep reading. We can’t guarantee Coachella levels of success off the bat, but we promise these tips will lead to a great event.

Know Your Timeline

Look, all great events take time. It takes months to book musical talent, vendors, and the venue itself. If you’re trying to plan a big event, it may even take a year. What’s more, marketing the event and selling tickets takes time, too.

Figure Out Your Ticketing

For the best guest experience, it’s important that it’s easy to buy tickets for your event and move around within the event. For example, you might want to consider giving your guests cloth wristbands with integrated RFID technology if you really want to make your event stand out.

Also, specialized bracelets can give people access to VIP areas and other in-festival experiences. It’s a way to make the event seamless for attendees, so people can focus on making memories.

Calculate How Much Space You Need

Besides the actual stage where the talent will perform, you’re also going to need to figure out where the bathrooms will go, where vendors will go, and campground locations.

Establish the Budget for Your Festival

Don’t let your festival turn into the Fyre Festival. It’s important to get a mix of up-and-coming local artists in addition to a big act or two. You don’t want to go over your budget by splurging where it doesn’t make sense. You’ll also need to consider hidden costs like permits, any vendor costs, and insurance.

Decide on the General Flow of the Festival

People attending your event need food, beverages, trash cans, access to first aid, merchandise, and restrooms.

Hire Security and Erect Barriers

You need security for a lot more than putting a stop to pesky teens trying to climb over barriers to get into your event for free. You also need to make sure the crowd stays safe and there are no unruly people making the festival dangerous for others. It’s also a good idea to put up a tent or a few tents where people can get first aid, report theft or lost and found items, and so on.

Start the Marketing Campaign for Your Festival

In order to make a return on your event, it’s important to establish your marketing strategy early on in your advertising efforts. For example, you’ll need social media advertising, ads in your local paper, email marketing, and digital advertising.


It’s also a good idea to team up with the public relations people for the talent you’re booking for the event. They can help to coordinate your advertising efforts.

festival attendees

Festival Planning Is Unique

Festival planning isn’t necessarily like other events such as weddings or parties. It’s a highly specialized and involved form of event planning requiring expertise in organization and management. It’s critical to have industry experience and so you can network with people who can connect you to the talent and staff required for the event.

Before you decide to host your own musical festival, it makes sense to try and partner up with an experienced group of planners at national and local festivals to gain experience. Plus, the people you meet during those work experiences may become a pool of professional talent you can draw from when you’re planning your festival.

Final Thoughts

Planning a music festival is a huge undertaking, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It involves a huge investment of time and money to successfully pull off.

However, if you have the experience and professional network to tap into for an event, it can be fun and rewarding. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan your event marketing. Then stick to a strict budget, and be sure to account for hiccups.

It’s important to be flexible because events are prone to mishaps like bad weather, cancelled musical acts, and other such “acts of God.” But by using this list, you’ll be able to put on a successful festival that attendees will be talking about for years to come.