As some of you might have already seen, earlier this month we released a new book called The Festival Thrower’s Bible. We partnered with Tucker Gumber, aka The Festival Guy, to create a 154 page, illustrated guide on best practices to help festival producers throw world-class events.
The book is already garnering fantastic reviews, and has picked up some steam within the media. And we’re on a mission to get this book out there — to really shout it from the mountaintops. Because not only are we extremely proud of the result here, but also we honestly believe that this book is going to help festivals be better.
For some of you more veteran industry pros, you might think — “I’ve got this covered.” But we promise that every festival can learn at least one thing from this book, whether it’s implementing a new water tax, a new cleanup tactic, or even something about security and drug safety.
So if you haven’t already bought a copy for yourself — which I, for one, highly recommend 🙂 — what kinds of things will you learn from this book? Well, lucky for you, we’ve gone through and picked a few of our favorite quotes from the book that will give you a better idea of what you’ll learn.
So what are these quotes you speak of? Well, let’s dive in!
“Is your audience energetic or mellow? Conservative or hippie? Old-school or modern?”
Tucker speaks early on in the book about one of the most important parts of planning your festival — your brand. First and foremost, you have to find out who it is that’s attending your festival.
Once you’ve decided that, you can start building your lineup and your brand. It’s tragic to see festivals with brand confusion, completely contradicting lineups and sponsors that just don’t make sense. Brand is CRUCIAL — so make sure you don’t lie to yourself about your audience. Because if you blow it early on, it can be incredibly hard to recover.
“The two words you want your festivalgoers to use to describe your venue are ‘easy’ and ‘comfortable.’ The easier your festival is to attend and the more comfortable festivalgoers are during it, the more each person will want to come back for years to come.”
From the initial planning phases of your festival, all the way up until the last park bench or traffic cone is put up, you should be thinking about flow, ease of travel and comfort of your guests. Think about any festival you’ve been to where you weren’t able to easily get around. I can think of a few off the top of my head that I’ve been to, that immediately make me anxious just even thinking about it. A festival without good flow can cause what The Festival Guy calls “moving claustrophobia”, and I can attest — it is a very real, and very unpleasant experience.
In the book, Tucker dives into simpler ideas like including grass and benches to sit, to more complex areas like stage location, music viewing experience and designs of your walkways to enhance your patrons’ experience and cut down on crowding and bottlenecked areas.
“Are bathrooms really getting their own chapter? You bet your ass they are.”
To be honest, this is one of my favorite chapters in the book. Bathroom situations at festivals, by and large, are terrible, terrible places where dreams go to die. They’re so bad in fact, that patrons sometimes will go days without using the bathroom just because conditions are so poor.
Tucker sheds some great light on the bathroom situation at festivals, and how to make it better — one way is to actually shed some light on the bathrooms by including lights in the porta-potties. Probably easier to be a bit more clean and careful when you can see what you’re doing, yes? Yes.
“The earlier each festivalgoer shows up at your venue, the more opportunity they have to spend money at your festival. Your opening artists will greatly appreciate the effort when there are people there to watch their show.”
I chose this quote because I think it reminds us of something very important — you obviously want to create a magical festival experience for your patrons with music, art, great food and a captivating and comfortable space. But you also want them to buy things — whether that’s food and beverage, merch or anything else your vendors might be selling.
The book is chock-full of great recommendations to maximize your impact when it comes to sales, including this idea to add some great artists at the beginning of the day to get patrons in the doors earlier. He’s got some other great recs as well, such as holding acoustic sets from bigger name bands during the day, giving special deals for entering the festival before a certain time, or even hosting events to draw an earlier crowd.
“Internet connectivity is no longer option — it’s mission critical”
There are some really great sections of the book that dive into specifics of tech at festivals. We all know how big tech is at festivals now. Most people will give you vague advice like, “you need to have internet.” Right, thanks captain. But Tucker and guest author Ashton Burnette of TOURtech dive into specifics like what kind of upload speed they recommend, where to place your wireless zones… let’s just say it gets technical. Where else are you going to get such straightforward info?
“They can’t keep drugs out of prison, but you think you can keep them out of your festival? What are you smokin’?”
This is an issue that I believe to be one of the most important in festivals today. For whatever reason, people tend to shy away from this topic and take a “crackdown” approach. Tucker has a whole chapter dedicated to this — how to handle drugs and how to be prepared for it (not just with police officers, but with medical and other support’).
#Leavenotraceplus1: The motto that ended the festival trash epidemic
Last but not least, Tucker has some really incredible ideas around keeping your festival green through some really innovative new policies he’s proposed. From litter shaming, to a “leave no trace plus 1” policy (where you pick up your trash along with trash for someone else), to water bottle policies, he really has some cool and unique ideas on how to reduce trash at your festival.
So whether you’re an experienced festival thrower, or just getting started, check out the book and see what you think. You’re able to preview the first 45 pages of the book on Blurb, so what’s there to lose!? I can almost guarantee that you’ll be learning something new in those first few pages, and if not — the book is a fun read with some awesome illustrations by local SF artist, Andrew Steers.