8 Do’s & Don'ts When Planning a Summer Festival

May 20, 2019
By: Marquee Event Rentals


Whether you’re planning your first or 300th festival event, you’ll find these best practices helpful! Our festival event rental pros share top do’s and don’ts.

Outdoor events are a booming business. According to Billboard, more than 32 million people in the U.S. attend at least one festival each year. In addition to internationally-known events such as Lollapalooza in Chicago, or Summerfest in Milwaukee, there are also countless art fairs, beer fests, and local community celebrations. Whether you’re planning your first summer festival or looking for ways to improve a previous event, here are some top event planning tips from the experienced pros at Marquee:

Do - Consider the ages of your target demographic
Defining your target demographic can help you identify what to rent for your outdoor festival event. For example, if your event is geared toward families with young children, you may want a snow cone or popcorn machine and chairs for the kids. Other amenities to consider (depending on your target audience) may include a:

  • VIP area for sponsors
  • Well-shaded area for guests
  • Lounge area with comfy furniture

Don’t - Try to be all things to all people
Choosing a theme and a target demographic can help you stay focused and avoid overextending your budget or overtaxing your staff. A single focus such as “eco-friendly fun,” “local pride,” or “3 Days of Aloha,” can make planning easier and help guests quickly grasp what to expect at your event.

Do - Plan for bad weather
Consult a local event expert to confirm the safety requirements for your local area. Most venues require an evacuation plan, and some may require a lightning detection system and/or fire prevention measures. Other amenities to consider:

Do - Manage your ticket inventory
Set aside tickets for sponsors, important clients, volunteers, and last-minute VIPs before the event sells out. An event that exceeds its capacity creates a poor experience for attendees and may violate local laws. If you’re not sure how many tickets you’ll need to set aside, a good rule of thumb is 10 to 15 percent.

Don’t - Assume guests will be on their best behavior
Consider hiring security and, if applicable, assign staff to direct traffic and manage parking. If your event includes the sale or consumption of adult beverages, hire professional bartenders who can help prevent guests from over-imbibing. Crowd control products, such as barricades, stanchions and fencing, are also a terrific way to keep the festival safe and running smoothly.

Do - Create a safe, accessible space
Ensure your event adheres to accessibility regulations and provide plenty of water stations for guests and staff. If the festival location is large or includes multiple event spaces, create maps that note the location of bathrooms, water stations, performance venues, emergency exits, and areas where guests can go if they need assistance. Post the maps to your website, social media, and throughout the event space.

Don’t - Skimp on bathroom facilities
Clean and plentiful restroom facilities are essential to a successful event. If bathroom facilities are in an inconvenient location, or if portable toilets are overused or inadequately maintained, you can expect negative feedback from guests.

Do - Provide extra amenities for staff and volunteers
Volunteers and staff are the faces of your event. Keep them comfortable and happy by creating a staff-only break area with a cooling station, tables, chairs, and restrooms.

We hope the tips above help you plan a successful festival. If you have questions about festival event rentals, please let us know. We’ve provided tents and festival staging for Veggie Fest Chicago, Kansas City’s Irish Festival, and the Country Club Plaza Art Fair in addition to featured events for NASCAR, the Ryder Cup, and the Kansas City Royals.

No event is too large or too small. Contact a local event planning expert in Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio today.