Festival Planning Hints and Tips from FestForward
At VolunteerSpot, we power festivals big and small around the country - from one-day community events like the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, to multi-day international events like the Long Beach International Film Festival. We wanted to learn more and went to the experts at FestForward.
Laurie Kirby and Stuart MacNaught, two long time veterans in the festival space, saw the diversity of festivals and lack of a centralized network and community and created FestForward, a conference dedicated to festival organizers. On Sunday, November 22, over 500 attendees gathered in Santa Barbara to learn from one another over the course of three days while participating and enjoying dozens of panels, speakers, a hackathon, live music, wine and beer tastings and a “Best of Fests” Award Ceremony.
Highlights included Lesa Ukman, a leading authority on sponsorships, who led an intimate panel that helped festivals better understand how to approach sponsors and execute sponsorship proposals, and Scott Mirkin, one of America’s most successful event producers, sharing his thoughts on the importance and evolution of technology in festivals.
The diversity of festivals is impressive and that’s before you consider the people and companies who bring them to life. From tiny non-profits, which can be staffed almost entirely by volunteers and rely on donations or fundraisers for support, to large for-profit organizations with legions of paid staff with healthy budgets and big name sponsors that can generate millions of dollars in revenue.
Not surprisingly many of these festivals and their organizers face a number of similar challenges including sponsorship activation, staffing, volunteer organization and most importantly delivering a great experience to attendees. A number of vendors were on hand at FestForward to show off their solutions for addressing these issues including Eventbase, a company that specializes in designing world class apps for festivals of all shapes and sizes. In addition to building custom apps for events like SXSW, the London Olympics and Sundance they also offer a free version for those who might have a slightly smaller budget.
Based on the success of this year’s event dates have already been announced for next year’s conference which will take place November 20 – 22 in Santa Barbara. For more details, please visit: http://www.aboutfest.com/home.html