Every festival, large or small, needs a good festival business plan. Without one, you’ll be at a disadvantage as you start approaching vendors and sponsors, pricing your tickets, and even articulating your value through your promotions and press.
Putting a festival business plan together can be time-consuming — but it’s well worth the effort. A solid business plan helps you focus on your event’s purpose and goals, determine its financial viability and potential, and map out the resources required to deliver it.
Here is some guidance on what information your festival business plan should contain along with tips on how to write it.
The elements of a festival business plan
Your business plan should be a comprehensive document, with enough detail to answer any questions from potential partners or new team members. The following are the most important elements you should include.
1. Executive summary
The executive summary is a thorough yet succinct overview of your event and acts as an introduction to both your festival and you, the event creator. It should be a minimum of one page (but no more than 10% of your whole document) and covers:
- What your event is and where/when it’ll take place
- Your festival’s mission and objectives
- How it benefits the local community
- Who you and your team are
- Your estimated income and expenditure
2. Background and history
This section provides you with the opportunity to go more in-depth about your event’s history and your own background, including past experience and event successes.
3. Event overview
Here, you’ll want to break down your festival’s mission, objectives, target market, and stakeholder involvement. You can also describe the event in more detail.
4. Event requirements
This is where you’ll list out all the details of your festival’s requirements, from venue rental to production, to legal and insurance, down to the nitty-gritty of A/V equipment.
5. Marketing plan
How are you going to promote your event? In this section, you’ll break down your strategy for selling tickets. Details include:
6. Budget breakdown
The only true way to project whether you’re going to be profitable or not is by breaking down your festival budget. Your budget might not be fully confirmed when you first put this document together, so be sure to update it with the latest data as you go (especially after your festival ends).
Include non-vital information like a festival map, other market research, or reports that don’t fit in with the rest of your festival business plan here.
Tips for writing a compelling festival business plan
Your business plan is a tactical document, but it’s also your festival’s identity captured on paper. So while the language you use should always be professional, it should also be in line with your festival’s brand. That means you should:
- Clearly differentiate yourself. There are more and more festivals popping up each year, and in order to really stand out, you need to be clear on what sets you apart
- Show your festival’s market opportunity for partners. Your event provides something that no digital campaign ever can: face-to-face, distraction-free interaction with your attendees (their customers). Be sure to show sponsors the value of your event
- Showcase your team’s talent. Half the reason you’re able to do what you do is because of your awesome team. Be sure to highlight their skills and past experiences in order to convince partners and sponsors that you’ve got this
How to stand out in a sea of events
In a saturated market, events that don’t nail the attendee experiences become irrelevant. Discover how to stand out in Stay Relevant: 6 Event Trends Shaping the Future of Festivals.