Woodstock ’69 is arguably the most famous music festival ever held, but even though it’s been nearly 50 years since the Summer of Love, mega music festivals are more popular than ever. With hundreds of thousands of attendees, some of the biggest names in music, and countless logistics to account for, events such as South By Southwest, Lollapalooza, and Coachella require a year-round team of dedicated individuals to ensure these multi-day festivals are a complete success. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is one of today’s most popular festivals. Founded in 2002, and held annually in Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo attracts approximately 80,000 music lovers and draws major acts ranging from Elton John and Radiohead to Paul McCartney and Kanye West. Entrepreneur recently sat down with one of the founders of Bonnaroo, Rick Farman, to discuss exactly what it takes to host a blockbuster bash. Surprisingly, many of Farman’s main points apply whether you’re hosting a mega-festival or a backyard soiree:
1.) The event starts with your first contact with the audience.
“Forget the idea that events last just one night. Whether it be a launch party or your annual holiday soiree, an event spans from the moment you announce it until you receive feedback.”
2.) Differentiate your event.
“Forgo the standard launch event at a bar and opt for something outside the box.”
3.) Add value.
“Your event needs to provide some sort of benefit. There should be an answer to why consumers should attend.”
4.) Location is key.
“Make sure the location is one that makes sense for your audience.”
5.) Have faith in your team.
“Whether it is your co-founders or the people you hire, make sure you trust your team.”
6.) Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
“Something can always go wrong, and it’s a good idea to have a few plans in place for particular situations.”
7.) If you make a mistake, fess up.
“People aren’t perfect and neither are events. If you mess up, own up to the error.”
8.) Get feedback.
“After events, especially the first one, it is imperative to get feedback from your staff and audience, as it will play a key role in improving the next one.”
9.) Just breathe.
“It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of producing an event — the euphoria of execution to worrying about details.