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Festivals Toolkit: Ideas and concepts: Getting started

Draft Proposal – This is a document which outlines your plan for the festival with the key details of when and where, a draft programme of events, a draft marketing plan and an estimated budget.

Artistic Policy - This document is a statement that encompasses the festival's aims and objectives and artistic vision.

Committee - Bringing together a steady group of about six people on a steering committee is essential. Beyond that, a host of other volunteers for smaller tasks before, during, and after the festival is usually a good idea. It does help to have a project manager - someone who will keep track of every aspect of the festival and keep things rolling on schedule. You will need to identify three post holders to begin with: a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.

Constitution - In most cases, you will need to consider the benefits of setting up a ‘not for profit’ organisation. One of the key considerations should be the liability to which organisers – committee members/board members and staff, whether voluntary or paid – are exposed as a result of working on the event. Two of the key requirements for this will be an Artistic Policy and a Committee. This is discussed in more detail in the Organisation section.

Things to consider
Below are some of the areas of administration, production and event management you might need to consider depending on the scale of your festival. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but will help you get started on the major points:


  • Indoor / outdoor
  • Capacity
  • Access
  • Transport

Event Management

  • Staging
  • Marquees
  • Barriers
  • Generators
  • Technical Staff
  • PA/light
  • Toilets


  • Overall budget
  • Cashflow forecasting

Income: from earned sources to fundraising and sponsorship



  • Artists
  • Performers
  • Scheduling
  • Welcome packs for artists
  • Contracts for artists

Admin & Staffing

Box Office & Marketing

And the rest…

  • Accommodation and Travel
  • Beer and food

The different sections of the Toolkit will provide you with initial guidance and suggestions for how to develop your work in these areas.

Further Information

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