About once a year I watch a well meaning music festival launch and fail spectacularly. I’m sure you’ve heard of similar such events in your city.
For some reason there is a thought, with some novice promoters, that just because you put on a festival, people will automatically show up. Our friends at Ominocity recently reminded me of how often people make that mistake.
Part one is getting the bands together (which is harder than you think).
Part two is getting the people together.
Unfortunately for promoters there are so many festivals happening that to find an audience you need to market appropriately and have a large-ish headliner to get a decent amount of people out.
All these festivals are great for bands, as now they have more opportunities to play, but unless you’re in a band with a bigger draw the pay can still be quite small. Still it could be worth it when you see your band’s name on a bill with a bigger band.
When someone makes this type of investment you have to market appropriately and make sure you leave room to grow. Your first festival doesn’t have to be 4 days and 60 bands, it could be one day and 5 bands. As long as the festival is curated appropriately, has its own flavor, and you market the hell out of it, people should come. But never get caught thinking that just because you’ve created something, people will automatically care, because they won’t.