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Jun 21, 2017 9:04:00 AM by Lynn Fuhler

The Festival Organizer’s Guide to On-Site Logistics

Festival Management


Merriam-Webster defines logistics as “the handling of the details of an operation.” As event organizers know, logistics are the underlying foundation of every festival. It all comes down to this:

The devil is in the details.

From the initial concept through preparation and implementation of the actual festival, teams or committees oversee numerous tasks tied to their respective areas of responsibility:  sponsorships; finances; marketing; publicity; the main event; volunteer coordination; the main stage(s); souvenirs; the venue; and concessions or exhibitors. Some function independently during the planning stages with little interaction outside their group; others work together from the start.

While organizing the event, each committee typically uses software customized to their unique need. This can range from simple spreadsheets to a content management system to an online ticketing or registration service. Throughout the festival, each team will continue to utilize their specialized program but it’s just as important that they now be able to cross communicate to fellow team members and in some cases to all layers of volunteers. The question is, “Where can you find such an application?”

In the days before phone-radios and smartphones, managing on-site logistics and sharing updates meant putting many miles on one’s sneakers and face-to-face conversations. Phone-radios are great with three exceptions:

  • When used with a headset to block out the ambient noise, it can leave the impression staff or a volunteer is unapproachable;
  • Using units without a headset can be disruptive and means confidential conversations may go beyond the intended party; and
  • Simultaneously communicating down a vertical ladder within a given committee or across all layers isn’t possible.

Smartphones brought new options but with event noise, sometimes it’s difficult to hear a phone ring or have a solid conversation with the caller. Heavy usage can run down batteries at the worst of times.

Enter InitLive, an online tool that combines volunteer coordination with multi-layer communication. The volunteer piece is critically important to insure grass roots volunteers are signed up, scheduled, checked-in and doing the right job at the right time and in the right place. More important, it conveniently allows for realignment of last minute no-shows and schedule changes. Ever wonder why floater volunteers are in such big demand?  

InitLive allows messaging within each closed committee loop, plus it allows easy dissemination of a mass SMS text or email to all those impacted by, say, intermission. What’s great is that vertical and horizontal delivery is possible with InItLive. No need for volunteer runners to spread the word.

It's simple and easy. Create a free InitLive account, download the free mobile app, and you’re good to go.

For even more festival planning tips, join us on July 18th for a free live webinar on "How to Grow Your Festival Overnight". Sign up here!

Author, Secrets to Successful Events:  How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals and Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide:  42+ Easy-to-Use Forms and Tools to Save You Time and Money 

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