If you’re throwing a party in the summer months, there’s no better way to celebrate than by throwing your own mini festival. Festivals are a complete celebration of music, culture, food and arts, and have a magical way of bringing people together and creating a place where prejudice is left at home.
Whether you live in the middle of the city or out in the sticks, anyone can throw a mini festival. This is your chance to create a totally unique event and to have all your favourite people gather in one place, dressed in wellies and flower crowns. Always thought about throwing a back garden festival but have no idea where to start?
In this guest post, Lucy Flynn from catering gurus Feast It provides us with some great organisational tips and advice.
Your location is probably the first thing you need to nail down when planning a mini festival. If you’re lucky enough to have a big garden, or a field for that matter, then you’re set. If you need to hire a space, there are plenty of options. Many pubs up and down the country have big beer gardens that are available for hire, but if you're envisioning something on a slightly larger scale, you can hire a field online.
Once you’ve decided on the location, you need to think about how your guests will get there. Can they park on site? Could you provide a shuttle bus from a local station? If you’re working with a bigger space, it’s a great idea to invite people to pitch a tent and stay overnight. It really takes the pressure off your guests who can party all night without having to worry about getting home. You can rent tipis online, but they can be quite pricey so it might be easier to ask your guests to bring their own tents, but just make sure you check that your space is big enough for everyone to pitch.
Naming your festival
Picking a great name for your festival is probably one of the hardest things on your checklist. Think about incorporating the location into the name, or the genre of music that your festival is celebrating, or even your own name if it's your birthday or wedding.
Once you've decided on a name, it's a good idea to create a Facebook event alongside your wristband invitations to keep the buzz going on social media and to keep your attendees excited.
Obviously one of the most important parts of any good festival is the music. Give the people a taste of everything by having local bands playing during the day followed by DJs playing dancefloor fillers until the sun comes up. You can hire every kind of musical entertainment imaginable to fit the concept of your festival, from steel drums performers to country cover bands.
When you send out your invitations, it’s a great idea to encourage any musically talented guests to perform. You can allocate a comfy outdoor area or yurt on site for poetry readings and stand up comedy.
Food and drink
A festival wouldn’t be complete without some awesome food trucks and market stalls serving up delicious food and drink that will keep revellers dancing into the night. For some of us, the varied food offerings at summer festivals are the highlight and now the guests at your mini festival can order their food, cocktails, craft beers and more from creative food trucks before settling down on a picnic rug or a hay bale to enjoy it.
Feast It is the perfect place to hire food caterers for your festival, including some of the country’s most loved trucks, firm festival favourites and small independent chefs cooking up everything from artisanal doughnuts to authentic tacos.
The key to a great festival is making sure that your festival-goers have access to plenty of fun activities that help to create a really well rounded event, not to mention providing lots of laughs and photo opportunities. Your guests might not want to dance all day long, so it’s good to give them places to explore and things to do.
Some rustic hand-painted wooden signage can point people in the direction of a photo booth with themed props, face painting, a glitter bar, slacklining, flower crown making, table tennis, acrobatic displays and inflatable sumo wrestling.
Children attending your festival? You’d be doing yourself (and their parents) a favour by providing some entertainment and activities for them too. Think hoola hoops, bubble machines, scavenger hunts and giant jenga.
If you've got an enormous garden, or a field, it might be a good idea to rent some yurts or marquees. They’re great for chill out areas and for people to take shelter should it rain.
Once you’ve got these structures set up, you can really spend time putting your own touches on them with handmade decorations and buntings, flags, ribbons, balloons, flowers and wooden lettering. It’s important to create a comfy chill out area at your festival, so people have somewhere to sit down and chat when they’re all danced out. Think mint and cucumber water in a Kilner dispenser jar, spiced tea, shisha pipes, bean bags, cushions and board games.
Lighting is absolutely key at a mini festival and bad lighting will look really awful when the sun goes down. It’s all about achieving moody and atmospheric lighting, using lanterns and fairy lights. If your festival has a more hardcore vibe, why not hire a laser show, or strobe and UV lighting?
TIP: With all the things that rely on electricity to run, you are likely to need a generator. You can hire a generator and have it delivered to your site.
When it comes to invitations, you can design your own wristbands, backstage passes, lanyard and festival programmes… the creative control is all yours here. You can design your own fabric wristbands online and they are fairly inexpensive.
Your invitations are a sneak peak into your festival, so they need to embody the vibes of the event, following the same concept, whether that's Classic Carnival, Whimsical Woodland or Desert Island.
How to be sustainable
Festivals are a wonderful way to celebrate everything that makes our planet and it’s varying cultures great, so it’s important not to have a negative impact on the landscape after your festival.
You’ll need plenty of bins dotted around, both recycling and regular waste. It’s a good idea to speak to your food and drink caterers to make sure that they use paper straws, wooden forks and compostable/biodegradable serveware. Setting up a carpooling post on your Facebook event page will also decrease the CO2 pollution created by your guests.
This article is in collaboration with Feast It. To discover and book street food vendors for your festival or event, head over to their website here.
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