The Launch of Marcato Enterprise: Plan Smarter, Collaborate Anywhere, Execute Faster

Marcato Enterprise LaunchGame-changing NEW SOFTWARE For Festivals & Events – Marcato Enterprise!

Let’s be straight – there comes a point in festival planning when the event has become so amazing, so elaborate, and so intricate that maintaining full control over the entire production is nearly impossible, if not completely out of reach!

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For the past 6 years Marcato has been working with festivals around the world to provide a solution to properly address this issue. In 2010, our festival management software, Marcato Festival, was proudly launched and is now being used by some of the world’s greatest festivals to manage performances, complex contracts, production requirements, credentials and overall event logistics. It allows organizers, artists, volunteers and other stakeholders access to information to work efficiently and make pivotal decisions quickly. Marcato saves festival organizers money, time, and stress by supporting efficient workflows for team members and providing deep insight into operations.

As the festival producing game continues to evolve, no one in the business has been surprised by the fact that the events have become more complex beasts to manage. In turn, our clients have been challenging us to deliver an offering that has all the kick-ass features of our Marcato Festival software plus additional tools for supporting complex needs for things like credential and asset management and protecting sensitive information; they’ve asked us to build integration points so that our software will link up with other platforms essential to staging their events; they’ve asked us to add the additional technological horsepower to do all of these things and… we’ve delivered it!

The new software’s name is Marcato Enterprise. It includes all the functionality that our Marcato Festival offering has plus powerful tools for:

  • Credential, Parking & Catering Management: Request, approve and issue credentials for your guests, VIPs, production staff, vendors, media, and volunteers.

  • Asset Management: Allocate and track your event’s assets in detail, including the asset’s location and the person responsible for it at any given time.

  • Integrating with other Event Support Systems: Share data directly from Marcato’s powerful Credential Management Module to Access Control systems such as RFID via a Credentials API.

  • Comprehensive Permission Controls: Granular level permission controls allow you to share relevant information with team members and keep your confidential data secure

  • On-Site Changes and Requests: Mobile-friendly request & authorization tools give you the power of key Marcato functionality from your smartphone or tablet while on-site.

  • As well as a long list of other helpful features, including: Custom reporting, asset monetization, and onsite services.

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Marcato Enterprise is our response to all the feedback over the years that started with “wouldn’t it be cool if,” or ended with, “I really wish the system could to that.”

It’s exciting times here at Marcato. Our team is ready to hear more about the challenges event organizers face and we’re pumped to deliver solutions that support organizers in their quest to deliver great events and great times

If you’d like to lower the stress in your life and reduce your workload, if you’d like to work with a software and a team that can help you plan smarter, collaborate anywhere, and executive faster…. You should click GET STARTED and book your demonstration today!


We’re Hiring! Recruiting a Driven Conversation Starter in Sydney, N.S.

Conversation Starter JobMarcato is currently seeking a talented Conversation Starter, offering a full-time position with benefits in Sydney, Nova Scotia. If this role sounds like it is a fit for you, apply with your cover letter and resume to: hr@marcatodigital.com

A little background on Marcato:

Marcato Digital is a software company based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia that develops web-based applications for the music industry. We’ve been in business for almost 6 years now, and in that time we have grown to be the global leader in our space. We are currently 13-people strong and have two flagship products: Marcato Festival and Marcato Musician. Marcato Festival is currently used by some of the largest music festivals in the world to plan, organize, and manage their events, and Marcato Musician is used by hundreds of artists to help manage their careers.

Who we are looking for:

We welcome applications from motivated individuals with proven experience in problem solving and communications. The applicant must exercise the ability to build and develop professional relationships with prospective clients from a very early stage of contact, have top-notch communication skills, as well as demonstrate an earnest integrity towards fellow colleagues and clients. Strong time management and organizational skills are two other key assets for the position. Marcato is a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, and the applicant must be able to think, plan, and demonstrate good judgment while executing on multiple objectives in a well-structured fashion. Having previous work experience in communications or business developement would be nice, but not necessary.

Responsibilities:

As a Conversation Starter, you will be working with our Sales and Marketing Team to manage the front line of our company’s image, working to reinforce our reputation as problem solvers. Pro-actively developing and nurturing a close business relationship with our account executives is paramount to success in this role. Day to day you will direct all inbound and outbound inquirers to the proper Marcato resources, ultimately playing a key role in delivering the best service possible to our prospective and existing clients. Your primary goal is to develop new business for Marcato by starting quality conversations with qualified prospective clients and then naturally guiding those prospective clients into their next steps within the sales process.

Click here to learn about other open career opportunities at Marcato.


We’re Hiring! Recruiting Bilingual Sales & Customer Satisfaction Officer in Sydney, N.S.

Bilingual JobMarcato is currently seeking a talented Bilingual Sales and Customer Satisfaction Officer, offering a full-time position with benefits in Sydney, Nova Scotia. If this role sounds like it is the fit for you, apply with your cover letter, and resume to: hr@marcatodigital.com

A little background on Marcato:

Marcato Digital is a software company based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia that develops web-based applications for the music industry. We’ve been in business for almost 6 years now, and in that time we have grown to be the global leader in our space. We are currently 13-people strong and have two flagship products: Marcato Festival and Marcato Musician. Marcato Festival is currently used by some of the largest music festivals in the world to plan, organize, and manage their events, and Marcato Musician is used by hundreds of artists to help manage their careers.

Who we are looking for:

We welcome applications from motivated individuals with proven experience in the professional sales environment along with troubleshooting/technical support experience. The applicant must be proficient in both English and French communication, both written and verbal. The applicant must exercise experience with building customer relationships, have excellent communication skills, as well as time management and organizational skills. Marcato is a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, and the applicant must be able to think, plan, and demonstrate good judgment and execute multiple objectives in a well-structured fashion. Having experience in the Festival/Events Management or Music Industry would be nice, but not necessary.

Responsibilities:

As Sales and Customer Satisfaction Officer with Marcato, you will be working with our Sales and Support team, while being responsible for meeting revenue growth objectives by developing and executing sales in target markets located in French speaking regions of the world.  You will also be responsible for managing ongoing relationships with our current clients.

Click here to learn about other open career opportunities at Marcato.


We’re Hiring! Recruiting a talented Customer Satisfaction Officer in Sydney, N.S.

Customer Service JobMarcato is currently seeking a talented Customer Satisfaction Officer, offering a full-time position with benefits in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

If this role sounds like it is the fit for you, apply with your cover letter, and resume to: hr@marcatodigital.com

A little background on Marcato:

Marcato Digital is a software company based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia that develops web-based applications for the music industry. We’ve been in business for almost 6 years now, and in that time we have grown to be the global leader in our space. We are currently 13-people strong and have two flagship products: Marcato Festival and Marcato Musician. Marcato Festival is currently used by some of the largest music festivals in the world to plan, organize, and manage their events, and Marcato Musician is used by hundreds of artists to help manage their careers.

Who we are looking for:

We welcome applications from motivated individuals with proven experience in the support world, in areas such as troubleshooting and technical support. The applicant must exercise experience with building customer relationships, have excellent communication skills, as well as time management and organizational skills. Marcato is a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, and the applicant must be able to think, plan, and demonstrate good judgment and execute multiple objectives in a well-structured fashion.

Responsibilities:

As an Officer in the Marcato Customer Satisfaction Team, you will report directly to the Customer Satisfaction Manager. Your role will be to assist the Sales and Support Teams in providing training and technical support to new and existing customers of the Marcato software. You will be required to build and maintain an expert working knowledge of software features to call upon when responding to inbound support requests and conducting online training sessions. You will be responsible for improving customer interactions with all services and employees within Marcato. Your primary goal is to help users make the most of their Marcato subscription.

Click here to learn about other open career opportunities at Marcato.


We’re Hiring! Recruiting a Driven Account Executive for our Sales Department!

Sales JobMarcato is currently seeking a talented Account Executive, offering a full-time position with benefits in Sydney, Nova Scotia. If this role sounds like it is the fit for you, apply with your cover letter, and resume to: hr@marcatodigital.com

A little background on Marcato:

Marcato Digital is a software company based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia that develops web-based applications for the music industry. We’ve been in business for almost 6 years now, and in that time we have grown to be the global leader in our space. We are currently 13-people strong and have two flagship products: Marcato Festival and Marcato Musician. Marcato Festival is currently used by some of the largest music festivals in the world to plan, organize, and manage their events, and Marcato Musician is used by hundreds of artists to help manage their careers.

Who we are looking for:

We welcome applications from motivated individuals with proven experience in the professional sales environment. The applicant must exercise experience with building customer relationships, have excellent communication skills, as well as time management and organizational skills. Marcato is a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, and the applicant must be able to think, plan, and demonstrate good judgment and execute multiple objectives in a well-structured fashion. Having experience in the Festival/Events Management or Music Industry would be nice, but not necessary.

Responsibilities:

As an Account Executive, you will be working with our Sales Team to provide orientation and training to clients, both new and old. You will also pro-actively communicate and maintain a close relationship with your assigned prospects and clients to ensure product/service adoption and identify additional revenue opportunities and assist other team members on projects when necessary. Your primary goal is to help potential clients get the most of their Marcato subscription.

Click here to learn about other open career opportunities at Marcato.


How to Plan a Festival

How To Plan A FestivalWhen learning how to plan a festival, it’s important to remember that there are hundreds of festivals being put on every year and each of these festivals are planning their own amazing events that will reflect the unique cultures and energies of their individual visions.

Because of these unique factors, no one festival will plan for their event in the exact same way. However, while working with over 125 festivals spread across the globe on a day-to-day basis at Marcato, we’ve learned that although there are many granular, unique aspects of how to plan a festival, there are also seven key first-steps that every festival must follow in order to succeed.

Working through these broad steps will ensure you follow in the footsteps of many successful festivals before you, all of which had their own unique failings, challenges, and obstacles, but ultimately learned enough festival planning skills to blaze their own trails of success.

Ok, now that we’ve covered that, let’s get to the fun stuff!

How to Plan a Festival:

Step #1. Pick Your Scope

Picking the scope of your festival is the first important step of how to plan your festival.  Your festival’s scope will affect every important decision you make from here on out, from how many volunteers you need for your event to how many porta-potties you need to have on site.  Questions to ask yourself that will help define your scope are:

How big do I want my event to be / how many people do I want attending the festival?

Be sure to be realistic about this number, but also be sure not to sell yourself short.

With that festival size in mind, what grounds/venue could host my festival?

Will it be an indoor festival, a club festival, or a field festival? Each of these festivals have their own styles and legacies behind them and therefore it is very important to get this defined quickly. A few other important things to consider when choosing your festival grounds are: how you’re going to handle ‘security’ and how your venue might make that initiative a nightmare or a walk in the park; how you’re going to provide toilet facilities to your front and back of house guests; and how you’re going to ‘fence off’ your site and maintain your access controlled facilities.

What kind of permits do I need to apply for before my project can be given the green light?

This is a very important step that many new festivals never get past, often planning too far ahead without obtaining the permissions or resources needed to host their event.  Be sure to look up your provincial or state bylaws, city bylaws, etc., for any special requirements. Also, be sure to meet your local government officials and get them on board with your vision – without them, your event will never take place.

How much start-up cash will I be able to raise?

Think capital funds, sponsorship, and fundraising. Most festivals’ budgets incorporate a mix of these sources of cash, and the percentages then depends on the structure of your festival. *See Step #2 for what this might look like.

What do I want this festival to look like in 5 years?

This question is often overlooked by many festivals (and many new businesses in general).  Have a 5 year plan mapped out, including both growth opportunities and challenges. If in five years you think you can double your festival attendance, maybe it’s time to think of a location legacy and whether the consistency of your site is something that matters to you.

Step #2. Pick Your Structure

Now that you’ve a good handle on what you want the scope of your festival to look like, the next step of planning your festival is deciding your organization’s structure, ie: whether you want to be a for-profit or a not-for-profit organization.  This decision is pretty important seeing as it will change the funding structure of your event since certain capital opportunities are only available to one or the other.

This is also the step where you would make the decision of whether you want to plan the festival by yourself, or if you would rather hire a production company to orchestrate most of the event for you.  This is certainly the easiest way to plan a festival, but it comes with a hefty price tag – that being said, if you can afford it, production companies can be a fantastic way to facilitate the planning of a festival.

Step #3. Pick Your Team

Now that you know your scope and your structure (and have hopefully started to get a good handle on your available resources and start-up funds), it’s now time to pick your team. Depending on the festival, staff sizes can vary due to many variables like how much volunteer support you can raise (some festivals are 100% volunteer driven), how much funding you’ve acquired, and what kind of profit margin you’re hoping to maintain.  In most cases, regardless of your staff size, it’s very common to see festival team members  ‘wearing many hats’ on a day-to-day basis, working in and out of marketing, talent procurement, IT, and anything else in between. In light of this, festival directors should always seek out staff members who know how to do things they don’t – hiring folks just like you might be a fun way to form a staff, but when a complex task needs to be completed (which happens a lot) and the skill sets for the job aren’t available in-house, things get tricky!

Step #4. Pick Your Partners

How to Plan a Festival - Pick Your Team

Now that your in-house team is in order, it’s time to decide what other companies you want to work with in order to pull off your event.

Areas that you’ll mostly likely need to hire outside companies for are:

The festival industry is full of top notch companies that will work hard for your business and in the process of working with you teach you many new things about the space! Just like picking your staffing team, picking good partners is also extremely important.  Do your research and choose companies you feel great working with!

Step #5. Pick Your Participants

This is the really fun bit! The step where you begin recruiting who you wish to participate in your festival – in essence, the entertainment your festival goers are showing up for. Whether you’re a music festival, a food festival, a science festival, fringe festival, digital festival, or anything else in between, your entertainment and vendors are the reason people come to your event and very often a key component of ticket prices and sales.

When recruiting participants festival planners typically choose from two different techniques, or use a mixture of both approaches, to find their talent. The first technique is to ‘scout’ for talent (or vendors) using talent buyers who travel around the globe attending showcase festivals¹ or concerts looking for unique artists and headliners to play at their own festivals. The second approach is to accept artist / vendor applications by actively advertising (through social media and the festival’s website) an opportunity to play at the festival if artists/vendors fill out an application form and submit it to the festival. Usually this type of form will include all the applicant’s contact information and ask for a portfolio of their work. A reviewing process is then set in motion where festival executives sort through their applications and send invitations to a groomed list of potential participants.²

Step #6. Market, Market, Market

Alright, step #6. This is where the rubber really has to hit the road if it hasn’t already. Once your festival’s framework is in place – your venue is set, your headliners are decided, your ticketing system is in place – it’s time to get the word out to as many people as possible, through as many channels as possible promoting your festival and encouraging your fans to buy their tickets as soon as possible. This may seem like an obvious point, but early ticket sales are a critical component to ensuring your festival is successful. There are many good techniques of how to market festivals, some of which explored before on our blog, but the important thing to be aware of how is much noise you’re making among potential ticket buyers. Connect with all applicable media, collaborate with other events, and get social!  In a recent webinar called ‘The Future of Festivals’ industry professionals discussed the power of social media buying habits, particularly within the festival space, and they say that for every 2.6 organic tweets or Facebook shares your festival gets, it translates to one incremental ticket sold. If that’s not motivation to market the heck out of your festival and get people excited about it, I don’t know what is.  That being said, social media isn’t the be all and end all – you must market your festival through every stream possible in the first few years.

Step #7. Hold On For Dear Life / Expect It to Be a Crazy Ride.

The last note, and maybe the most sobering of all, ‘Hold on for dear life and expect it to be a crazy ride.’ Festival planning is not for the faint hearted; they can be wild beasts and often unpredictable due to the volume of variables.  In most cases, festival don’t even make a profit the first 3 years or so, sometimes even longer, just like any other business start-up. So, hold on!  Expect delays, speedbumps, and hard choices. Festivals can be an amazing accomplishment once they’ve gone off without a hitch and can often be incredibly profitable (regardless of whether you’re in it for charity or for gain), but one thing they are not is an ‘easy ride’.   Pulling one of these things off takes an incredible amount of hard work and skill, an accomplished festival planning team, and some excellent festival management tools. All that being said, if you’re willing to put everything you’ve got into these amazing parties, they are often just as generous in return.

                                                                                                                                                Beyond the first seven steps, once things get closer to production week there will be many more granular steps of how to plan a festival that you’ll need to take care of.  However, if you’ve made it through these first few steps, you’ll quickly learn how to deal with the more granular aspects without issue. Plus, Marcato will continue to post useful quick tips and tricks on our blog from time to time for you to reference. Also, be sure to stay tuned for a part two of ‘How to Plan a Festival,’ where we hear from the festival directors themselves about the lessons they learned over the years when planning their own awesome events!

At the end of the day, keep in mind that these 7 steps are in no way a comprehensive guide of how to plan a festival. Festivals, like any new business, are a very unique and your own festival will will have many individual needs that other festivals just won’t be able to relate to. All you need to do is keep a keen eye on the prize and move forward with the conviction of hosting the best damn event out there!

Good luck!

¹Showcase festivals are festivals that typically do not highlight or rely heavily on major headliners to sell tickets, but purposely book a high volume of talent not only to sell their event’s tickets, but also to showcase their many artists in front of important music industry executives who are interested in the talent for a number of professional reasons; the executives can be booking agents, music label representatives, festival talent buyers, and everyone else in between who is actively invested in the industry. Some leaders in this festival category are: SXSW, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Canadian Music Week, Reeperbahn, ℅ Pop, WOMEX, and IMFCON.
 
²To learn more about how to accept vendor applications to your festival, click here to read a blog on it.

About us:  Marcato Festival is the world’s leading festival management software, designed to help you streamline your festival’s management. Take a look around our website and explore our features.  If you’re interested in booking a customized demonstration of Marcato, click below to get started today!

Get Started


We’re Hiring! Recruiting talented local web developers in Sydney, N.S.

Hiring Talent Web DeveloperMarcato is currently seeking a talented local web developer, offering a full-time position with benefits in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

A little background on Marcato:

Marcato Digital is a software company based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia that develops web-based applications for the music industry. We’ve been in business for almost 6 years now, and in that time we have grown to be the global leader in our space. We are currently 12-people strong and have two flagship products: Marcato Festival and Marcato Musician. Marcato Festival is currently used by some of the largest music festivals in the world to plan, organize, and manage their events, and Marcato Musician is used by hundreds of artists to help manage their careers.

Who we are looking for:

We welcome applications from motivated individuals with proven experience in the web development world.  The applicant must exercise experience in dynamic languages (Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl) and database-driven web development, as well as MVC frameworks such as Django or CakePHP. Lastly, any Ruby/Rails experience would be a large competitive advantage for any applicant.

Responsibilities:

You will be working with our development team to create new features, as well as refactoring existing code, with plenty of interaction and opportunity to bounce ideas off each other. We spend our days coding with Ruby on Rails, with a fair bit of JavaScript and MySQL thrown into the mix.

If you’re interested in applying for the position email us at hr@marcatodigital.com with a resume and a portfolio of any recent work you’ve done, and we’ll be in touch!


How to Advance an Artist

How to advance an artist

                                                                                                                                                                                          You’ve finally made it! Your artist applications are closed, booking agents have been called home, artist contracts are signed, and your headliners are announced. Congratulations! After months of carefully curating your festival/event, your big picture is painted and at this stage of your festival planning you are now ready to starting thinking about advancing artists and getting down to the nitty gritty details.

                                                              Although not all music major festivals advance their talent the same way, here are six common pro-tips of how to advance an artist:

#1Know your man!

Throughout contract negotiations festival managers can deal with multiple contacts for an artist, all the way from their label manager to their crew technicians, so it’s important during that process to have a definitive contact that has the knowhow and the authority to answer all the necessary questions and fill in all the important blanks.  It’s a common headache to send 6 advancing forms to the same artist/band because you were told again and again, “I’m not the right person to do this… try this person.”

#2Create an accessible online questionnaire/form that automatically organizes all your gathered information outside of an email medium.

It’s extremely common practice for festivals of all sizes to create wonderful questionnaires that ask for all the right information, and then type that questionaire up in an email and shoot it off to all their artists thinking they will receive that same questionnaire back from the artists, answered adequately and accurately. However, anyone who’s been through this processes will tell you ‘it’s not that easy.’  Emails are sent, 1-liner questions are sent back, lines crossed, questions missed or misunderstood, and then the overall organization of that information is chaotic and inaccurate due to mostly human error (ie: transferring all the right information from an email to some other medium of organization).

A way to avoid this mess of a process is to create an accessible online form that asks all the required questions, and then organizes that information in a way that can then be manipulated and utilized!

Good questions to ask in an advancing form are:

  • Tour manager contact information?

  • Production manager contact information?

  • What are your technical requirements? *Make this as detailed as possible

  • Who is your ‘on-the-ground’ contact (ie: the final contact for hotels, transportation, etc)?

  • What is your general artist information (# of Artists, # touring crew, arrival date, etc.)? * Provide an opportunity for the artist to attached their hospitality rider

  • Hospitality questions (ie: How many stage towels do you require? How many meals are needed during your stay? Any food allergies or dietary restrictions in your band or crew? What is your beer preference? Any special requests?) *Keep in mind these questions are often posed prior to contracts sometimes.

  • How many hotel rooms are needed? *Same as the prior note, often hotel details are decided before contracts are signed.

  • How is the crew arriving (by bus, van, plane, etc.) and what are the details of the travel (flight times, flight #’s, gates, etc.)? *Can also be something negotiated in a contract, depending on circumstance.

  • Ask for artist’s bio

  • Ask for official photos and videos

  • Ask about any upcoming release/news announcements from the band that might be press worthy.

#3Have two sets of advancing forms

When you’ve got your online accessible forms figured out, it’s very easy (and a best practice) to separate all the information you need into two different advances. The first advance will collect all the public facing information you need, usually sent around 6 months prior to the event, asking for things like the artists’ bio, their official photos, their influencers, upcoming releases, and anything else you might want to display on your website/collateral. On the second advance, which is sent much closer to the event (anywhere from 3 months to a few weeks prior to the event), you then ask for everything else you need to know.

The advantage to this approach is that you’ll collect everything you need for marketing far ahead of time and in the same stroke you won’t be asking for detailed information that is very subject to change too early from the event – meaning you won’t have to make those frustrating last minute changes the band couldn’t have known about 6 months out, ie: tech crew changes, tech requirements, etc.

#4Give ‘em time… And expect delays

In a best case scenario, you could send these important questionnaires to the correct contact and have them returned and answered promptly without delay, but since you’ve come this far in the process you already understand… no scenario ever plays out as a best case. Therefore, as a best practice, send along your questions far in advance of their deadlines.  Also on that note, artists will inevitably wait until the last day of their deadlines to return your questionnaires (just to stress you out), so, with that in mind, set your deadlines a little earlier than you actually need them!

#5Send Reminders

Relating back to tip #4, deadlines are meant to be forgotten, therefore you must remind artists about them! It’s a guarantee that if you send a questionnaire to an artist, even with a strict deadline, people will forget to fill it out. That’s a fact! A sad, makes you want to throw something fact, but a fact nonetheless. So… send reminders!

#6Return the favour… Answer all their questions!

Once everything is sorted out, load-in times are set, sound-checks are organized, and showtimes are settled on, it’s extremely beneficial for the entire team and operation to provide artists with these detailed pieces of information. Advancing specific show specs, detailed schedules (noting load-ins, sound-checks, showtimes), itinerary info, and stage plots are all necessary pieces of information that will ensure your artists have an enjoyable performance at your event – which is the whole point, right? Fun Shows = A Happy Audience. A Happy Audience = A Successful Festival.

To learn more about how to advance an artist, or how Marcato’s interactive advancing forms make planning a festival even easier, set up a call with us today and get started!

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Your Data is Safe with Marcato!

heartbleedIn recent days you may have seen a lot of press and social chatter surrounding the OpenSSL vulnerability bug, ‘Heartbleed’. In light of the threat, specialists have advised the global public to increase their security measures online and change all of their existing passwords to more secure options.

We wanted to quickly check in with you all and assure you that our app is not and will not be affected by these threats – your data is safe with Marcato!

That being said, when it comes to your other personal internet accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, Google) we suggest you read this informative piece from the BBC, and follow their advise to ensure your data stays your own!


Accepting Vendor Applications – Best Practices for Managing Your Festival

Vendor Applications

In the early stages of planning a festival, accepting vendor applications is an important step for ensuring that not only the ‘marketplace’ of your festival is in full force come production day, but also the culture of your event is firmly established.

To a festival goer, vendors don’t just represent a means to an end, eg. a piece of pizza, or a place to charge their cellphone. If curated properly, vendors are an important part of the overall festival experience; in many cases they represent the cuisine of your festival, the mementos, the partners, the place to exchange ideas or excitement — the lifeblood of your festival.

Some best practices to follow when accepting vendor applications at your next festival are:

Accessibility:

The most common model of accepting festival vendor applications is posting a link to a staff member’s email, or a generic vendors@yourfestival.com email, on the event’s website, and then encouraging vendors to apply via that address.  The overall workflow of this process is almost always long, painstaking, and leaves a lot of room for human error. Between incoherent emails and missing information, even the simple task of collecting a list of options can turn into hours of work and wasted HR.

Providing accessibility for prospective vendor applications  can become one of the biggest time-savers while planning for your festival. Festivals can improve their accessibility by:

    • Clearly listing a process of how to apply to your festival on your official website
    • Hosting a digital form on your website that collects all the prudent information of your vendor applications and then organizes it efficiently in some sort of database.  
    • Clearly indicating any ‘next steps’ that a prospect must be aware of after they are done applying to your event

Creating a coherent application process that is accessible to all those seeking out your festival will save hours of work and synergize your collaborations, right out of the gate.

When reviewing the workflow charts of the two different models for accepting vendor applications, it becomes very apparent as to which model saves both the vendors and the festival organizers the most time & stress.

Vendor Applications Workflow

Categorization:  

Another common practice when accepting vendor applications is simply accepting generic applications for “vendors” or “trades,” while the festival is actually actively looking for food vendors, craft vendors, charity vendors, media vendors, or contestant vendors. Festival organizers often assume that applicants will understand how and where they fit into the entire process, which may be true for any veterans of the trade, but organizers then risk missing the ‘next big thing,’ eg. a vendor who may not know their way around the block yet, but have a lot of offer.

The key is to purposely seek out your vendors by listing and categorizing exactly who and what you are looking for. Have a separate web application form for all the vendor applications you are accepting, providing a clear workflow for any prospect. This point clearly relates back to the first best practice of ‘accessibility.’ The more organized and clear your festival is about your application processes, the more organized and clear your event will actually be.

Transparency:

Lastly, it is not uncommon for a festival goers to have no sweet clue about what vendors are attending your festival until they actually arrive on the event grounds. There’s been no chance for them to get excited about visiting their favourite food truck, or artisan display; no direction about where to locate them – no nothing!

A lack of communication about these details is a missed chance to promote your festival and a missed chance to be kind to your vendors. If we truly believe that vendors are not just means to an end, but an integral aspect of our events, we must properly represent and advertise their presence. This is especially true when you consider the cost of advertising can be virtually free in this circumstance, seeing as  an announcement that a certain popular vendor is coming to your festival this year is perfect tweet material! Such tweets will will open up new audiences for your festival who are big followers of your vendors, but know very little about you.

For more festival management best practices, including a few more tips on how to efficiently accept festival vendor applications, connect with one of our Marcato specialists and get started today!