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A Camden Crawler's Guide to Festival Management: Time Management

Posted: 31/03/2012 00:00

If I've been doing my job right, the one message that would have come out of this series of blogs so far would be loud and clear: if you're running a festival, expect to work hard.

In part, this is because what you'll be doing can be difficult: co-ordinating your staff and various consultants, navigating the vagaries of a huge number of band schedules, ticking the boxes of whatever local regulations you'll need to meet, directing design and juggling advertising schedules, etc.. This doesn't come easy, and it's complex stuff.

What really makes you sweat, though, is the volume and variety of this work. Not only can each individual task prove tricky in isolation; running a festival is like learning a dozen different skills as quickly as possible, and then performing all of them at the same time. I'd call this a balancing act, but really it's more like performing all the other elements of a circus show, too.

The key to all this is time and information management. In the wake of our latest announcement - for both the London and Dublin events - we're having to painstakingly put all the necessary information together for each of our artists, and send it to them one by one. This alone requires an office schedule resembling the plans for a military operation. And that's just half the week's workload!

I can be a terrible procrastinator, so in many ways this sort of thing is my nightmare. I work well to a deadline, but the deadline has to be really close. I frequently find myself apologising to people for not replying to their email, or squeezing in an important task at the end of a stacked day. In this sort of context, time management is simply essential. Figure out what you need to do, and schedule it in. Otherwise, it'll simply get lost in the rush.

In this series, I might be casting the scales from many starry-eyed music fans who aspire to run a festival. In a way, I hope I am: everyone should go into this game with their eyes wide open, because it ain't easy. On the other hand, forearmed is forewarned - music festivals are still hugely rewarding events to arrange, and if 'time management' sounds hugely boring that doesn't mean it won't make the festival itself anything but.

OK, the 10 minutes I allocated to do this are up. I confess I forget what's next on the list...

 

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