What to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Festival

outdoor festival

Attending an outdoor festival is an amazing experience.

People love seeing their favorite musicians and artists live. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing great artistic performances or partying with thousands of strangers? It’s also a great way to meet people from all over the world!

Read on to get practical tips that will help you plan a successful festival!

Give Yourself Time to Plan

If you’re planning an outdoor festival, there is a lot of work that goes into it, and a lot to consider. There’s budgeting, venue selection, and securing permits and insurance.

Before you do anything else, check the annual local weather reports. Find the lowest rainfall months and look to plan your festival around that time. Keep track and stay flexible with regard to weather conditions.

Remember to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong with any aspect of your outdoor festival. For example, if you’re planning an outdoor festival in Chicago, tent rental may save the day if it rains! Running a quick google search for “tent rental near me” will help find service providers in your area. 

Be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. You’re going to need plenty of time to plan, so make sure you allow for that!

Budgeting for Your Outdoor Festival

One of the most important things to consider when planning a festival is the budget. You don’t want to spend more money than necessary, but do not underestimate what your event will cost.

Planning ahead is key here.

Put a detailed list together of what you’re going to need. Remember to include things like dance floor rental, and toilet hire. Another aspect that is often overlooked in the beginning stages of planning an outdoor festival is table and chair rental.

Where are you going to get the necessary funding from? Will sponsorships cover all your expenses? Or do you have some money saved up that can get things started?

Once everything is in place, make sure that there is extra cash for unexpected expenses. These may pop up during the lead-up or execution of your festival.

Choose Your Venue

Consider accessibility and space. The venue needs to be accessible for those who are mobility impaired in some way. It should also have enough space for all attendees to move around during the event.

Explore different venues and then make a decision on the perfect spot to host your festival. By visiting each location in person, you can get a better idea of what will work best for your event.

Permits and Insurance

Whether you are planning a large festival or a small one, you will want to know what the law says about your event. Some areas do not allow certain types of events. Others will need you to get a permit to host your party.

Some places will also require that you have temporary structure approval if you’re going to put up tents. 

You will also need to understand what you will need for your insurance coverage. Speak to your broker to make sure you cross all your T’s and dot all the I’s.

Entertainment and Lineup

Having a good lineup is important to festival-goers. Make sure you have enough entertainment options to keep people engaged. You want to create some excitement with your lineup.

Identify artists who will bring in crowds but also fit into the atmosphere of your outdoor festival.

This means making sure you have a range of music genres and other things happening at the same time. Make sure that you give festival-goers plenty to do while they wait for their favorite act.


Choose vendors that can commit to your vendor-operating hours. You don’t want to end up with a vendor who is only able to display their art once in the early evening, for example.

Ask questions! Vendors should be willing to share information about their past experiences with festivals. Ask them what they’ve learned along the way and any advice they can offer you as an organizer.

Don’t forget about insurance! Any vendor who brings equipment into your event needs insurance. This will cover any unforeseen events that could occur while the vendor is onsite.


Infrastructure includes the facilities, equipment, and services required by an event. Take into consideration:

  1. Is there enough space for the stage, dance floor, and other facilities?
  2. How much room will be available for the audience, vendors, and security guards?
  3. Do all these areas have adequate lighting?
  4. How far is it from this location to where you’ll be serving food and drinks?
  5. Will you need to add festival tents to create more spaces? 

Do your research when looking for suppliers. Look for companies in your area that have lots of experience and good references. Ideally, find one company that can supply you with tent rentals as well as table and chair and dance floor rentals. 

If you are planning a festival in your city, get started by searching terms like “outdoor dance floor rental near me”, “table and chair rental near me” or “tent rentals near me”.

If you’re planning an event in another city, try some search terms like these: “dance floor rental chicago” or “table and chair rental chicago”. Just replace “Chicago” with the name of the host city!

Remember to check that there is space for ablution facilities and sound equipment. Ask questions about electricity supply too!


Security is a major part of any festival. Whether it’s a small event or a large-scale extravaganza, good security is going to be vital.

Work out your security needs based on the size of your event and its location. Think about how much space you have available for crowd control. Consider traffic and people moving in an emergency and make sure to prepare your team.

Get your security locked down well in advance of the festival. Create a full security plan and train team members on all aspects before the big day arrives.

Ticketing and Access Control

Ticketing is the most important part of your festival. It’s what allows you to control access to the event, and it determines how many people will attend. Ticketing is possible in person or online, though there are pros and cons for each option.

If you opt to sell tickets at the gate, your staff needs to be responsible for handling cash. You will also need to make sure there are enough gates open to allow a good flow of people.

If you offer online ticket sales, customers can pre-purchase tickets before the event. Once they’ve registered to attend, they can scan in at the gate, verify the ticket, and have some fun!

You may also consider selling tickets via QR code scanning technology. This allows interested festival-goers to scan a QR code from posters or flyers. They are then taken to a purchasing page to get tickets.

Wrapping It Up

By sticking to the tips covered in this outdoor festival planning checklist, you should be able to come up with a solid plan.

An outdoor event without glitches will create once-in-a-lifetime memories for attendees. If you’re considering Illinois as a destination, we’ve got you covered from Arlington Heights to Winnetka and almost every city in between. 

If you need more tips for planning your event, take a look at our blog

Good luck!

Scroll to Top