Publications & Policies

A Guide for the Planning and Organisation of Community Festivals & other Events

A Guide for the Planning and Organisation of Community Festivals & other Events

On a global basis there is an unprecedented interest in festivals and events – at international and national level, in cities and towns, in villages, rural and coastal areas and within local communities. Everyone wants to celebrate their particular form of culture, tradition, difference or similarity with others. Festivals can help to promote a destination or highlight an historic occasion, cultural or heritage significance.

Although festivals and events vary enormously in type and form, the planning process, management issues and considerations are often surprisingly similar. With today’s audiences expecting high quality entertainment, production and a support service, creating that memorable event, for all the right reasons, is no easy task!

There are numerous types of festivals in the world. Though many have religious origins, others involve seasonal change or have cultural significance. Certain institutions also celebrate their own festival (often called “fests”) to mark significant occasions in their history.

Festivals usually take the form of a `theme’ or `common’ area of interest and can be based around many topics, such as:

Arts, Comedy, Film, Beer, Cultural, Folk, Celebration, Harvest, Food, Renaissance, Literary, Mela, Music, Religious, Rock, Science, Sport, Storytelling, Theatre, Wine and Winter

Perhaps if you take a moment you can relate to a number of events and festivals that are held on an annual basis and in established locations. From a Northern Ireland perspective we may relate to the annual North West 200, the Balmoral Show, Halloween celebrations or the SuperCupNI annual Soccer Competition. Whatever your reason in wanting to organise a festival, for or within your local community there are a number of key areas to be considered and issues addressed.

This `Guide to Good Practice’ has been written to provide a source of reference for those planning and organising community festivals and other events and is a general guide, which should be of assistance to the first time organiser or an experienced practitioner alike. The guide and its contents should be used when planning either an indoor or outdoor event or festival, but it would be evident that organising or holding an event in an established and recognised venue does reduce problems and services/equipment requirements.