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Festivals Toolkit: Event Management

Effective event management requires an overview of the whole organisation of the event to ensure that all those involved in the organisation of the event, internally and externally, know what is going on, where, when and how, and what needs to happen if things don't go to plan.
festivals image event management

A basic Event Plan should include the following:

  • Event Organisation
  • Event Management
  • Risk Assessment
  • Emergency Management
  • Major Emergency Reporting
  • Media Handling

A Site Plan should include the following:

  • A detailed site map/plan
  • Details of preparing the site to getting off site
  • Greenfield sites and issues of audience safety/comfort
  • Security – legislative context; training
  • Transport: travel/signage; parking (local impacts)
  • Logistics plan
  • Health & safety
  • Catering

Ensure you have a back-up plan for every contingency!

The weather can be a determining factor in an event's success/failure. Getting correct information prior to the event will allow you to implement contingency plans where necessary.

Whilst you cannot change the weather, you can organise around the weather by getting information in advance.

Check online local forecasts at:

Event Manual or Management Plan
Like the process of assessing risks associated with the event, the formation of an Event Manual or Management Plan is based on common sense and planning. If you have been systematic in your planning, you will already have compiled much of the Event Manual document content. Check that you have included the following:

  • Your definition of the aims and objectives for your event
  • The structure of your event management team
  • The names and contact numbers (mobiles) of your Event Manager and Event Safety Coordinator and others who must be contactable at all times
  • A list of the component parts of your event e.g. detailed programme for the day(s)
  • Paragraphs detailing how each component is to be managed. Within these sections it is good practice to include copies of contracts with artists and suppliers as these should contain important information such as get-in/get-out times, financial information and how they are to be paid, what equipment they will bring with them, copies of any public indemnity insurance, what you are due to supply and where from (and who will collect and return any hired/borrowed equipment) and your own insurance certificates and relevant licenses
  • Risk Assessments for your event and all associated activities
  • Emergency handling procedures

This document will be very useful in the potential absence of the event organiser and could enable the event team to proceed with the event in the way that the organiser originally intended. If you approach your Plan on this basis, it should become clear to you how much detail you need to include in the document. It is at this stage in your planning that you will need to ensure you have enough knowledge and expertise to manage your event safely and effectively and to take appropriate action to cover any gaps that may be identified.

Unless you are organising a very simple event on a very small scale, it is likely that you will need to contact a number of outside agencies to ensure that you have all the information you need and that you are not proceeding without necessary permissions and licenses (when obtained these too should be copied and included in your Event Manual). Once you have taken the necessary advice and ensured there are no objections to the event, you will be in a position to complete your written Event Manual. You will then be ready to proceed with the practical work required to:

  • Meet the aims and objectives of your original event definition
  • Ensure you manage each component of the event in accordance with your Management Plan
  • Ensure you manage the event in accordance with the control measures defined in your Risk Assessments

When completed, and it is likely to take several days, the finished Event Manual should be copied and distributed as appropriate to staff who will work on the site and by arrangement to any emergency services. You will have determined before so doing whether the whole manual is to be distributed or just parts of it. For example, information concerning artists’ contracts should only be shared with a limited number of people.

Further information:

  • A Practical Event Planning Guide by Tourism North East is available to download from the related documents section below
  • Event Planning Guide by Canterbury City Council

Related documents

The following document is in Word format. You can download software to view Word documents for free from the Word viewer page (opens in a new window) of the Microsoft website.

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