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Chapter 2 Festival Design and Programming

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-911396-82-6-4069

ISBN: 978-1-911396-82-6

Published: January 2019

Component type: chapter

Published in: Principles of Festival Management

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-911396-82-6-3894



In this chapter we set out the principles, the possibilities, the processes and the practicalities of designing your festival. We start from the principle that festival design is first and foremost the artistic creation of the event, mentally and physically. That is, first the festival is conceived in the designers’ mind: it is imagined, reflected on and desired. Second, the designer works through the possibilities and practicalities of what they want to do, including the key area of programming, before moving on to the process of festival production. As we shall see the increasing necessity of designing a good festival ‘experience’ is all important. There is, however, no shirking the many physical and practical considerations, such as venue size, utilities, and duration, all of which have to be considered at this design stage. This chapter assumes you are starting from scratch, because that ensures we cover all of the bases. If you are designing or redesigning a festival that already exists, the main difference is that you will need to know what your audiences and other stakeholders value about the festival’s current design so you don’t alienate them. This chapter defines what festival design includes and stresses the importance of being clear on why you want to produce a festival. It looks at the central factors that sustain a festival. What is the festival’s rationale? What is its vision? What makes for a good programme? You may already have a clear idea of what you want to do and why, in which case this chapter will be a good means of testing it. Alternately you may know you want to stage a festival but may not be clear on the theme or rationale. This chapter will help you focus on that.

Finally, festivals are a combination of vision and detail. It is often easiest to start with the details such as logo design or decor, but don’t let that distract you from the core questions of why you want to undertake this difficult, tiring and risky project, and who you are producing it for. The chapter starts with the vision and rationale as this will inform the all-important detail that will follow. You don’t build a house without first laying the foundations. Festival design can involve a wide range of rationales and motivations. These can include personal motivators including beliefs and philosophy, aesthetic and artistic rationale, place and spatial issues and of course finances. We will examine all of them in this chapter.

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  • Paul Kelly, Festivals Organiser and Fundraiser (Author)
  • Jennie Jordan, Leicester Castle Business School (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University Leicester (Author)
  • Jennie Jordan, Leicester Castle Business School (Author)
  • Paul Kelly, Festivals Organiser and Fundraiser (Author)
  • Kristy Diaz, Loughborough University (Author)

Cite as

Kelly & Jordan, 2019

Kelly, P. & Jordan, J. (2019) "Chapter 2 Festival Design and Programming" In: Newbold, C., Jordan, J., Kelly, P. & Diaz, K. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-911396-82-6-4069


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Chapter 2 Festival Design and Programming [Details]Price: £5.99*Licences / Downloadable file

Published in Principles of Festival Management

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