Home > Free Essays > Entertainment & Media > Events > Festival Organization Challenges
Cite this

Festival Organization Challenges Research Paper


The history of festival organisations dates back to the nineteenth century when the first music festival organised by the Coachella festivals hit the ground in the United States. The annually most attended festival attracted people from all lifestyles and occupations, including government bigwigs from different countries who enjoyed the festivals. The festival acted as a place of leisure after a long year of work and the. Therefore, it acted as a relief to the working day life. The first festival, founded by Denis de Rougemont in 1952, was in Europe and formed part of the European Festivals Association (EFA), a body that governed the operations of such events (Van der Wagen, 2007).

Different festivals emerged later in the years, making it a field of greater investment. The increasing number of festivals in both Europe and other parts of the world reduces the efficiency and organisational mechanisms of the events leading to the emergence of other organisational bodies such as the American Festivals Association, which only operated and controlled the festivals within the American continent (Onderdonk & Hurd, 2000). Later on, other continents too decentralised the control of their festivals, posing a greater challenge to the ancient festivals. This led to wrangles in the control strategies with the adoption of a uniting policy to curb the rapid rise of such festivals (Devine & Devine, 2012).

The main reason for focusing on this research is due to the increasing incidences of complaints from the public about the present trends in the organisation of the festivals. Many people opt to avoid such places over security and low quality of services offered during the events. The main question of concern is the operations management for tourism and leisure in these sectors. Even though the study does not cover all the sectors to draw a comparison, the study of Glastonbury festival is a good indicator of the trend in almost all the other festivals’ organisational structure.

The main objective of this research is to determine the role of service operations in providing services that meet customer service quality expectations, especially managerial decision making. Taking into account the management system of the Glastonbury system of management, the project tries to relate such practices with those of other tourism and leisure festivals. The research majorly focuses on the administrative role of the organisation bodies and top managers of these festivals.

Literature Review

In the recent past, the world over continues to face different challenges with the most celebrated festivals posing greater challenges in their organisational structure. The tourism and leisure sectors have continued to exhibit poor performance with the low turnout for various events. In the United States, for instance, the number of citizens attending such annual festivals greatly reduced due to the management of such events, which tend to leave most attendants unsatisfied with the services offered (Van der Wagen, 2007). Moreover, the trend in the organisation has changed, forcing the people to adapt to the new trend, which affects the satisfaction of the people to some extent. These factors are forms the basis of the challenges that deprives the commonly known festivals and some even incur massive losses in them eventually.

Currently, there are several music festivals globally, but their management remains poor, unable to offer quality and reliable services to the clients. Therefore, people have opted not to attend these festivals. Even though many viewed the emergence of different forms of festivals to be a foundation to stiffer competition in the sector, most people remain amazed by the depreciating trend of the services offered (Abreu-Novais & Arcodia, 2013). The leisure and operational management services deprive due to a limited number of adequately trained personnel to handle a large number of individuals that throng most of these festivals. The change in the trend of the festivals created a significant effect in the system of management, promoting the essence of collaboration.

Organisation and Methodology

The structure of every festival is unique in its own way; however, the festivals occur during the summer seasons when most of the people are on holidays, especially the students. The organisations of these festivals follow a given pattern with most of the participants being volunteers in the field of music and arts. A review of the major festivals such as Coachella, Glastonbury, and Woodstock provide limelight of the organisational structure of the festivals. Most festivals are owned by individuals through the guidance of a team that focuses on the management of the festivals.

The methodology applied in this study is the observation of the trend in the number of individuals attending the present festivals and deriving a comparison with secondary sources from the previous attendances (Onderdonk & Hurd, 2000). A comparison of the information obtained from the three festivals of interest provides a foundation of the analysis of the challenges facing the management system of such festivals. Secondly, direct interview with both the individual owners of such festivals together with the management team provides additional information that would establish the change in the functioning of the festivals. The mode of the interview would be through guided questionnaires, which contains both open and closed set of questions. In case of need for clarification, one on one interview will apply.

Analysis of the Managerial challenges

Different festival organisations continue to face a wide scope of challenges that contributes to the low turnout and at times, reduction of the massive festivals into some small occasions attended by few people. The continuous rise in the city fees together with long procedures involved in acquiring licenses remains a great challenge. Glastonbury, for instance, hiked its charges in 2008 following heavy charges from the city leaders in charge of such occasions.

At the same time, Lollapalooza also faced the same challenge in 2012, changing its cultural plan that earlier existed for the last fourteen years to a mere summer event in the following year. Woodstock also experienced the trend leading to a changed plan of the events of the festivals to other seasons of the year. The effect of such changes arose due to the change in the leadership structure. Coachella leadership structure changed rapidly through the enactment of the new policies in 2008, an effect that contributed to a fall in the 2009 festivals that was hit by a large number of gate-crashers (Onderdonk & Hurd, 2000).

Managing tasks and solving problems remains a challenge to most of the organisations in charge of different festivals. The organisers of the events continue to face challenges related to controlling the number of people that attend such gatherings. The trend is evident in almost all the major festivals, including Coachella, believed to be one of the most responsible festivals. According to Van der Wagen (2007), the continued number of controlled entry to the event poses a great threat to the attendees of the event. Glastonbury records the highest number of gate-crashers – a trend related to the leadership of the festivals.

In late 2001, the number of people who attended the festival estimates to 250, 000 people, but only 100, 000 tickets sold. Woodstock, too suffer from the same impact with the number of people who did not pay to attend the occasion exceeded the number of people who made payments in 2009. The supply of necessities such as accommodation and food, among other essential requirements remain a great challenge in these festivals. People suffered from frequent storms and inadequate food supply even after paying the total charges. Moreover, there was a lack of clean water in most festivals during the period of performance.

For instance, Coachella remains the leading festival’s organisers with the city organisers, denying them an operational license in 2012 because of the inability to manage the continuous supply of water. A year later, Woodstock too did not hold their annual festivals due to the threats by the licensing to disrupt the whole festival of that year unless they enacted strategies to curb such challenges. Glastonbury also faced the challenge in 2008. However, correction of such challenges still poses a greater threat with most people unable to define the cost of creating favourable conditions for such notable changes.

Another problem that contributes to the questioning of the managerial standards of the operations and quality service provision of the Glastonbury festival is working with and relating to others. The effectiveness of the festivals depends on how the attendants relate to one another and the visitors. Over the recent past, most people who attend the festivals have constantly complained of the mishandling of people at the festivals. A good ordeal was the 2004 incidence at Glastonbury in which all the available tickets sold within 24 hours (Stationary, 2010). The rest of the population got no help from the organisers.

They had to struggle by their own mechanisms to enter into the festival arena. Consequently, the management could not allow them to gain entry free of charge. Therefore, they adopted the online mechanism of applying for tickets, a decision that saw slow-down in connections since more than two million people attempted to acquire the tickets. Gelder & Robinson (2009) assert that the unpredictable number of attendees for these festivals has remained an impossible probability in the decision making regarding the number of tickets to produce. Over the recent past, specifically in the 2014 festival, the same challenge is still evident in Coachella with most people facing delays for even the whole day at the entrance.

Organisational management support in decision-making

The organisational management structure incorporates both the management team and the attendees of such festivals. The incorporation of all participants, both direct and indirect, provides pertinent information essential in the formulation of a decision fit for improved services offered (Onderdonk & Hurd, 2000). The organisational structure must receive feedback from the attendees through the collection of information from a given sample and use this sample to determine the overall perception of the activity. This would help improve the next festival focusing on the quality of services.

Timely communication forms the basis of advancement in the operations of any organisation. Most organisers of these festivals lack good communication skills posing a greater challenge to their advancement (Kitterlin & Yoo, 2014). Maintenance of both vertical and horizontal passage of information is essential in promoting heritage in the operations of leisure and tourism firms. The feedback from these communications provides tangible backgrounds to decision making.


Most tourism and leisure organisations face challenges in decision-making, especially festival associations. Proper decision managerial capability is essential to maintain service delivery to the customers in order to maintain high operational standards. The organisational scheme ought to include everyone in its decision making, taking into consideration all the potential emerging challenges.


Abreu-Novais, M., & Arcodia, C. (2013). Music Festival Motivators for Attendance: Developing an Agenda for Research. International Journal of Event Management Research, 8(1), 34-48. Web.

Devine, A., & Devine, F. (2012). The challenge and opportunities for an event organiser during an economic recession. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 3(2), 122-136. Web.

Gelder, G., & Robinson, P. (2009). A Critical Comparative Study of Visitor Motivations for Attending Music Festivals: A Case Study of Glastonbury and V Festival. Event Management, 13(3), 181-196. Web.

Kitterlin, M., & Yoo, M. (2014). Festival motivation and loyalty factors. Tourism & Management Studies, 10(1), 119-126. Web.

Onderdonk, J., & Hurd, M. (2000). The Glastonbury Festivals. The Musical Times, 125(1698), 435-437. Web.

Stationary, L. (2010). Fuel cell power for Latitude, Glastonbury music festivals. Fuel Cells Bulletin, 8(3), 6-7. Web.

Van der Wagen, L. (2007). Human resource management for events. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Web.

This research paper on Festival Organization Challenges was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, June 23). Festival Organization Challenges. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/festival-organization-challenges/

Work Cited

"Festival Organization Challenges." IvyPanda, 23 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/festival-organization-challenges/.

1. IvyPanda. "Festival Organization Challenges." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/festival-organization-challenges/.


IvyPanda. "Festival Organization Challenges." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/festival-organization-challenges/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Festival Organization Challenges." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/festival-organization-challenges/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Festival Organization Challenges'. 23 June.

Related papers