But what does it take to plan, execute and then clean up these multi-day music oases? A lot of people.
Below, check out our list of the hands needed to create those weekends you’ll remember forever.
1. Production team
“Anything you can think of … from using the restrooms to buying beer to cooling down to seeing the music or enjoying a VIP area, our production team is responsible for every little bit of that,” Patrick Dentler, director of marketing at C3 tells Mashable.
The production team at Lollapalooza also hires security and surveillance through the use of local police and security agencies, and creates the crisis communication plan, which covers every scenario possible — from bombings to stage collapses. A week and a half before the festival, the team will fly out to the venue and begin setting up the perimeter.
2. Artist management team
This team of about 15 people for Lollapalooza are the day-to-day managers for artists like the Strokes or Bassnectar. They get their represented artist booked in the festival, and then during the festival itself, they help the artists by running their social media and running other necessary errands for them.
3. Sign language translator
For Outside Lands and Bonnaroo, these employees sign the lyrics of songs for hearing impaired attendees.
4. Video and photography team
“You have to live stream now to be credible,” Dentler says. “[It] really does a great job of extending the reach of the event.”
A video team is essential for recording the eight hours of performing artists, so those at home can also view the event.
5. Yoga instructor
Bonnaroo offers free yoga classes every morning (and one midnight session) of the weekend festival. The program is called Yoga-roo, and requires instructors to lead the yogis.
6. Head art director and the creative department
These guys help create everything visual, from the website to onsite elements like sponsor activation, Dentler says. They also work on designing the stage scrims — the trippy graphics shown at the sides of the stage.
7. Talent buying division
For Lollapalooza, the talent buying division consists of about 30 members. This team books the bands and works with agents to figure out their performing time slots. Dentler says their job is “strictly to just be in the know of what’s going on in the music business,” regarding popular artists and how many tickets a particular artist can sell.
8. Stage manager
“You could imagine: one stage, 10 bands throughout eight hours. You’re just having a lot of production,” Dentler says.
He compares the stage manager to a train conductor, with the stage being a smoothly running train. The manager ensures that all musicians are there on time and have the right equipment for their scheduled performances.
9. Sustainability consultant
This person advises the festival on how they can better their existing sustainable practices. For Bonnaroo, this results in on-site composting and a permanent solar array.
10. Culinary ambassadors
Food vendors are arguably as important as the music artists themselves. At an all-day festival, the options better be delicious, and for many, local. Dentler insists you won’t find regular festival fare at Lollapalooza. Instead, they work with local Chicago chefs who help curate vendors with unique items — a lobster corn dog, for example.
11. Food vendors
Then, there’s the vendors themselves. If you want to sell food or drinks at Coachella, you’ll need to work from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to its online application, and pay a few fees. Best Beverage Catering, which helps cater Coachella, states on its website, “We create Restaurant Rows featuring local establishments vending their hometown classics at public events.”
According to Inc., some vendors stay in RVs for the whole weekend, rotating in shifts, and it definitely helps with the resume.
“We got up at 7 a.m. to load everything up, and on Friday we closed at 11 p.m., then cleaned up until 12:30. I went to sleep at 3 a.m., then repeated the same thing for two days in a row,” one vendor with Mexicali Taco & Co. told Inc.. “It’s a big grind.”
12. The marketing team
Dentler and his team of about nine people “do everything from traditional marketing in PR to digital marketing mobile apps,” he says. Their goal is to sell tickets and drive awareness through contests, giveaways, and just working with bands and brands.
Once a festival ends, Dentler and his crew starts planning out the next one. They use the fall and winter to start scheduling things, but once spring comes, things “really kick off.”
Last but definitely not least are the volunteers, who work the festival and in turn attend for free — meal tokens and free showers included. Bonnaroo calls them the “C’roo“.
“They work all over the festival on various smaller C’roos to support the festival staff,” the website says. Jobs range from clean-up to check-in at gates and toll booths, and they help set-up tents and decor.
At Lollapalooza, volunteers work the front gates and help with crowd flow at the front entrances, as well as assistance with handicap accessibility.
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