5 step survival guide to working Scotland’s summer festivals

Festival season is fast approaching and with it, the tents, tunes and organised chaos are calling.

As we prepare for the busy summer months and the many Scottish festivals we have the pleasure of working on, we’re dusting off our wellies, bum bags and ‘positive mental attitudes’ as we look forward to our most successful season yet.

Here’s our 5 step guide for those working Scotland’s summer festivals…

1. Arrive early

Being a keen bean and arriving on site as early as possible will give you a chance to get to know your co-workers, event organisers and festival volunteers before things kick off. 

As well as being fun, fast-paced and full of craic, a Scottish music festival is a great networking opportunity.

You are sure to work alongside and interact with talented, like-minded people in the industry, so get there sharp and make the most of it!

By arriving before the masses, you’ll also have the chance to watch as the site fills and excitement rises amongst ticket holders.

The atmosphere is second to none and it’s a great content-capturing opportunity.

2. Plan ahead, but expect the unexpected

Festivals are among the most vibrant, exciting and lively events on the Scottish summer calendar. For those working at them, however, they can also keep you on your toes and test your problem-solving abilities.

It’s important to remain one step ahead whenever possible. Forward planning will reduce stress on the ground, and allow you to cover the event as effectively, and smoothly, as possible. 

Briefing photographers, videographers and interviewees in advance, pulling together a schedule of must-cover content, having reactive lines and template media releases in place before you arrive on site, and having a secure outline for how media accreditation will run, will all save precious time and mean you come away with everything you need.

Do remember, however, that it is impossible to predict the future when it comes to events and best laid plans can go awry due to a whole host of unexpected challenges – from unpredictable weather and disrupted travel plans to programme changes and venue or site logistics. It’s all par for the course but clear, open and timely communication and creativity comes into its own in these situations.

3. Pack for every season

Scotland is an epicentre of world-class music, rich in culture, and well-known for its welcoming hospitality. Pair all of that with its glorious scenery, and you’ve got the ideal setting for a summer festival.

As it is Scotland, however, where the weather is known to change upwards of five times a day, packing for every season is paramount.

We’re always sure to chuck a pair of wellies or comfy shoes, jumpers, layerable tees and plenty of spare socks in with us, as well as a hat, sunnies, waterproof jacket and the all-important bum bag!

4. Try to be in the present moment

While planning ahead is crucial when it comes to working a festival, it’s also important to be in the present moment whenever possible.

Make the most of your time on the ground by keeping an eye out for engaging social media content, interesting interview opportunities, and soak up the incredible atmosphere as much as you can.

There will always be something new to take in and wee nuggets of content which perfectly sum up the personality of that event.

The closer you are to the goings on of any festival, in our experience, the better job you can do shouting about it.

5. Have fun!

Late nights, aching legs, sore feet, bags under your eyes… anyone who works in events will recognise these event-time working symptoms! But the privilege of working with some of the best musical talent in Scotland and beyond, in fantastic locations and venues, with talented professionals around you, far outweighs any of that. 

Not everyone gets to catch their favourite band live from side of stage or share the stories of the brilliant people that make an event happen.

When you look back at your overall experience, it’s unlikely you’ll remember how long it was you went without a seat, or the amount of sleep you managed to cram into your busy schedule.  

It’s the people you meet, the craic, the scenery, the atmosphere and, of course, the music, that makes working a Scottish festival so magically memorable. Communicate with your co-workers, get stuck in, and embrace every second of it!