I disagree with pretty much everything rocksteady just said. You will need to put up lots of cash upfront before anyone will take you anywhere near seriously. Even if you could manage to sell tickets and pay for everything with those ticket sales, I'm pretty sure even established fests aren't profitable from ticket sales alone. Take away the $9 beers, $11 meals and all the merch from Sasquatch and it probably wouldn't even turn a profit. You would need money to start with and then make some of it back by selling stuff at the fest.
Also, the thought of a fest making money in it's first year is pretty unlikely, especially a fest thrown by a bunch of people who know nothing about it.
Start small with a budget of something like $100,000 then learn from your mistakes and grow slowly.
Cosign everything Davers said. You don't start something like Sasquatch as just a bunch of ragtag music fans. You have to be Livenation or Goldenvoice to have the reach to promote something like that from scratch. Your goal here is to start with something small, provide an awesome experience for a few years, and then eventually build an audience that can grow. It's a lot harder than it sounds.
People have obviously thought about doing this before. But that doesn't make a bad idea necessarily. In the second article they propose a really interesting idea to get the initial money. Promote the festival as "the people's festival", where people could buy shares, or memberships. In return they could maybe have a VIP style treatment, or have some sort of say about how things are run. Could that possibly work?
And if you are somewhat of a legitimate citizen, there are banks that will finance an idea like this as long as you have a good game plan and some good artists. Also corporate sponsors go a long way. Im sure Esurance is coming out of pocket for most of if not all of the initial cost since its advertising exposure for them, its ok if they dont recoup the money at the festival. They would spend that kind of money to put out one commercial easily. Yay for corporate america!
Who do you think you are? We're talking a bunch of dudes starting a festival. You will not get sponsors and you will not get any sort of a signifigant loan from the bank. The bank has no idea what 'good' artists are. If I go into a bank wanting money for a festival telling them I have The Naked and Famous and Grouplove willing to headline they would think it's some sort of orgy.
By the way, even if you are Live Nation, things can still go pretty bad. The first and only Pemberton Music Festival was backed by Live Nation, had sponsors and all that, sold out, and still managed to lose millions of dollars.
Davers, I guarantee you could get some form of sponsorship for something like this. I've done a little bit of this type of thing, i.e going out and looking for sponsors for an event. Companies always jump at the idea--especially if you sell it as something that will make them look like the best company ever (like saying its the greenest festival etc)
Also regarding Pemberton: They did not lose money. The only reason they didn't throw that shit-storm again was because they couldn't get the land, probably because it was so fucked up after the fest.
Somewhere up there Rocksteady said something to the effect of "Esurance put up a lot of money out of pocket" which I disagree with. Sure they paid a sponsorship fee, but trust me that sponsorship fee is a drop in the bucket as far as what Sasquatch actually needs in terms of up-front cash/security to make the festival happen every year.
Also, even if you could somehow secure a big enough bank loan to put on a festival, they would not take "projected ticket sales" as any type of collateral because they're not stupid. If you don't sell out or hit your ticket sales target, you'd pretty much have to declare bankruptcy at that point.
In order to do it you'd have to have the cash up front to secure the talent (a deposit), the venue (also a deposit), ticket vendor, security, permits, stage/sound setup. After that you'd be looking for sponsors, vendors, securing additional special-duty officers for outside the venue, possibly setting up parking arrangements, and paying for general staff. Not to mention you'll need to actually pay yourself for your time, because you will not be able to hold down your day job while planning a concert festival (unless your job is to plan concert festivals).
I know this is all just talk but.....I've actually ran a very, very small one day festival and I also interned at Bumbershoot (on the sponsorship team)...one of the biggest costs comes in the form of insurance you have to be indemnified against someone getting hurt. Usually underwritten by an insurance company who who regularly covers this sort of thing. That indemnification does not come cheap...then there is the rental fee for the property...and the cost of the police...All those grant county cops on hand at Sasquatch are getting paid by Sasquatch...and wages for all the personnel to work the merch booths, ticket booths, grounds crew, beer stands etc....then there is the stage crew, lighting experts, sound guys, private security etc etc...And we haven't even started talking about artist fees and the transportation costs getting to and from the event....And all those sponsors at Sasquatch? Many provide in-kind sponsorships, which means very little money changes hands - rather there is a trade off in advertising or services...you would need very deep pockets and a solid business plan to get an investment and probably would not see any money from banks...but that's just my own 2 cents
Rusty did you go to Pemberton? It was a huge clusterfuck. Security walked off the job and the panic hired new people. Basically everything went wrong and when that happens you need to throw money at it.
They did get a new lease on the land in late 2009 yet they have never done another one. Partially because they pissed the town off and mostly because they lost a shit ton of money.
Pemberton started my love affair with music festivals and I read any news that had to do with the possibility of another one for over a year. In 2009 after a lenghty process to get approval they signed a 10 year lease on the land. At that point it was too late to do a 2009 version. I thought for sure there would be a 2010 version but it never happened, mostly because they couldn't figure a way to close the massive gap between the money earned and the money spent. That area just isn't meant for 40000 people.
It's too bad really. Even with the lack of security and whatnot the worst part of the weekend by far was sitting in that trainyard/gravel parking lot for 3hrs in 35 degree heat waiting for a bus to the camping area. Just brutal
I came from the opposite side; no bus, just a little walk from the parking lot. But then I had to jog back to my car, and drive to pick up my girlfriend from the shit-show side of things, so I definitely so how lame that was.
Coming from Edmonton why wouldn't you have been on the other side?