Are you planning a music festival? Booking bands, securing a venue, obtaining permits and recruiting volunteers and staff are huge undertakings. But if you want to put on a truly great festival, you may want to go a step further and look into providing some non-musical entertainment options.
While listening to music for hours on end may be absolute heaven for some people, others may enjoy having a few more entertainment options to explore. In this post, we’ll offer some great ideas for non-musical entertainment (with kid-friendly options included) at your music festival. Here’s what we’ll cover:
We’ll also highlight some additional fundraising opportunities to help your nonprofit raise more if you’re hosting a music festival fundraiser. Let’s dive in!
Music festival entertainment ideas
1. Lawn games
Lawn games are a classic favorite, especially for a summertime event. Get some large wooden blocks for giant Jenga or set up other games like croquet, bocce, cornhole, ladder ball or Spikeball.
Food tents are a must, but why stop at cheeseburgers and hot dogs? Mix up your offerings with a sample of local cuisines or unique treats. Barbecue, mac n’ cheese, deep-fried ice cream and funnel cake are all fan favorites. For healthier options, consider having a smoothie tent or salad bar.
3. Face painting
Face painting booths are another way to add color and flair to a festival. Hire a few local artists to paint fun designs on people’s faces. Encourage participants to take selfies and post them on social media with your event hashtag.
4. Arcade tent
Consider setting up an arcade tent. Rent some vintage video games, like Pac-Man. You can also set up foosball and Skee-Ball booths. You’ll get bonus points with your attendees if your arcade tent is air-conditioned (or heated for a wintertime festival)!
5. Volunteer opportunities
Set up a volunteer booth for event attendees to participate in a quick micro-volunteer opportunity that supports your nonprofit.
For example, volunteers might write letters of support for children in the hospital or contribute to a mural that will be displayed in your organization’s community center.
Give booth participants the opportunity to sign up for your volunteer newsletter to receive information about additional volunteer opportunities. Be sure to add their contact information to your volunteer management system to stay in touch.
6. Live demonstrations
Look into hiring some local craftspeople to provide live demonstrations. Glass blowing, weaving, woodcarving and painting are a few good options.
You may not think of music festivals as a place to go to get your portrait painted, but a caricature can make a great souvenir. Or, set up a screen printing station and let people make their own shirts for a fee.
You can also invite local artists to sell their work in a designated area at your festival. Attendees can browse the available artwork in between music sets.
Set up Trivial Pursuit stations and allow users to log in and play on their phones. This can be another great way to pass the time between bands.
A silly contest can keep things upbeat and put smiles on everyone’s faces. Consider hosting a costume contest or a crazy hat or hair competition. This can make your festival a unique experience that stands out from other events.
10. Kids’ activities
If your festival is family-oriented, it’s essential to have some activities just for kids. Bouncy castles, ball pits and mazes can all be lots of fun. A mini-golf station is another possibility. You can also hire some mascot characters, or even put on a puppet show.
Kick off your music festival with an exciting 5K event. Keep the musical vibes going with a live DJ to help pump up the runners and their supporters. You can even bring race winners on stage during your music festival to offer them their medals.
Mix up your musical lineup with a few comedians. You can also hire comedians to act as emcees between your musical acts.
Add a unique element to your festival’s lineup by bringing in a magician, mentalist, or hypnotist to delight and dazzle the crowd. It’s helpful if you can provide a large screen on stage so audience members can see everything that’s happening. This is another great kid-friendly idea.
14. Amusement rides
Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, is well-known for its iconic Ferris wheel. Make your festival stand out by offering amusement rides like a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round or small roller coasters.
15. Photo booth
Let festival attendees capture priceless moments with photo booths or selfie stations throughout your festival. Set up fun props, such as feather boas, signs and sunglasses. Make sure any signs are branded to your organization or festival to help spread brand awareness!
Tips for managing your additional music festival activities
Adding extra activities to your music festival lineup can widen the scope of your festival. That means there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind to promote and accommodate these opportunities effectively.
Follow these tips when incorporating your additional entertainment:
- Ask your existing community members what they’d like to see at your festival. If you’re unsure which additional activities would appeal to your target audience the most, just ask! Send a survey to your volunteers, donors and other stakeholders to ask about their preferences and interests. Involving your community in the decision-making process will help you design an event that speaks to their interests and increases the likelihood of a higher attendance rate.
- Promote your festival’s extra activities in your marketing materials. In addition to your music lineup, make sure your event promotional materials include information about the additional experiences available at the event. Provide a festival venue map so attendees know where each activity is.
- Assign volunteers or staff to help manage each activity. Some activities will require supervision to ensure the safety of everyone involved. For example, if you’re bringing amusement rides into your festival, you’ll have to hire an outside company to provide the rides and safety equipment. You might assign volunteers to roles like supervising the kid’s activities or managing the volunteer booth. Determine how many volunteers you’ll need at each station before launching your recruitment efforts.
- Consider adding an extra cost to some activities to raise more funding for your cause. For instance, you might require 5K participants to raise at least $50 to join the race or include a small fee to use your photo booth. Make it clear how these extra funds will support your nonprofit, whether that means boosting your volunteer program, helping you buy new supplies and equipment or expanding your community investment efforts.
These tips will help increase engagement with your non-musical activities and raise more for your cause while providing a positive attendee experience.
Planning a festival is a lot of work, especially if you’re aiming to please a broad audience. Pair these ideas with a dedicated fleet of volunteers and you’ll be another step closer to that goal.
Looking for more information about how volunteers fit into your event planning strategy? Start with these additional resources:
- The Smart Nonprofit’s Guide to Volunteer Management. The volunteer management process involves recruitment, onboarding and engagement. This guide walks through each step of the process to help optimize your approach.
- Complete Festival Planning Guide for Nonprofits. Planning your additional activities is just one step of the festival planning process. Review the full planning checklist in this post for more guidance.
- How to Schedule Event Staff and Volunteers Efficiently. Your volunteer and staff scheduling for your festival might get complicated, especially if your event takes place over multiple days. Use the advice in this guide to streamline the process.