Unpredictable and changing circumstances are making it difficult to plan any festival this summer but we are a resourceful lot in the cultural sector.

It may be raining, biting or blowing a gale but organisers and audiences alike are proving that, with a cagoule and creative attitude, we can keep the festival spirit going. Here are a few observations that are worth bearing in mind...

  1. Be the fun one. Outdoor audiences say their top motivation is to do something interesting with friends and family. This is truer now than ever! Considering how you can facilitate social interaction even through simple ideas can go a long way.
  2. Embrace digital opportunities. The last year has accelerated the role of digital, often as an accompanying integral element of the physical that enhances the experience and builds community and dialogue. Successful organisations are considering this as part of the whole user journey – before, during and after the event.
  3. Keep it moving. Being outdoors can empower festivals to take its work out and about to the people. Outdoor festivals have always been good at this, using public spaces, streets and parks. As well as engaging people where they are, it also has the added benefit of animating your environment.
  4. Encourage creativity. Our recent research in the Covid-19 Monitor has demonstrated that people are interested in low pressure opportunities to exercise their own creativity. The trick seems to be to provide easy–to-access interaction with and between artists and communities.
  1. Know what’s working. Experiment, but use the available data, research, resources and guidance to make sure you’re building a clear picture of what is and isn’t working as you go. You don’t have to step into the unknown alone… and future-you will be very grateful you kept track.