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How to Run a Music Festival for People of Color

Updated: Mar 24

We're sure you've heard of them. Music festivals are a thing of the century. From the Essence Music Festival to events like Coachella, these festivals are a must-attend for music lovers.


A festival allows organizers and artists to showcase their talents to local or global patrons (in the case of a digital festival).


For centuries, music has been a fixture in the black community. Music is a fundamental part of black heritage, from days of singing hymns while picking cotton to jazz meant to uplift our souls, and now in 2022, when black people dominate global music charts. Music is a thread that weaves us all together.



What's the significance of a music festival?


In our current climate, most people of color use festivals to reclaim their pride and celebrate their vibrant traditions while paying homage to their ancestry through food, dance, music, and apparel.


At these festivities, people of color and their allies may be seen embellishing their appearance with decorative African dot paintings on their faces, wearing African-made Dashikis, and even wearing African hairdos. The appeal of these festivals is that they bring everyone together to share in raising awareness of culture.


Music festivals are a terrific method to bring a diverse group of people together since they serve as an opportunity for everyone to be their most beautiful and highest self. Nevertheless, organizing a successful music festival takes a lot of effort.


This article will discuss some of the steps you need to organize a festival for people of color. It will also bring to your awareness the wonderful work being done by an amazing woman of color, Annette Jackson who runs the California Soul-Food Cookout.


Step 1: Find Your Why?


The first step in organizing a music carnival for people of color is to find your "why?" It would be best if you had a reason for organizing the festival; otherwise, your festival may not be successful. Every successful music festival has a central idea. For instance, the MACROCK festival is organized to promote independent creatives while educating and helping them to form connections through its panels and expo.


Step 2: Location, Location, Location:


Next, you need a suitable location for your event as the site of a festival is pivotal to its success. You may need to consider the duration, number of acts, side attractions, and the attending population of the event. If you're organizing an outdoor festival, you may need to obtain permits according to the city's laws. The importance of research in this phase cannot be overstated since it considerably aids in securing an appropriate venue.


Step 3: Pick Your Artistes


Now, what's a music festival without good music? Before building your lineup, remember that your audience is primarily people of color. So when planning, you'll have to consider the genre of music that excites your audience. Next, you must call artists to gauge their interest and availability for the event.


It's advisable to book the headlining acts before the indigenous artists. Ensure to have some backup artistes as a contingency plan. Also include DJs, as they bring life to the party.


A good DJ can be the difference between a failed show and a successful one. Make sure to negotiate prices within your budget as you secure the acts.


Step 4: Set your prices:


Next, you need to determine ticket prices. Once you have your purpose, venue, artistes, you'll have a better idea as to how much you can charge. Set your prices and gear up to get the funding you need to firm up your needs.

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