How to put on a mini music festival in your garden

How to put on a mini music festival in your garden

Now that summer’s on its way, you might well be thinking about which summer festivals you’ll be going to. Then again, why not put on a tiny wee music festival of your very own? That’s what I did, and I’m here to share my mini music festival tips. We set one up in our garden and it was amazing!

It’s at this point that having a good-sized garden comes in handy. If you haven’t got much outdoor space, trying co-organising with a friend that has. Or, failing that, just make it an indoor thing.

Music and bands?

Use people you know to provide live music. If you have friends in bands or know anyone with any musical talent, now is the time to flush them out. You could always insist that everyone has to perform something… you never know what hidden talents might emerge! Sure, it will make your event a little more eclectic (and maybe even karaoke) than most music festivals, but at least it will only be in front of people you know.

If you’re opting for any kind of soundsystem, set yourself a strict curfew and warn neighbours in advance so they know what to expect. Make sure that any musicians are protected from rain – they will want to know their instruments are safe. Keeping anything electric safe from harm in wet weather is also a massive must!

If you’re reading this in times of lockdown, any musicians you know have been thirsty for a gig for months. A tiny intimate self-distancing crowd, a garden gig slot – it’s their dream come true. They’ve probably already got their gig-friendly face mask ready for just such an occasion. If there’s enough sanitisation and any necessary health and safety precautions to go round, people will be happy.

Should you charge an entrance fee?

I’m assuming you’re not actually going to charge your friends or family, but how about some kind of donation to charity? If you went for something like Oxfam gifts you could commemorate your festival with a charitable group purchase. We do the shoebox appeal for Operation Christmas Child, so we usually get people to bring something for that.

Catering for a mini festival?

There are various ways you could organise the catering so the burden doesn’t all fall on you. The potluck approach works! You could get everyone to bring a different dish, get people to bring their own picnics or even provide some disposable barbecues and get everyone to bring their own meat/veggie burgers. Liquids are as important as food – if it’s a sunny day, everyone needs to stay hydrated.

If you’re having a BIG mini festival (or a DIY wedding) check out Mookychick’s vegetarian chilli recipe for 200 people.

Where will people sleep?

Most people don’t mind roughing it a bit at a festival – opt for tents in the garden, or sleeping bags on floors (if there’s room and, obviously, any thoughts in this direction need to take lockdown health and safety guidelines for all concerned into consideration). If your mini music festival isn’t occuring in times of pandemic, contact local B&B’s for those willing to pay for a comfy bed.

Choosing a name for your mini festival

Choosing a name is one of the best bits of the whole advenutre!

Before you send out your invitations, you’re going to need a catchy name to get people’s interest. I always think a title with the words “annual” and/or “international” sound very impressive – ours was “The Annual Carter’s Clay International Music Festival” – but you can call yours whatever you like.

Have a great mini festival in your garden this summer! It’s an experience your friends and family will never forget.