Last weekend saw thousands of folk descend on the Rabbit Warren in St Peter Port for the second ever Guernsey Festival.
Having implemented a campaign to increase awareness of the music festival before the event with the brilliant festival organisers Jon and Paul Stephen, our first tangible result was a 30% increase in ticket sales with a week to go. At the event Orchard was in charge of organising the 40 journalists, photographers and television crew members eager for interviews with the stellar line up including Macy Gray, The Chartalans and the Kasier Chiefs. With over 80 artists involved across the weekend, it was a massive Orchard undertaking.
My first visit to the site was five days before kick-off; I was meeting BBC Guernsey to do a live interview with the organisers. Arriving early I could see lonely figure siting on a fold up chair at the gate to the festival. It was Steve, one of many security staff, from London on his first visit to the island.
Rule one of festival PR: make friends with the security.
Rule two: don’t wear ballet pumps to a field.
The next few days went by in a flurry of activity: more site visits (wellies and coat now permanent fixtures in the car), allocating and delivering press passes and working with the artists’ tour managers to set up interviews. Like any good PR I’m a big fan of lists and, by Friday, my heart rate lowered as we finished our working schedule.
The weather forecast was mixed so it paid to be prepared; there was sunshine, rain and lots of mud.
It was a mixture of excitement and nerves in the office as I briefed our five-strong team (Myself, Chloe, Emma, Harriet and John) on the work we hoped to do over the next 48 hours. A box was packed with toilet rolls, Percy pigs, the office kettle… you name it, we had it and our clipboards were at the ready. Oh the power of the clipboard! It afforded us a level of instant respect in our many journeys around the site.
The mandatory clipboard-carrying (rule three) even resulted in a cynical swipe of mud on the face for me from ‘Big John’ – stage manager for the big top tent, a stalwart of music events and festivals and a lover of high quality coffee. The Glaswegian, who tours the festival circuit, even shared his cafetiere and bags of fresh coffee with us in the rain on Sunday morning.
There are always unforeseen jobs on a massive event and problems to solve (rule four: expect the unexpected). We delivered food for General Fiasco, sourced Grey Goose vodka for the Charlatans, dug up paving stones out of my garden to provide a foundation for JFB’s decks in the Fusion Dance arena and found eight pairs of Wellington boots for the Kaiser Chiefs to wear.
Thank you to the Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service who loaned them to the festival in return for a signed programme to raffle.
All in all everything went to plan. The coverage for the event continues to flood in and the positive feedback has been overwhelming.
On Monday morning our exhausted team faced one final hurdle – one that leads me to my final rule of festival PR.
Rule five: don’t lend the Kaiser Chiefs your office kettle unless you want to face the morning after the festival without any much needed caffeine…
Posted by Brooke.