Festival etiquette

Omnia put on a great show and their professionalism and experience shined through :-)

Omnia put on a great show and their professionalism and experience shined through 🙂

Once again I am writing a blog post while flying above Europe. I am on my way back from Belgium where Sliotar played two wonderful shows in the Geluwe Celtic Night festival. And once again I had a great glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes and the commitment and dedication it takes to run a successful festival.

Sliotar has clocked some serious festival hours by now, another reason I feel very lucky to be in this band. We know what to do and what not to do as a band at festivals. Too often we see bands turn into “rock stars” as soon as they get to play in front of few large festival crowds. It’s like they forget what it is all about. The professionals shine through the crop so fast and the amateurs who think they are big shots show their inexperience.

As a professional band you are providing a festival a service, that they pay you, often quite handsomely. As much as you need to provide a great show, you need to act professionally. Make the festival organisers job as easy as possible. Be on time. Just because your satellite navigation system tells you the drive is 3 hours, it does not mean you will be there in three hours. You need to all we for delay on the road. With Sliotar we always rather arrive early before the show, in some cases even the day before, so we can be well rested and perform to the best of our abilities. And you’d be surprised how much stress you are taking away from the organisers when they know you are there, rather than them looking at the watch half an hour before the show wondering will you turn up or not.

I make a big point to spend time with the organisers, get to know them, but also be aware of the fact that they are up to their eyes, as they are in a middle of running a festival. As a rule, I am nice to everyone and usually I get the same treatment. I have no time for musicians with big egos, no matter how famous they are, or think they are. This takes me back to my first point. You are there to provide a service, not the other way around. Of course the festival wants to take a good care of their artists. But without these people working months flat out to organise this event, you would not have a show. So be nice, play a good show. Have a bit of fun with the organisers, and there is a much bigger chance you will be asked back again.

And don’t forget there are people watching all the time. After our show this time, we were approached by three other festivals for next year. They enjoyed our show and also talked to the other festival organisers. If we would be having an argument during the soundcheck you think no one would notice? If you want to be professional, act like it.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
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