In the past decade or so, the world has changed beyond recognition thanks to developments in the world wide web. It’s hard to think of a time before Facebook, Twitter and blogs. But how do festivals fit into this? Surely its one of the most removed things you can do. There are no computer screens in fields (well, at least there weren’t until Apple took over the world) and surely once you’ve got a ticket and a tent, you’re good to go. Think again. Your website is massively important.
And it is with this in mind that I set to work building the Figure 8 Festival website. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age there are still companies without websites, but there really are – and this makes no sense to me. Even a simple holding page with name, dates, location and how to buy tickets could suffice (would be a bit rubbish, but is better than nothing). At the other end of the scale you have festivals such as End of the Road, whose website is astounding. It has everything you need, including dedicated artist pages with a photo, bio and links for those bands playing (totally having that idea for Figure 8); or this year’s Great Escape festival with its interactive poster. Inspired.
The first step is to buy up a decent domain name. Fortunately our festival name followed by dot co dot UK was free (this helped inform the decision over the name) and I called in some charity mates rates for the hosting – so it cost about £50 and then I set to work on the design and content. Now, I’ve used WordPress a fair bit in the past. For Bristol 24-7, among others, so that was an obvious starting point. But, while I’m happy writing, proofing and uploading content, building a site was totally new to me. Thankfully, I have some exceptionally talented and generous friends to offer me advice. With the logo and plenty of content (it’s what I do), slowly but surely the website was coming together. Along with the associated Facebook and Twitter accounts – a must in this day and age.
I wanted to include some decent info on us organisers, our motivation and each sponsor and band, not only to reward them for donating their time and services to the festival, but as info for the punters. The sponsors are all decent companies which I want to sing the praises of. And some of the bands will be unknown to some of the guests, so I wanted to give them a chance to check them out beforehand – what they look like, who they are and what they sound like; so I crafted a questionnaire and set out on a one-woman crusade to present this in an easy to digest format. I can then reproduce this in the printed programme at the festival. Simple. Or so you’d think.
After sending out a straightforward questionnaire to the musicians who’d agreed to play, I planned to nail all the content and launch the site – but as with most surveys, it took a lot more than one deadline and a bit of guilt tripping to gather all the info needed for the site, which meant I kept putting the target launch date back (and I’m still chasing some of the bands for their info) but I’ve set a firm deadline of Saturday, July 21 to make the site live – exactly two months until the festival takes place and less than two months since we started planning it. Then it’s all systems go with securing the donations to make this work!
Once more, watch this space…