Top tips for music festival food and drink traders

Seven top tips for mobile caterers trading food and drink at festivals.

1. It’s all about the planning

The largest music festivals will be hugely oversubscribed with mobile catering traders wanting the best pitches. They will also have an application process which may be quite rigorous or in some cases employ a third party agency to manage the catering on their behalf. Your application may need to start over 6 months in advance so do your research early and find out all the information you need at your earliest opportunity.

2. Walk before you run

If you are new to mobile food trading perhaps it would be better to start on a smaller scale. There are hundreds of smaller festivals where you can hone your skills, get used to festival trading life and what works in that environment. The pitch will be much cheaper and although you may not make as much money you will much better prepared when you decide to take on the larger scale events.

3. We need a bigger boat

So you’ve managed to get a pitch a big music festival, be prepared for your busiest trading days ever. You won’t be able to leave the site to restock so you need to think about storage, keeping stock fresh and what stock levels you need in the first place. Speak to other traders, go on forums and get advice so you are as prepared as you can be.

4.Getting it all on site

Once you have weighed up all your stock requirements you need to work out how to get it and all the rest of your equipment on site and in place. Don’t forget you also have to live there for a few days – you will want to be comfortable and in good shape to work long hours.

5. Why me?

The great thing about festivals is the large footfall but there is also likely to be a lot of other traders there selling similar products. Try to find a niche, rather than sell a large range and spreading yourself thinly it is better to sell a small range of high quality products which have something unique about them.

6. Risk vs Reward

There is always a gambling element to trading at festivals as to how much stock you take, staff numbers etc. A miserable day at a free event could mean drastically reduced numbers but the same day at a large festival could have the reverse effect as more people browse the stalls instead of  lounging on the grass.

7. Have Fun

Make sure you enjoy it! The hours are long, the work is hard but so you need to be enjoying your work to maintain the motivation. Your attitude to customers can be the difference between success and failure – your customers are there to have fun so if you are part of that it can only mean more customers!