Virtually Wychwood

Wychwood Music Festival 2020 was due to take place this year from the 29th May-31st May. I was a project manager for the festival, co-ordinating the running of 3 festival stages, the Bandstand, the Wychwood FM stage and the dance tent. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the music festival was cancelled and I was asked by the director of the festival Graeme Merrifield to co-ordinate a virtual version of the event, so the festival’s loyal audience still had something to look forward to.

My Role and Responsibilities:

My role as the Virtual Festival co-ordinator was to oversee the planning operation and then the execution of the event. The team was split into three; the festival team consisting of Graeme the director and Iain who would be responsible for the marketing and tech, the Out the Box team consisting of myself and 3 peers who would be responsible for booking artists and running the social media, and our external contributors who Jem and Barbara who would be responsible for booking workshop entertainment and authors.

My responsibilities were:

  • Responsible for programming the 7 hour online event in response to COVID-19. The final event had 28 sets and over 1000 live-viewers.
  • Manage communications between all teams and individuals, acting as the go-to person in the centre of the operational network.
  • To work alongside the Marketing Manager to design a digital campaign for the virtual event, to engage the festival audience to the new event.
  • Oversee the execution of the event on the day, keeping on top of issues that arise and managing the social media accounts.

Planning Process:

In total we had 3 weeks to plan the event, so booking was split between the teams to increase efficiency. The Festival team were booking the headline artists, the Out the Box team booking the local artists, and the external contributors booking the workshops and storybook authors.

As we confirmed people for the event, I began to put together the programming for the event, taking into account the nature of the acts and transitions between performances, the length of performances, the turnover time between acts to consider technical issues and audience participation.

This program was tweaked and changed and adjusted up until the morning of the event, due to late submissions and changing in timings. This was the schedule that I put together.

The Final Event:

The final event consisted of 28 performances from a variety of different authors, children’s entertainers, worshoppers, local music acts, and some of the festivals headline acts.

During the event, I along with my university peers ran the social media accounts building hype around the event, promoting the different contributors and responding to the audiences comments. This was the lineup for the online festival.

The event was a success and we had over 6000 playbacks which is over half of what would have been the attendees for the standard music festival. We also had hundreds of comments, pictures from the audiences and amazing feedback. All of which can be seen by the events statistics and video below.

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