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How to win festival pitches

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Written by

Melanie Griffiths

Content Lead

As our Content Lead with 10 years experience in content creation, chances are Melanie's had something to do with most things you read on the platform.

A long-standing team member, she's been with Togather since the company's early days and can be found eating her way through London's food markets at the weekend.

Published on Wed 10 May 2023

If you run a food or drink business, you're not alone if you dream of one day having a pitch at a world-leading festival like Glastonbury. With crowds of over 200,000 and the average ticket-holder spending £450, the opportunity for vendors at Glastonbury, and the hundreds of other UK festivals, is huge.

But how do you actually win a festival pitch? We asked our supply base of over 1000 food and drink vendors to share their experience and useful tips for any first-timers.

Do your research

Our first piece of advice is to do your research and make sure that you’re applying for a pitch at a festival that’s right for your business. Take a look at our articles about the likely cost of pitches at large festivals and events, and how much you’re likely to make from them.

Pride in London

Know where to apply

There are two main ways to apply for festival pitches.

Directly on the organiser’s website - Leading festivals like Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading BST Hyde Park have dedicated pages on their official websites where traders can apply for pitches.

Through festival partners - In some cases, festival organisers will outsource to businesses like Togather to help curate the food and drink line up. We then send out application forms to all our suppliers, and they apply directly through us. To apply for festivals Togather are involved in, you can sign up and create an account.

Give yourself time

It’s common for the pitching process to start in the autumn for festivals taking place the following summer. Pitching is competitive, and some of our suppliers have been up against 3,000 other traders to win a handful of pitches. Given the sheer volume of applications festivals receive, it’s always better to start the process as early as you can.

Understand the application process

Festival pitches

Whether applying directly to the festival or through a festival partner, the application process is pretty similar. They’ll always want to know;

  1. Your contact details and business number

  2. What kind of food/drink you sell

  3. The dimensions of your stall

  4. How many parking passes you’ll need

  5. What your electrical requirements are

  6. What prior experience you have

  7. How many portions you can serve per hour

  8. What your stall and product looks like (make sure to have great photos)

Successful applicants will likely receive a phone call from the organisers so they can find out more about the business and run through the terms of the agreement.

Unsuccessful applicants do receive a notification, but not always with an explanation. Festival organisers dedicate a certain number of pitches and site locations to specific trader types, with hot food traders generally securing most of the spots. So you could lose out on a pitch for no other reason than a quota is already full!

In other cases, our suppliers have entered bidding wars to win their pitch. It’s not uncommon for two similar traders to compete for the same spot with the highest bidder winning the pitch.

If your application is successful, you’ll need to provide all the relevant documentation before you sign a contract, including; FSA food ratings, insurance and risk assessments.

Make your application stand out from the crowd

Provide good quality photos and videos showcasing your business - Festival organisers can have 1000s of applications to sift through, so selling yourself makes you stand out from the crowd. We’ve seen hundreds of vendors apply for festivals with stock imagery and poor marketing material which makes little impact.

Creat an eye-catching brand and design - Great branding will draw the attention of festival organisers who are looking for traders that can bring in the crowds. This applies to your logo, van and your staff uniform. Nailing this will undoubtedly help you turn a profit too.

Build a good reputation

This may not be applicable if you’re applying to your first festival, but many of our suppliers have been asked back by festivals the following year and skip the whole application process entirely.

To help you build a great festival rep, we’ve put together a guide to festival catering here.

Always read the contract

We strongly advise thoroughly reading the contract upon a successful application, and make sure you go through any uncertainties or questions with the festival organiser before signing.

Only when you’re 100% happy with the terms should you put pen to paper.

Apply through Togather

We already have a dozen or so festivals and large public events lined up for 2021, including Lytham Festival, Pride London and numerous Virgin Sport events..If you want to be part of our supplier community, apply for a Togather supplier here.