We regularly participate in conferences, workshops and lectures on all manner of topics outdoor events related. However, a recent invite to speak at an event organized by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) was a little unusual and a first for me; “Festival Financials”

Ironic in many ways as financials” are the foundations of any successful event and business, but also understandable. It will always be a somewhat clandestine and secretive topic, rarely discussed. Indeed the world of festival financials can be such an isolated place that this event was immediately attractive, if only to share ideas and experiences with peers in the industry.

That said the seminar’s varied and interesting topics also highlighted the dramatic change and shift occurring in the sector. The festival industry is one of the last cash dominated industries.

Cash handling, event economies and cash-flow were just some of the topics. I’ll stick my neck on the block and suggest that pretty much all outdoor events will be cashless within 5 years – just one of the hot topics debated.

My contribution was to sit on one of the seminar panels on “Managing Cash-flow: Can you minimize transaction costs whilst getting access to cash prior to an event”, plus deliver a talk about Kambe’s history of growth, resource and financial management. This I did via a presentation of the crew management system we have developed and use for all our events.

Our crew system was in many ways born out of chaos, back in 2007. The first priority was the management of finances, payment scheduling, tracking and the facilitation of traceable and accurate onsite payments. There were off the shelf event management systems out there and available to us, but none of them linked data management to ticketing and entry. This was a no brainer for us, so with our ticketing agent we developed the first version 1.0.

From it’s humble beginnings developments have come a long way. A focus on resource efficiency for economic and environmental benefit has led to a plethora of individually available modules. The system can now handle;

  • Flexible e-ticketing, including “paid for” crew/guest tickets
  • Budgeting from event level to individuals and items
  • Expenditure management
  • Purchase ordering
  • Vehicle and routing passes
  • Meal allocations and their redemption
  • Applications for traders, staff, artists and projects
  • Carbon travel emission calculations
  • Event communication
  • Resource and stores management – consumable and loan items

The system is highly flexible and is designed to cater for the bespoke needs of any event. Administrative roles with definable permissions are a core element.