So, I'm seriously looking into starting a decent sized (bigger then anything in this area, at least) outdoor music festival for next year in my hometown here in Texas (population of 120k). For at least my first year, I was thinking of putting it on the first weekend of SXSW and catching bands coming through for that. I know last year that someone around here put on a fun little day fest where they had a lot of people from TN, NY, Maryland, and places like that, and they said those bands played for very very cheap, just because they wanted a warm-up show and gas money. Also figure that if I could get some of the bigger local bands behind this they might play for a bit cheap, and if I lock up all the big drawing locals (I'd say theres about 4-5 big locals here) then thats a guaranteed local crowd. Owner of this local venue recently bought a stage and sound system too for doing outdoors shows, and I know he'd be behind this, so thats a big cost taken care of already (though I don't know how big the stage is). Have a potential venue in mind that shouldn't be hard to get permission for. Money wise, I was thinking of having maybe 2-3 benefit shows at a local venue throughout the year, book cheap big drawing locals for them. Maybe try kickstarter, though I'm not sure if that'd work around here or not. Plus thinking a bit outside of the box, link sales are really popular around here and I know a friend with a very large grill for cooking them. Was asking around I hear those make anywhere from $400-$1200. Having a few of those throughout the year would be great. And obviously I'd try to get sponsorships, though I do not have much experience at all with that. If I could get together say like a $5000-$6000 budget for booking bands, I'd be happy (I've been booking a much smaller scale festival here in this city on a $1500 budget for the past two years).
But anyways, all that background information was just to ask you guys- Do you have any tips on doing a music festival like that? And on raising money? What are the biggest hurdles to starting a music festival? What are the big legal hurdles with this (as in, do I need to make sure I'm protected if someone were to get hurt at this festival, stuff like that)? Anyone have advice on getting sponsorships? I'm definitely going to look much more heavily into this next month, as I have another much much smaller scale festival that I booked happening in about two weeks, but for now I'm just kind of planning out how I'm going to do this so I have an idea, and seeing if this is actually possible.
Also worth mentioning, it'd be nice if my work paid off and I got a little bit of money from this, but my overall goal here is not to make a huge profit. I think my city has a pretty cool little scene, and I really want it to grow. I want to turn this place into a cool place to live. On top of that, I'd like to make new connections and if this is successful at all, I think it'd look pretty damn good on a resume. As long as I dont LOSE money from this, I'm ok with it.