I must admit, when I first began fair and festival entertainment booking, I didn’t understand their history and purpose of fairs versus festivals. For a lot of people, the subtle and not so subtle meaning of a fair, festival, exposition or exhibition can be confusing. Understanding their differences and similarities helped me book the right entertainment for both fairs and festivals.
Let’s start with good old Wikipedia entries for Fairs and Festivals. It’s a good start. You can find the Wikipedia information for “fair” here. Likewise, the Wikipedia information for “festival” is here. With that knowledge, let’s pragmatically talk about the differences and how that difference impacts the booking of entertainment for either a fair and festival.
A sensible definition of a fair is a special event, secular in nature, at which the public gathers to enjoy entertainment, exhibitions, vendor products, other amusements and commercial activities. One important distinction is that fairs have an economic purpose. Fairs date back to the middle ages when they became larger extension of open-air markets bringing buyers and sellers together. Imagine a fair as a being a “marketplace.” Someone was smart enough to understand that if they added exhibitions, food, drink and entertainment along with the vendors or tradespeople participating they could increase attendance. By increasing the enjoyment of those attending, patrons would keep coming back year after year. Fairs take all kinds of forms. Their overall context is a marketplace is to bring those interested in a product or service together with those who have it.
Fairs take many forms:
- Job fairs bring together employers with potential applicants for their job.
- Book fairs bring together those interested in books with those who sell them
- Trade Fairs bring together companies in particular industries with potential distributors and consumers of their products
- Street Fairs bring together food and novelty vendors and a people of a neighborhood or community
- County Fairs brings together the agricultural community and the general public. Agricultural equipment vendors, farmers, animal husbandry groups and the the related animals, sports and recreation businesses associated with them come together with those who are interested in all they have to offer and who ultimately consume their products.
- Livestock Show and Rodeos are similar to county fairs with an emphasis on animal husbandry ranchers and related businesses.
- State Fairs are usually a much larger version of a county fair often bringing together winning competitors from county fairs.
Fair Entertainment Booking Is a Big Business
As you can see, all these various types of fairs fit the definition of “marketplace.” When it comes to booking live entertainment, the ones that matter are trade fairs, county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, and state fairs. Fair entertainment booking is big for entertainment booking agencies. Fairs are multi-day events often lasting through two or more weekends. Entertainment is a big part of their offerings to attract the crowds they want.
The budgets for fair entertainment booking reflect the importance of entertainment to their success. Fair entertainment is no longer looked upon simply as an enhancement to exhibitions and vendors, Today, live fair entertainment is a major attraction to draw patrons to it. for the fair.
Festival Versus Fairs
Now that we have a better understanding of what a Fair involves, let’s consider festivals. These days the term festival is used to describe two different types of events. Festival entertainment booking is a completely different depending on which festival type is taking place.
The historical meaning of a festival is a celebration associated with religion or culture traditions. They are commemoration or thanksgiving-based events steeped in tradition and rituals. They provide fun activities and a sense of belonging to the communities involved. It’s easy to find such festivals because many have been around for a thousand years.
Examples of festivals include the Hindu Holi Festival, the Hindu Spring Festival in India, Snow & Ice Festival in China, Cascamorras Festival in Spain, Octoberfest in Germany, the Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival in England all the way down to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival in Texas. Of course, you can’t forget the Mardi Gras or Carnival Festivals celebrated acriss the world. All these festivals are related to religious or local culture celebrations. For many the festival entertainment are the activities of the festival itself. Others require the services of a festival entertainment booking agency to provide live entertainment to supplement the purpose of the festival. The festival entertainment makes the event more festive and attracts more people to it.
The modern meaning of festival has grown to also include an organized series of performances such as a film, play or live music festival. These are typically multi-day events. They include concert festivals, literary festivals, art, festivals, film festivals, theater festivals and even food festivals. In most cases they are held annually at the same place and time of year.
Since we are talking about festival entertainment booking, major music festivals include Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Music Festival and many, many more. Music festivals are a growing trend in the festival entertainment business. For every major music festival there are a hundred smaller ones as well. For larger events festival entertainment booking can involve booking as many as 50 to 150 bands for their concerts. You can only imagine what festival entertainment budgets must be for these larger events with big name stars.
Other festivals depend on artists to play for small fees to get the exposure of playing in front of thousands of people. In these cases, the festival entertainment booking budget entails a lot of logistic services. Whether its Coachella or the Austin Reggae Festival, TSE Entertainment has a four plus decade history of festival entertainment booking.
Whether it’s a traditional kind of festival tied to religion and culture or a series of music concerts, booking music for festivals is an important business for most music booking agencies. TSE is no different.
Fair and Festival Entertainment Booking Is Still About Quality Service
Whether it’s about a smaller festival in Dale, Texas or the state fair of Texas, it still comes down to booking the best live entertainment they can afford and going above and beyond what is expected to help the buyer with their event.
TSE Entertainment has been booking the best in fair and festival entertainment since 1975. We take pride in helping communities and their volunteer organizations with their festivals. We enjoy helping the associations and their many volunteers charged with putting on county or state fairs. It’s where we grew up as an entertainment booking agency. It’s part of our DNA.
The next time you need a fair or festival entertainment booking agency, we hope you will consider TSE Entertainment. Our experience, history and resourcefulness will leave you glad you did.