If you have attended a number of renaissance festivals, and found that each time you visited you became more fond of the trip back in time you experienced, you might be the type of fan that can take it to the next level. If you are the festival goer who always dresses as a knight in shining armor or a damsel in distress, and plans your costume for months, you might make a perfect festival owner.
Maybe you have even experienced the sensation of being transported back in time during your visit. If your reality when at the festival feels as authentic as any other, you probably wished you could make that time last forever. If the idea of spending 3 or 4 weekends a year surrounded by your very own pirate paradise, fantasy land or medieval kingdom sounds like the perfect life for you, you really can make that dream come true.
Due to the enormity of this project, it needs to be a labor of love. Be prepared to make a large investment in time and money. An average festival can often run in the red for a few years but, if the owner can stick it out, they often start to turn a profit. Find investors, study other festivals and faires and make sure you have solid financial advisers and managers in the picture. Regulations surrounding any publicly attended event can be strict so cover all your bases in that area as a priority.
Set The Scene
Once you are free to let your imagination take the reins and start putting your plans into action, you will need to decide on the type of faire or festival you want to create. There are hundreds of festivals around the country each year, and the majority are of a medieval theme, a pirate theme or a fantasy theme. You will need vendors and performers and a great place to find those talented people is through a Craigslist help wanted ad. The more creative your ad, the greater the response you can expect.
Treat Your Renaissance Festival As a Business
Obviously you will need accountants, bookkeepers, people to handle advertising and promotion, but many of these jobs can be done by willing family members and friends. Eventually, you can have professionals step in and assume some of those responsibilities. One professional you want to have on your team from the very beginning is a good business attorney. They will be extremely valuable as your festival starts out with handling a myriad of paperwork as well as providing legal advice.
Hopefully you have some idea of where you would like to locate your festival but, if not, you can talk to fairgrounds, property owners and property management companies. Consider the time of year and any other events that might be taking place nearby. Good weather conditions will make for a much more pleasant visitor experience.
Finally, create a presence on social media where you can broadcast messages, schedules, links to performer’s websites and much more. This is always a great way to spread the word. Consider a contest, perhaps a special medieval prop or costume accessory, to encourage likes and shares.