August 03, 2013

10 tips when organising a Holi Festival

The latest craze that’s taking over the summer is now taking over Europe! Holi open air festivals have become the must-go event of summer, taking Germany by storm and are now launching in the UK. At ticketscript, we’ve provided the ticketing solution for countless of Holi festivals and with them fast becoming an event phenomenon, we thought it would be a great idea to give you a bit of a background and tips on how to plan the perfect Holi Festival!

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What are Holi Festivals?

The Holi Festival, also called Phagwah or Festival of Colours, originated in the Hindu religion and is mainly celebrated in India and Nepal. It is a spring festival takes place on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon) in February or March according to the Gregorian Calendar.

Every year, thousands of Hindus celebrate this festival by throwing scented, colourful powder at each other. The festival has several purposes but mainly it’s about celebrating the beginning of spring and bidding farewell to the hard months of winter.

Over the years the festivals in India and Nepal have become tourist attractions. Such popularity meant that it was only a matter of time before this festival would catch on in other countries. Within the Western world, the festival comprises of people dressed in white, coming together to share music, dance, art performances and above all, being covered in colourful powder!

As the Holi festivals are becoming extremely popular, they seem to have almost the magic formula for a successful event. But beware, since there are certain things you need to keep in mind when thinking about organising a Holi Festival.

  1. Time of event – although Holi is originally a spring festival, we suggest you hold your first Holi in the warm summer months as it is typically an outdoor event. Of course when you live in a country where the summer usually consists of rain, make sure you find an indoor venue which allows you to host such event.
  2. The location – this needs to be an outdoor venue with various canopied areas for when it gets really hot. Also it’s a good idea to have an area where people can sit down and rest. From our experience, visitors to Holi Festivals seem to be quite a younger demographic, so we recommend choosing a university city or a location with a strong youth culture. This obviously is not a must but helps with ticket sales.
  3. Check out other Holi Festivals – if there are too many Holi events that take place during the same period over a short span of time, people get overload and the novelty of the event wears off.
  4. The coloured powder – before you start making your event official, you need to think about the powder you want to use. You need to make sure it is 100% safe for your visitors and think about the legalities. You might even get it tested or buy only tested versions. There is nothing worse than bad or dangerous coloured powder as this can damage your reputation.
  5. Create a dedicated Facebook fanpage for the event – these festivals are highly engaging! People tend to discuss the event before it starts, so your fanpage is the place to grow your community and raise interest for your Holi Festival.
  6. Sell tickets via the event fanpage – Holi festivals have quite a different dynamic when it comes to buying tickets. As your fans and ticket buyers are on Facebook, you really should maximise on this opportunity by selling tickets through this channel. Saying this, we also recommend to sell tickets on your website as well.
  7. Better targetted your on-sale date – we have seen that if you start selling tickets without having built a solid base of fans on Facebook, ticket sales can be slow.
  8. Build a momentum leading up to your on-sale – start a buzz around your event by heating up the conversation and engagement with your community. You can do this by posting an on-sale countdown or pictures and videos of previous Holis!
  9. Run competitions and promotions – Run competitions such as asking people to like AND share a picture on your social platforms, or telling you why they should win the tickets. There are no limits to your imagination when it comes to promotion via social networks.
  10. The weather – as with all open air events, you need to think about the weather when organising a Holi Festival. Don’t be afraid of slight rain. In fact when this happens, it adds to the fun since it makes your color-powdered clothes even messier, but make sure you communicate this fact about the powder to your visitors. On the other hand, when the weather is hot, make sure to provide free water and extra canopied areas. Why not even give out coloured sunscreen? Your visitors will absolutely love it!

With the Holi Festivals slowly taking over Europe, we know this craze takes the world by storm! We hope our tips have been helpful and will hopefully inspire you to host your own Holi Festival soon. If you’d like to organise one, why not take advantage of our expertise and give us a shout if you need any help. Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

If you’d like to see some Holi Festivals in action, here are some clips:

By Vassia Panaouta