As we begin the new calendar year, of course, the events industry’s year is already well underway. Many are booking infrastructure and artists, with thousands of tickets already on sale. Is there actually a beginning and an end to the festival and event annual calendar?

If you haven’t started booking infrastructure and planning your line up, I suggest you get stuck into it right now. And if you need reminding, it is January, which means it is tax return and pay the bill time. As a good friend once told me, a fine is a tax for doing wrong, a tax is a fine for doing well!

As for festivals, there is an exciting future ahead of us. Whatever the Government, Brexiteers and the tax man throws at us, our industry always survives and there is an exciting future out there. There is definitely a shift from major artists being the only thing that matters, with the industry moving towards the direction of what used to be called “boutique festivals” and now might be known as the “festival experience”. Bigger builds, more colour, overcoming challenges, exotic food and drink and good company are the key to making great festivals.

And there is plenty of choice out there. Perhaps our customers don’t need to travel quite so far, let’s encourage that and cut down on fuel usage – there are plenty of festivals in everybody’s locality. And if you need some help in planning can I recommend a new year gift of the Purple Guide or the Lite Purple Guide. It is the bible for our industry. It doesn’t tell you how to do everything, it simply gives you advice, recommendations, good contacts and unloads years of experience for, not just beginners, but all of us. You can pick yours up for a few pounds from the Events Industry Forum (EIF).

Talking of EIF, it has kick-started the year off with a major piece of research into the social and economic value of the outdoor events industry… watch this space, it will deliver the figures we have all been looking for.

As you pile into your planning year, keep an eye on labour shortages. 2018 should not be too bad, but if this Brexit nonsense carries on the casual labour from Europe used throughout our industry may well be coming into short supply. Tent and marquee, fencing and security companies are all getting concerned that their workforce could be depleted. Booking early is probably the best thing the organisers can do and hope that the contractor can recruit the labour.

Good luck in the 2018 season!