Photo by Jubbar J. on Unsplash

When the sun is shining and music is in the air, there’s nothing quite like the appeal of an outdoor festival. It’s a time for communities to come together and celebrate, share experiences, and create memories. However, events need to make an effort to reflect their community’s diversity. That’s why planning an inclusive outdoor festival requires creating a space where everyone feels welcome. Here’s how to make sure that happens.

Include Plenty of Accessibility Options

Any event-goer should be able to participate fully, but that’s not always the case for individuals with disabilities. Your first step in inclusive festival planning is to provide ample accessibility options. This starts with assessing outdoor festivals “ground plan”—from parking and entrances to seating and stage views—to ensure anyone can navigate them. Offer wheelchairs and guide services, and don’t underestimate the importance of braille signage at your public event. Thoughtful inclusion signals to your community that you prioritize their presence and experiences.

Set Up Gender-Neutral Facilities

Traditional gender-segregated facilities can create discomfort for individuals who don’t conform to those norms. Setting up gender-neutral facilities is a clear statement of inclusivity for any kind of event. Even if it’s just a few porta-potties labeled for all genders, this speaks volumes about your commitment to creating a festival that welcomes everyone, regardless of their gender identity. It’s a small change that can make a massive difference and ensure every guest feels respected and can enjoy the festivities without unnecessary stress.

Provide Food Options for Various Dietary Needs

A festival isn’t just about music and fun activities. Food is a significant part of the experience for many. That’s why you need to recognize that everyone’s dietary needs vary wildly, so plan accordingly. Offer a broad menu that includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as dishes that cater to a range of cultural diets. Be sure to also clearly label the food stands with ingredients and any potential allergens to help everyone make informed and safe choices. By addressing these needs, you enhance the experience for all your guests that will attend you outdoor festivals.

Ensure a Culturally Sensitive Environment

Something else you should do to plan for your outdoor festival is to educate your staff and volunteers about different cultural norms and values to avoid unintentional offenses. Music, art, and performances are powerful instruments for cultural exchange, so celebrate diversity by featuring acts representing various ethnicities and backgrounds.

Be aware that everyone’s idea of a good time might differ. It’s also important to remember that cultural appropriation shouldn’t be a part of your celebration. As long as you’re mindful of the cultural significance behind any performances or installations you choose to include, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.