There are a wide variety of workshops that can be found at festivals. Some are a bit more common and others can be a bit more creative and unique. It can all depend on where the festival is located and the type of audience the festival attracts. It can also depend on the type of festival and whether it is a music festival, food festival, art festival, cultural festival, or film festival, or all of the above.
Regardless of the type of festival or where the festival is located, workshops can not only provide more value for festival attendees but also help enhance the overall experience. Workshops can help festival goers learn new skills and provide for memorable moments and create new friendships. This can all help festivals stand out from the rest and allow for the best form of marketing, word of mouth.
Festivals can either include all the workshops in the price of General Admission, charge extra for specific workshops at the festival, or offer various packages that include workshops that are specific towards a certain audience segment. By offering various packages targeted to various segments, festivals can get a better idea of the type of audience segments they attract and also not force those who may not wish to attend any workshops to have to pay the same as those who do.
Dozens of different types of workshops can be offered. Womad, The World’s Festival offers 80 adult workshops and 200 workshops for children while Wonderfruit in Thailand has weaving, umbrella, and fan workshops all using locally sourced bamboo.
PHOTO BY LES TRICONAUTES
Here are 10 categories of workshops that can be offered at festivals:
This is probably one of the most common types of workshops but the type of art classes can vary tremendously. Live painting can be offered for both family-friendly festivals as well as ones attributed to adults only while finger painting might be better suited for children.
Art classes can also encompass sculpting, drawing, architecture, photography, and even calligraphy. This can all tie into the overall concept and theme of the festival and be broken down even further into more specific categories as well as combined with other art forms.
Learning kitchens can range from simple and easy cooking classes to cooking classes offered by top chefs and even celebrity chefs. This can also tie into sponsorship where various food brands, local and international restaurants, or even popular food networks can host workshops.
Oftentimes these types of workshops are offered at a premium to cover the costs of the food as well as the chefs involved. The type of cuisine can depend on where the festival is located and serve as a great way for attendees to tap into the local culture as well.
One of the most pressing and important topics of conversation today Is the threat of climate change and environmental sustainability. These types of workshops and discussions are becoming increasingly prevalent at festivals around the world.
Sustainability workshops can range from how to be more environmentally conscious within your home to how to make events more sustainable. Workshops can include beach and ocean clean-ups for coastal festivals with ideas for how to go about organizing them as well as planting trees, saving energy, and managing waste.
This can also be a great opportunity to involve sponsors and various brands that are both eco-friendly and built on sustainable practices.
PHOTO BY NOAH BUSCHER
Permaculture is taking sustainable living to the max. By using all the natural systems available and as many local resources as possible, you eliminate the need for outside resources and tremendously cut down on waste.
These types of workshops can teach attendees how to grow their own food, produce their energy, their own medicine, and be both self-reliant and community-oriented. There are various methods and principles involved which can be implemented throughout everyday living, an organization, or events and festivals.
These days Yoga is ubiquitous at festivals around the world and oftentimes this can be paired up with various forms of meditation. There are many different types of meditation with the most popular being mindfulness and transcendental. Meditation workshops can often be taught by the same people who conduct yoga classes or can be offered by those who are trained in meditation techniques.
Other forms of meditation can include spiritual, focused, movement, mantra, progressive relaxation, loving-kindness, and visualization. Many forms of meditation are related to ancient religious teachings such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc. but those who practice meditation in modern times don’t necessarily have to be religious. It all depends on the location of the festival and the type of audience the festival attracts.
PHOTO BY DANIEL MINGOOK KIM
Sound healing is a method that uses the vibrations of sound to relax one’s mind and body. This can include the use of gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, and tuning forks. It was originally used by the Aboriginal peoples in Australia and Tibetan monks and has been used for centuries.
It is said to help lower blood pressure, improve circulation, respiratory rates as well as anxiety and insomnia.
This is another very common type of workshop that can be found at festivals around the world. Once again it can all depend on the location of the festival as to what types of workshops are offered. In Asia for example, festivals can offer workshops that incorporate making items out of bamboo as well as lantern making or even incense.
Other craft workshops might include pottery, candles, essential oils, weaving, sewing, jewelry making, and producing various types of fabrics and clothing. These types of workshops can be great for both children and adults and can also incorporate various sponsors who might wish to educate attendees on how their products are made.
Massage and body work
Many festivals offer free and paid massages and bodywork but rarely do you attend a festival and find that you can also learn how to give massages. There are of course many different forms of massage and techniques for massage and it can all depend on the location of the festival as well.
Swedish Massage can differ from Thai Massage or Shiatsu. There is also deep tissue, trigger point, prenatal, sports, hot stone, aromatherapy, and reflexology and the list goes on and on. While some techniques are a bit more advanced like those that use pressure points or acupuncture, some types of massage can be easier to teach and learn such as ones that focus on specific parts of the body like the neck or shoulders, or feet.
This could prove to be an extremely popular workshop as many festivals are quite tiresome and draining on one’s body and feet. One can go away from this workshop learning various massage techniques and then go back to camp and start offering massages to their camp.
Song and dance
This type of workshop can also be attributed to the local culture depending on where the festival takes place. It can also depend on the type of music and performances that occur at the festival as a workshop on hip-hop dancing and beatboxing might not be relevant at a folk festival and vice versa. While workshops on Salsa and Tango would fit well for a festival that either incorporates Latin music or takes place in Latin or South America.
It can also depend on the time of the year. Festivals that take place on St. Patrick’s Day could feature Irish Dancing while festivals taking place around Christmas time might have a workshop on Christmas caroling.
PHOTO BY VONECIA CARSWELL
Many music festivals around the world feature workshops on music production and this is also another great way to get sponsors involved. Major audio equipment and software brands love to feature new products through workshops and even get major artists involved to host them.
Aside from workshops that are best suited for DJs and electronic music producers, music workshops can include acoustic instruments as well. This can also be attributed to the local culture surrounding a festival and feature unique instruments with locals hosting the workshops and showing attendees not only how to play them but also how to make them.
Other categories for workshops could include makeup and glitter, costume making, circus acts, brewing beer, winemaking, kite making, water sports, horticulture, casino games, and much more.
PHOTO BY THOMAS HABR
Music festival scheduling tool
When putting together a multi-day, multi-stage, multi-genre, multi-cultural festival, having numerous activities that include a wide variety of workshops can add tremendous value for your festival and those attending. It can also be a daunting task properly organizing all the workshops and keeping track of the instructors, areas, and times. That is why PromoTix created this free workshops scheduling tool which you can download below.