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The essential guide to event golf cart and radio assignment budgeting

Why golf cart and radio assignments matter for music festivals

When planning and budgeting for a music festival, there are a ton of moving parts! The event planner has to factor in every single detail and “What if...?” scenario. Two elements that music festival coordinators cannot afford to overlook are staff communication and transportation. Golf carts and radios are essential for event safety and efficiency.

Even if you hire an outside organization for security and medical services, you will need to be on top of everything for the fest to run smoothly. To help, we’ve put together a helpful guide and tool to make event golf carts and radio assignment planning and budgeting a breeze.

Follow this music festival management guide to gain the knowledge and tools needed to put on a successful outdoor music festival.

tony-pham-FUmDe-Bx1LA-unsplash (1)Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash

Which music festival staff members should operate golf carts?

Selecting which staff will drive golf carts for an upcoming event requires critical thinking. Start by taking a look at each role one by one and determining if their job requires the use of a golf cart. Also, think about which positions would work more efficiently with a golf cart. Ask yourself:

  • Who’s position requires them to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time?
  • Whose job may entail transporting others?
  • Will the medical team or security staff you hired provide their own golf carts?
  • Will you have golf carts available for the elderly and disabled?
  • Do you need to transport any large items across the site?
  • Will you have golf carts available for executive members?

The event planner should take their time deciding who will need to use golf carts on the days of the event. Once you have the number you need, be sure the golf cart fleet you rent has the quantity your event requires.

Golf cart etiquette for music festivals

After you’ve decided which staff will operate golf carts, getting everyone on the same page for golf cart etiquette is crucial for the music festival to run safely and smoothly.

The most important rule for operating golf carts is to follow the rules of the road. Drivers should have a mutual understanding of what responsible driving entails and apply it when following festival routes and paths. Because of this, you might consider requiring all vehicle operators to have a valid driver’s license.

At the same time, music fest staff should understand that golf carts are not cars. Golf cart drivers should avoid mud and high water to avoid getting stuck or possibly damaging the vehicle. They should use caution and common sense if they need to cross main roads. Golf carts don’t go fast, but that doesn’t exempt drivers from the risk of injury. Safety first!

Following the proper etiquette when operating golf carts will help keep the event safe for everyone. The event organizer should brief staff on golf cart etiquette before the fest begins and ensure everyone is aware of the correct routes to drive.

josh-garcia--pDXnjNxJKc-unsplashPhoto by Josh Garcia on Unsplash

Mapping music festival layouts and routes for golf carts

Planning a layout for a music festival is a task that needs meticulous detail. As festival coordinators create these layouts, they must consider attendees, staff, vendors, and performers. A large part of this process is planning routes for all of these groups to navigate the festival grounds. These tips focus on golf cart planning specifically - check out this list of tips when considering music festival layout on a broader scale. 

When factoring golf carts into your plans, keep these tips in mind:

  • The best routes connect two points with the least amount of traffic. Less traffic = less risk.
  • Make sure pathways are wide enough to give pedestrians and golf carts enough space to pass each other safely.
  • If there’s a risk of rain, try to keep routes on the venue's high ground.
  • If your routes go up and down hills or mountains make sure you have the type of vehicles to handle it - or make a solid plan to avoid them.
  • Consider using event planning software to create the layouts.

Once the layout is final, print it out and give a copy to every staff member. Keep laminated copies at key points around the site.

Selecting a golf cart fleet

One of the worst mistakes in planning a music festival is not having the proper equipment. If you’re hiring outside agencies, don’t forget to inquire if they’ll bring their own golf carts. If your team is providing them, take important measures when selecting the fleet you will rent. 

Make sure you have golf carts that can handle the landscape. If your venue has rough terrain to navigate through (think Camp Bisco), you may consider looking into some ATVs as well. Ask about weight limitations if you plan to use golf carts for distributing heavy items around the music festival grounds. It would be a good idea to ask the fleet rental company about insurance requirements as well.

Now that you’ve determined how many and what kind of golf carts you need, you can shift your focus to radios.

maxime-lebrun-l8h1hXBvzkQ-unsplashPhoto by Maxime Lebrun on Unsplash

Which music festival staff members should have radio access?

Determining which positions require the use of radios is a similar process to finding out who needs a golf cart. When planning radio assignments, ask yourself:

  • Who needs to communicate with teams across the site?
  • Whose team operates in separate locations?
  • Who might need to contact security quickly?
  • Which positions need to be able to make announcements across all teams of staff?

Music festival staff that should use radios will vary based on the event's needs and requirements. Once you've decided who will be assigned to a radio, the job isn't done. It's not as simple as handing them the radio the day of the event. The second part of radio assignment planning is creating a uniform communications protocol.

Radio communications protocol for music festivals

Radios are ineffective when they are misused. Now that you know which staff members you want to have a radio, you want to be sure they’re on the same page as far as SOPs are concerned. This is another area of music festival planning left to the coordinator’s discretion and is calculated on the festival’s unique needs.

Here are a few radio communications protocol tips from the U.S. Department of Justice that could be useful when developing SOPs for radio communication:

  • Music festival coordinators should send equipment surveys to outside agencies that are bringing their own radios. Use the surveys to create a central database of all radio model numbers, frequencies, and contacts for technical problems.
  • Ping all of the radios the day before the event to make sure they’re working.
  • Avoid using ten codes - create your own. Add a letter or phrase in front of the code to help differentiate them from 10 codes.
  • Place radio chargers in key areas around the site.
  • Distribute lists of radio channels to all staff members and any outside organization working the event.
  • Brief personnel on radio protocols and instructions before the event begins.

Assigning radio channels

As mentioned before, music festivals have a lot of moving parts. You’ll most likely have more than one team using radios, and it will be the duty of the event organizer to organize channels and assign them. It’s essential to avoid channel babel when assigning channels. Consider one of these options:

  • Option 1: Assign radios to team supervisors at key points around the site
  • Option 2: Assign to all staff, but enable “monitor only” on the main channel. Keep officers on their own separate channel, and limit who can speak in the main channel.
  • Option 3: Assign a variety of channels and hire more dispatchers to monitor them as a whole. This requires giving everyone a printed list of channels.

If you’re an event organizer for a large event or music festival, it might be wise to look into radio interoperability solutions. Events such as the President’s Inauguration and PGA Championship use this technology to like different models of radios on different frequencies into one communications matrix.

Choosing radio equipment

It’s preferable to be able to test the equipment you’ll rent or buy before making a decision. When testing different models of radios, consider the following:

  • Is it simple to use? You may want to avoid models that have a lot of buttons and modes that could be confusing.
  • How is the volume? Remember, you’ll need to hear the radio over the music at some point.
  • What is the battery life of the radio?

Now that you’ve carefully analyzed your radio and golf cart needs and requirements, you can use the information to determine your budget.

Music festival budget breakdown for golf carts and radios

We developed this music festival management guide to get you thinking critically about the many elements of music festival planning. You've discovered your needs for golf carts and radios during the event, and you need to budget and allocate the proper funds.

Budgeting for a music festival is no easy task. There are many details to consider, and things like music festival lineup budgeting and artist tracking can take a lot of time. That's why we've provided a user-friendly tool for golf carts and radio assignment planning and budgeting.

If you are hiring an outside organization or security staff, it's important to collect as much information from them upfront as possible. This will help out when you're working on security team scheduling and budgeting.

We want to help you maximize your ROI and put on a successful music festival! Below, we've given you access to one of our music festival planning tools. This Golf Carts and Radio Assignment Planning and Budgeting Tool will help you get organized and find out your bottom line.


Casey Teel
Casey Teel
Casey Teel is a digital communication and media professional with a passion for music, arts, and community.

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