Some tips on showcasing your fitness brand on the festival circuit

One of our instructors, Emma Smallman, who founded the dance fitness brand Drum n Bounce is a keen festival-goer, that is, she gives workshops and delivers exercise sessions at numerous festivals around the country.  These include Shambala, Bestival, Wonderfields, Boomtown, Deer Shed and Lunar Festival to name but a few. This Summer there’s been the Pink Moon Camping Retreat, Coventry’s City of Culture event, The Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival and Shambino.

Emma herself was inspired when attending a workshop at Shambala nearly 10 years ago.  She said to herself ‘I could do that’ and one year later was giving her own workshops at the very same event!

More recently Emma, along with her brother, created the ‘Zen Den’ which offers a range of well-being sessions delivered by down to earth practitioners. They spent the whole of June in their Zen Den at the Pink Moon camping retreat, a body and soul area with a ‘festival vibe’.  Having attended many festivals, Emma has built up a network of other practitioners who deliver workshops as part of the Zen Den.

Want to get on the festival circuit?

Speaking to Emma recently, her enthusiasm for the events really shines through.  As a relative expert now, she was kind enough to share some of her top tips for getting involved:

  • Have a look at the festival or event website to check if the event looks like a good match for your brand
  • Send an email with a very brief description of what you can offer
  • Send a link to a short promo video plus some of your best images of you in action at similar events
  • Name drop other events you’ve appeared at
  • Keep the tone friendly and light, that you totally understand if it’s not a match and wish them well for their event.

So, what happens if you’re accepted for the event?

Well, it’s good news!  Emma advises that you should be flexible to give the organisers as much help as possible – for example timings or set up can be weather-dependant. She offers these additional tips:

  • Know the event vibe
  • Have some back-up tech with you, there’s nothing worse than having no music available
  • Take all your own leads etc – just in case. The bigger events always have good music systems but always check and it may be worth taking your own headmic
  • If there’s no-one there to help you, make sure you can be self-sufficient in getting set up
  • Plan your programme, but be ready to be flexible, eg you might have to go on immediately if another presenter was delayed
  • Prepare for every eventuality – and we won’t even mention the man who was so inspired by Emma’s Drum n Bounce session at Shambala that he leapt out of a hot tub to join in and didn’t feel the need to get dressed!
  • Take care of yourself and be professional – don’t forget you’re there to do a job – so not too much late-night partying!


Make your session accessible. Remember that people are unlikely to be dressed for a group exercise class so adapt your session if need be.  Emma aims for a fun, playful experience with some audience interaction – maybe getting someone at the front to give a demo –  and closes with some fun stuff and a cool down.

You will need to complete a risk assessment.  Emma has a general festival one which covers things like the uneven ground, people may have been drinking or they are not really dressed for an exercise class.  Once she’s at the site, Emma will then check whether there is anything else likely to be a risk.  She also sends copies of her qualifications, insurance cover etc to the organisers.

Emma also advises wearing something eye-catching which represents your brand and your personality – she’s a big fan of sparkly catsuits herself, which is just perfect for her brand, especially when attending festivals and events.  On this note, Emma also recommends befriending the professional photographers who may be willing to share some images.

Why do the Festivals?

  • You can increase your brand awareness
  • You can reach people you wouldn’t normally be able to and, in some cases, change their perception of exercise
  • If like Emma you love going to festivals, then you go for free and often get paid too!
  • You have a Guest List so you can invite family and friends
  • You get to meet and network with other performers, many of whom may become good friends
  • You can attract new instructors to your brand
  • It just feels GREAT!

Find more about Drum n Bounce here.