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POSTED 29.5.2017

How to create the ultimate festival or event guide

There was a time when a typical Irish festival would be lucky to have a single food truck selling chips through a hatch —that was usually the extent of the culinary delights on offer for hungry punters.  

By Ciaran Byrne

Now the food truck has become the star of its own festival —the Limerick International Food Truck Festival will see 60 food vehicles from 14 countries setting up in Limerick’s People’s Park for the June bank holiday weekend.

Festivals have become part and parcel of the Irish summer with all manner of topics and subjects tackled from craft beer to Father Ted, knitting to economics, matchmaking to trad music.

As the festival field becomes somewhat crowded, so too does the need to provide quality content and stories, to help an event stand out.

These can explain what is taking place and who will be there; what’s happening on different days, where to go and how you get there.

That’s why a festival guide or brochure is key to the success of an event; it stirs curiosity and interest, creates PR noise and buzz, and offers people opportunities to plan their valuable time once they get there.

Event guides raise profile and drive sales. They can be published in print, distributed with newspapers, emailed as newsletters, uploaded online or shared on social media channels.

Bloom, one of Ireland’s most successful festivals, takes place this holiday weekend. Bord Bia’s hugely successful annual horticultural event is a phenomenon.

Over 11 years, it has morphed beyond its original plant-based roots, now encompassing, food, drink, fashion, music and children’s activities, all attended by well over 100,000 people.

For the fourth year, StoryLab has worked with the communications team at Bord Bia to tell the story of Bloom —creating a 24-page preview magazine that was published in yesterday’s Sunday Independent.

To learn about the impact of our guides for Bloom, read our case study on Bord Bia here.

A good event guide or brochure contains several crucial ingredients to make the whole thing sing. Here’s six key pointers:


Booking and ticketing details, a locator map and a list of facilities. For example, Bloom is a vast event taking place on a large site so an attractive map was created with parking and key event locators.

What is it?

An introduction; whether it’s by President Higgins or your CEO, this provides an overarching, compelling message that whets the appetite and sets the scene.


Include social media links to allow people to follow your event hashtag and get updates about what’s taking place.


The personal stories of those taking part are the heartbeat of the content. Inspire people to come, flaunt your attractions.

Say cheese!

Invest in images; too many events and festivals have poor-quality logos and no photos from previous years. Don’t think your smart phone will suffice —document your event by paying for a professional photographer— it will come in handy next year.


Make sure there is something for everyone; even supposedly ‘niche’ events now have family activities or great food or music to persuade a wider number of people to turn up. People want to enjoy experiences and try new things. Give them reasons!

StoryLab has also worked with Fairyhouse, Dublin Zoo, Tattersalls, Limerick Racecourse, UCD, IT Sligo, Athletics Ireland and Guinness Storehouse to create quality brochures and event guides, packed with journalistic-style storytelling and engaging, compelling content.

If you need the expert services of a PR and content agency to help you with your event guide, then give us a call on +353 (0) 1 685 3029.