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Mapping festivals - Design your own festival

Mapping festivals

Key questions

  • How can you use maps to select the most suitable site for a festival?
  • How do you start planning a festival?

Key concepts

  • Place
  • Space
  • Scale
  • Environmental interaction and sustainable development
  • Cultural understanding and diversity

How can you use maps to select the most suitable site for a festival?

The aim of this lesson is to bring together the skills, knowledge, and understanding gained during the unit. Students are presented with the scenario that they are going to be locating and organising a new festival near Carlisle.

During lessons one to three of this unit, students examined the site and situation of Glastonbury, and other international festivals. Also, during lesson five, they used the Environment Agency's Flood Map tool to investigate the flood risk at different UK festival sites. The starter activity of this lesson requires them to use the skills and understanding gained during these lessons to choose the most suitable site for their festival from a given choice of four.

The starter activity resource provides them with a map of the Greater Carlisle area, with four more detailed maps of each potential festival site. They must consider:

  • Accessibility - The festival site needs to be easily accessible by road (and preferably also rail and even air)
  • Relief - Flatter land is much better for moving around the site, camping and also for setting up stages, etc
  • Proximity to urban areas - It needs to be fairly close to urban areas so that it's within easy reach of their populations, but not too close so that it causes noise disturbance and problems with the locals
  • Land use - Festivals are most easily located on rural farmland, or large estates of country houses
  • Flood risk - Using the Environment Agency Flood Map tool , students can click on 'flood risk' and enter postcode they are provided with. This gives them a flood risk map which should be zoomed into 1:20,000 scale for detail of the site

Site A is Castletown House, Rockliffe, Carlisle, CA6 4BN. At first glance this appears to be a good site - flat, rural land in the grounds of the house, close to Carlisle but not too close and also close to the main A74. However, the flood risk map reveals that most of the site is in danger of being flooded.

Site B is Moor House Farm, Westlington, Carlisle, CA6 6AL. The site is flat rural farmland, it's between the A74 (just off it) and A7 main roads, very close to Carlisle and also not too far from Gretna and Scotland. The flood map reveals no risk of flooding to the site. This is the most suitable option - the one that most students will (hopefully) opt for..

Site C is Wetheral Abbey Farm and Priory grounds, CA4. While this is fairly close to Carlisle, it is not very easily accessible by main roads. It is on the edge of Wetheral, still fairly close to the settlement. It's right next to the river so may be at risk of flooding.

Site D is Carlisle racecourse which is the other probable option which the students might go for. It would make a fairly good site - reasonably flat land, very close to Carlisle and on open land. There is also no real flood risk to the actual site itself (flooding possible to the west) However, access is really through the centre of Carlisle - not great, and the land at site B is flatter.

How do you start planning a festival?

The main activity involves group work, and the activity resource gives students instructions to complete three tasks - these should be divided amongst members of each group. 

Task one involves writing instructions for travel to the festival by car from the north, south, east and west. In order to do this, students must use the maps they have been provided with already, but also Google Maps, and any other road maps available to help. Students are also required to draw a simple sketch map to show the main road access - this should be a simplified version of the local map of the site, simply showing main access roads with the site itself labelled. A possible extension activity for more able pupils is to investigate rail and air travel to the festival.

Task two asks students to ‘go green' and think about how they will make their festival more green and sustainable (for a definition of the term ‘sustainable', see lesson four above), and also to encourage festival-goers to be more sustainable in their actions and behaviour. The ideas and methods implemented by Glastonbury Festival were covered in lesson four, and students should be encouraged to use the information gathered during that lesson. However, they are also provided with a link to Southbound Festival in Australia and T in the Park for further inspiration. Hovefestivalen in Norway claims to be 100% carbon neutral through its ‘green' actions (the website contains a swear-word so has not been put on the resource, but may be useful background reading for teachers). A possible extension activity here is to consider which ‘worthy causes' (as looked at for Glastonbury) might be supported, and how they might be involved with the festival.

Task three involves students using the maps provided, and also internet research of the local area, to find out what there is to see and do in the local area. They should be able to interpret the map symbols (see lesson two above) to find local points of interest and then use the internet to investigate them further. They should aim to produce an annotated map (sketched or printed) of the area, showing the festival site and the points of interest they have found (using a symbol and key method will be best). Additional information such as opening times, tariffs and distance from the festival site should also be included if possible - distances can be measured using the method described in lesson two above. A possible extension activity here is to devise a couple of walking routes around the festival site - encourage them to use footpaths where possible and to make one route ‘easy' and one ‘more strenuous' if possible - the latter being more hilly and / or longer (using contour interpretation).




Choose the site

During this lesson, you are in charge of planning a brand new music festival in the Carlisle area of Cumbria, North West England.

Your first task is to choose a suitable location for the festival site.

Look at the choosing your site maps.

Which one do you think would be the best site for a festival?

You need to consider the following factors:

  • Accessibility
  • Land-use
  • Relief
  • Proximity to urban areas
  • Flood risk

Justify why your chosen site is the most appropriate for a festival.



Festival Planning

For this activity, you will be working in groups of three or four. In your group, you will plan your own festival.

The planning your festival instruction sheet will help you with your planning. It has three activities for your group to complete, which you should divide up between you. The three tasks are:

  • Getting here: write instructions for travelling to the festival site
  • Going green: write a ‘Green Action Plan' for your festival to ensure it is sustainable
  • What to see and do: find out what there is to see and do in the local area

More details for these tasks are given on the instruction sheet.

In addition, your group should produce a flood risk map for your festival site using the Environment Agency Website as you did last lesson.



Write a progress report for your group highlighting your main ideas for the festival so far - focusing on the task you were responsible for in the last activity.

As a group, share your best ideas with the rest of the class.

Do not forget to give your festival a name.

As a homework task, design the front page of a website for your new festival. The websites of some of the festivals you have studied during this unit might give you some ideas.

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