35+ backyard/garden festival themed summer party ideas!

Hello and welcome to this ideas post about how to throw an epic festival-themed party! If you love the music festival vibe, then this is a perfect way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion – by filling your backyard with music and magic! This is an awesome party theme!

I’m Zoe and I love sharing creative ideas for parties here on the Parties Universe site! After working in the profession for many years, I started this site to share inspirations and also tips and tricks to try and make your event as joyous as possible while being cost-effective and with minimal stress.

So without further ado, I have compiled over 35 ideas for invitations, venue ideas, main stage events, fringe events, decorations and food and drinks. Let’s get into it.

Backyard festival invitation ideas

1. Festival tickets: Create your own Glastonbury tickets as invitations for the event

2. Festival map: Design the invitation as a festival map with little details about the party coming off the main, central trail and little stops with the different zones of the party scattered around.

3. Festival wristbands: This is a cute idea, You can create little wristbands with the name, date and time of the event and send them out. This is extra fun because the complete non-digital-ness of it makes it feel like an old-school party vibe

4. VIP passes – print out invitations in the style of VIP vouchers. You could even make the invitation a toke of their first drink at the party!

5. Vinyl or CD-printed invitations – If you have any broken, or unused vinyls or CDs you can use posca pens, or other permanent markers to write out invitations on the disc and post them out to friends.

Backyard/garden festival theme venue:

The magical thing about a festival vibe is a space with beautiful food and music and surprises hidden around every corner. Whether you’re hosting this in a backyard, or in a local park or another beautiful space, a great way to create a festival feel is to create little zones for all the food, music, magic and entertainment. Here are some ideas for venue zones to consider:

1. Hay Bale seating bleachers This is a lovely way to segment the main stage and give people somewhere to sit while they listen to live music.

2. A fire pit area – having a firepit with marshalls for toasting is a brilliant, cosy festival activity, a lovely relaxed space to hang out

3. A main arena – the arena can be the focal point of the party with a raised or marketed platform, and a large dance floor or seating area

4. Smaller tents around the main stage for magical entertainment such as tarot or mystique readings, games, snacks, comedy or silent discos!

5. A seating area for people eating and who want a moment to rest and chat with their fellow festival go-ers! Level this up with colourful cushions and tablecloths!

Choose a beautiful garden or outdoor space as your venue. If possible, consider a garden with hidden nooks and crannies, where guests can explore and discover surprises.

Ideas for festival party decorations

Festival decorations are a great basis to decorate! The aim here is to create a mystical, magical feel, transporting people away for a night to a different world!

1. Vintage lanterns – Hanging lanterns are a great decoration, anything hanging creates the illusion it’s floating and makes decoration instantly multi-dimensional. Vintage lanterns can be gorgeously ornate and can have coloured panes so you can create warm light glows with oranges and reds.

2. Festival clothing – having people dressed up in festival wear will turn the guests into part of the decoration, and a creative, artistic and expressive atmosphere. You can amplify this by providing glitter, flower crowns or other festival costume accessories.

3. Big colourful signs above the stage areas – another thing that you will always find at music festivals is beautiful graphics hanging above the stages. This will market where people should be and when the shows are on. Having some sort of timetable is great for getting a flow of people in when there are a large number of guests.

4. Tealights everywhere– You can use tea light candles and outdoor fairy lights to make the space feel magical. As the sun sets. these will look stunning!

​5. Bunting – in bright colours strung across the top of the festival space

6. Balloon or flower arches – these are interactive decorations, and guests will love to use them as photo props. They are so bold, beautiful and uplifting!

Main stage entertainment ideas:

For a main stage a good sound system and perhaps a canopy if there is a chance of rain will be essential. create a main event space with some centre-piece set up around the stage, whether that’s balloons or a flower arch or outdoor fairy lights strung up in a tree.

1. Local band – Can you find a local band to hire for the evening? Maybe a jazz or acoustic band to really turn this into a super special occasion, there is nothing quite like live music!

2. Dance floor – Get colourful disco lights and a mirror ball to mark out a dance space, and 

3. Open mic nights – See if you have any musically talented friends to offer to perform a few songs on the main stage. There is nothing like live music, and if they’re keen performers they’ll be likely to want to contribute as well

4. DIY Festival playlist with throwback songs that you have loved listening to live at festivals before! You could even play live versions of performances from festivals if they’re available online (if your party is in festival season anyway!

Entertainment ideas for fringe stages:

Throughout the rest of the garden, you can set up themed tents full of fun entertainment so sneak off and explore while the music plays. Fringe stages are those around the main stage where there are always loads of exciting activities on offer. You can light up the pathways to these outer tents with tea lights in jam jars to lure people along the path, and towards discovering all of these epic fringe tent activities.

1. Psychic or mystic readings: This is a very fun fringe stage idea. Maybe you could hire a psychic for the evening, or get a friend to dress up and offer tarot card readings for the night. You could even offer DIY fortune-telling activities like tea leaf reading! this is a good bit of fun, and needn’t be taken too seriously if that doesn’t suit you.

2. Festical glitter tent: Set up a glitter stand with face paint and temporary tattoos! guest can go and decorate themselves, creating a fun festival feel 

3. Outdoor games stations: set up fun outdoor games like bowls, ring/hoop toss and coconut shire. This entertainment can have a bit of a fairground vibe to it!

4. Neon or fluorescent circus skill equipment! Having fluorescent juggling balls, poi and hula hoops with be like live decorations when people are playing with them, and they look beautiful! This is a really fun, fringe station for all ages to enjoy

5. Relaxing areas full of outdoor rugs and cushions to rest, lie down and stargaze from! You can even corner off a section and call this the VIP suite.

6. Silent disco – As well as the live music, you could set up a more intense dancing vibe in a fringe tent using silent disco headphones and offer techno or house music as an alternative theme to the main stage! This is a great idea if you have different guests with different music tastes!

7. Craft tents: have a DIY flower crowns tent where festival goers can creat their own festival headbands by decking out hairbands with synthetic flowers, greenery and glitter! this si not just a fun activity but seeing other festival goers in these will add to the overall atmosphere of the party!

8. Photo booth: Hire a photo booth for party guests to have great fun taking group and couple photos, and consolidate the night in memories!

9. Projector with old-school silent movie playing: To get in the festival spirit, filling the atmosphere with weird and wonderful details will elevate the night to the next level, and there is something other-worldly about silent movies. This is especially great if you have live music because a garden or public space is unlikely to be large enough to have different music stages, but it would be easy to still enjoy the silent movie to the soundtrack of the main stage.

Food and Drink ideas for a festival theme garden party:

The best festival-themed garden party food is food-truck-style options. If you’re throwing a large event, you could even order food trucks as catering, or create your own DIY food bar-style stations.

  1. Hot dogs set up a DIY hot dog stall with loads of topping options for guests to make themselves a delicious bespoke combination hot dog feast!
  2. Carnival treats like cotton candy, a popcorn bar and a slushie machine.
  3. Loaded nachos or loaded fried. These always go down well. You could set up a DIY bar so that guests can choose their own toppings 
  4. Internaitonal street food, like Tacos, Samosasas or kebabs. These are crown favourites and great to grab and munch on without too much mess,
  5. Burgers – This is a classic festival food, and you can have stations where people create their own from selections of toppings like salad, cheese, caramelised onions, fried halloumi, onion rings, and all different types of sauces.
  6. Grilled corn on the cob – this is delicious, a sweet, grilled and salty treat that makes for and lovely festival snack.
  7. Fall-theme snacks like cinnamon doughnuts, and glazed toffee apples will bring seasonality to your theme and are in themselves, truly delicious!
  8. Cocktail or mocktail pitchers – having large pitchers with icy fresh cocktails is perfect for this festival-themed garden party!
  9. Craft beer ice buckets – often craft beer can have beautiful label designs. Tap into this with cans on display, and serve some chilled in an ice bucket. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these outdoor backyard festival party ideas and that you feel inspired to get to planning! This is going to be such a wonderful evening for everyone who is invited!

Best of luck, Zoe x

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