Planning for each festival begins before the festival of the previous year in advance. However, it is in January of each year that the planning begins to crank up. Hiawatha has many committees, which begins to discuss and select artists in October of each year. By February, all of the artists have been scheduled and confirmed, which gives the workshop committee time to plan its activities.
Other committees include stage set-up, vendor’s area, information tent, volunteers, the Green Team (garbage and recycling), security, ticketing, camping and many others. All of the activities of these committees and areas are monitored by the part-time executive director, who is the only paid staff member of the festival. Each area has a coordinator and several monitors.
Set-up for the festival begins a week before the event with the installation of the main stage, a large wooden structure that is reminiscent of a cabin. While some have recommended the use of larger, more modern stages, the main stage represents the festival’s homegrown nature.