A few years ago Gary and I went to Upper Canada Village for an 1812 re-enactment battle. The battle took place on a large open field and the audience was able to watch the battle while sitting on the side of a shaded hill. It was a perfect theatre. The field was “roped off” to prevent onlookers from wandering onto the battle grounds and joining the battle. We arrived in plenty of time to get a good viewing area. Additional people arrived even after the start of the battle. As the hillside filled up and more onlookers came to watch the re-enactment, they started taking spots at the rope barrier. They stood there to watch the activities. Soon the complete barrier line was filled with people! The people who had planned their time and who had come early to get a good viewing spot had their view blocked by the late comers up front! I can’t understand the mentality of people who arrive late for an event and then think they have the right to block the view of those who came early. Frankly, I find this type of behavior rude and unacceptable! What is even worse is the most festivals and events allow this to happen and then don’t take any action to prevent or correct it! Fortunately this was not the case at the Upper Canada Village re-enactment! As soon as the announcer noticed what was happening, he stopped describing the battle and asked the people up front to move away from the rope barrier and take places on the hill. The press who were taking photographs were allowed to stay but were asked sit down on the ground and to keep a low profile. My congratulations to the organizers of Upper Canada Village re-enactment! I can only hope that more organizers will take action against the few rude and annoying people who consider it their right to come late and then get a front seat view!
Why an Interview,,,
Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
A while ago Gary and I had dinner with friends of ours. They were in town (Cobourg) to attend the Cobourg Highland Games as vendors. During our meal the conversation naturally turned to festivals and how they treat their vendors. Our friends commented on how differently each event treats their vendors. Some treat vendors as partners, while others treat them as a necessary evil! As a vendor I certainly know which festivals I would be selling my merchandise at! I believe that if a festival or event is going to have merchants as part of the event, they should attract the very best and then treat them like gold! They are the ones who pay the booth fees and attract the crowds to the events! For many festivals they are the main attraction! Festival organizers should realize that the better the quality of vendors they have at their event, the more people they will attract. It’s a big circle! Good vendors attract good attendees. Great vendors attract great and more attendees! Ones who will be willing to spend money! The more people spend, the more vendors earn. The more the vendors earn, the more an event can charge them. Successful vendors are willing to pay “fair” booth fees. More money to go back into the community! And remember, attendees and vendors TALK! Attendees tell their friends and their friends tell their friends! It’s called the “rippling effect”. Bad news travels fast! As for vendors, they also talk. Vendors love to network. This may come as a surprise to some festival organizers, but vendors, especially the more experienced ones, talk to one another regularly! They know which festivals are the best to attend for sales. They know which festivals treat their vendors well and who treat them poorly! Any festival that wants to become and stay successful should be acutely aware of these realities and plan their festivals accordingly! Here are vendor friendly five tips:
1. Provide a “booth sitting” service
2. Provide vendor only washrooms and a clean-up area
3. Provide “food delivery” service
4. Have a rest area for vendors and their staff where they can relax and snooze in peace
5. Provide vendor only parking areas
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
A few years ago I was reading an article in a US newspaper that had bold headlines reading “Festivals across US downsize or cancel because of economy “. The reasons given were the reduction or elimination of sponsorship dollars, higher costs and fewer attendees. Both corporations and attendees are feeling the economic pinch, falling sales for corporations and higher gasoline costs for attendees. For many people the cost of getting there is just becoming too expensive. With costs increasing for festivals, organizers have to take a much closer look at their budgets and profitability. Even though many festivals are organized and managed by non-profit organizations, excess monies are usually invested back into organization’s community. Members of the organization usually throw themselves into a festival project because of the charitable factor. Without profits, many groups are now re-evaluating their role. Some, as the newspaper article says, are downsizing while others are simply canceling. Rather than “throwing in the towel” and giving up, these groups should re-evaluate themselves and find innovative ways to grow and prosper. For me, this doesn’t mean increasing the admission costs or the booth fees. It means taking an honest comprehensive look at all aspects and then coming up with responsible solutions. The first few years may not produce high profits, but hard work, time and intelligent perseverance will. Remember everything is cyclical and the economy will bounce back, but if you leave the game or diminish your product (festival) everyone will lose! Festivals are an intricate and vital part of every community! What your group does now and how it responds to the challenges of today WILL affect tomorrow.
Even though this article was written a while ago, I believe that the same premise exists today. I hate when I hear about an event being cancelled. Events can be the backbone of a community. They can attract new visitors, new businesses and new residents. They also can help create community pride.