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"!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Crossing the Line…

 At what point do festival or event organizers “cross the line” putting profits (dollars) ahead of value for their attendees? I believe that some organizers eventually loose sight of the things that made their event successful. Most festivals and events in the beginning try to offer more to encourage people to visit their event, but what happens when the event becomes really successful over an extended period? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for events making a reasonable profit. After all, many events these days are managed and organized by non-profit groups and most of the money is put back into the community. For the most part profit allows organizers to gauge the success of their event. Nobody likes to work for nothing! That being said, when do festivals cross the line. I don’t think that there is a definitive answer, but I think this happens when organizers forget what made the event successful and start making poor judgment changes all for the sake of increased profits. This could include canceling popular activities or attractions or reducing advertising budgets. Obviously reducing or eliminating unnecessary items is prudent, but if profit is the only motivator and the event becomes less attractive as a result, I think this is wrong. A reasonable balance must be met. Here is an example of what I mean. I know of one festival that keeps raising its admission fees each year, even though their costs have not increased and they have not added value to their event. The increased fees were only a means to increase their profits. When do they stop? They wanted to prove to their community what great fundraisers they were, but what about patrons. The people who come back year after year to support their event? By only increasing admission fees and not providing anything new, aren’t they cheating those very people? And even worse, won’t this attitude eventually come back to haunt them? If this happens, everyone losses, the community, the organizations receiving funds, patrons, vendors, suppliers and ultimately even the organizers themselves! Raising money for the community is a very worthwhile endeavor, but not at the expense of integrity!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Road Blocks to Success… (Part 2)

Here is an idea to think about! Many festivals and events pay musical performers big money to come to their event! When they come, they give them the V.I.P. treatment. Why do events pay the big money? To draw crowds to the event! That’s the reason, pure and simply. While this may be necessary in some cases, there are other attractions that draw just as many people and perhaps more! I am talking about first class vendors. Why then do some festivals and events treat them like second class citizens? It just doesn’t make good business sense. Yet it does happen, and all too often! What is even odder, we charge these attractions a lot of money for the privilege of helping us draw people to our events! Most vendors don’t mind this, especially the good ones. They know that there could be a good payday for them if the event does well. But they are the ones taking all the chances, so why not treat them with respect, like the V.I.P.’s that they really are! If you want an example of how good vendors affect shows, just ask the organizers of the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts or the One of a Kid Show in Toronto! They thrive on attracting excellent participants. So, why the imbalance? Why do festival and event organizers and government regulators insist on creating so many “road blocks”? If festivals and events are the “backbone” of our communities, we owe it to ourselves to think of the consequences BEFORE we act! After all, community events need good participants more then good participants need the poor communities! 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Road Blocks to Success… (Part 1)

 I was at a festival helping my sister set up her art booth. During the set up I talked to an artist acquaintance who I knew participated in a number of shows throughout the year. I wanted to find out more about these shows and what he thought of them. That’s when we started to talk about the different rules and regulations that organizers and governments threw in the way to prevent festivals and events from having ultimate success. The artist gave me a number of examples of poorly conceived rules that just made me shake my head in disgust! I think the best example of fuzzy headed thinking was the festival that decided to charge vendor participants a fee for parking on their grounds! What were they thinking??!! I’ve talked about this before, but I think it bears repeating, for many events, vendors are the engine that drives people to their event. Why bite the goose that lays the golden egg?

(To be continued in Part 2)

Friday, May 21, 2021

Event Development (continued)

 

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development” The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

Money (continued)

Monies Needed During the Event

7.    Miscellaneous: Depending on what you are planning on offering, there could be a number of other expenses. Some examples could include:

·         If you are offering food services, you will need to purchase food in advance or during the event. Unless you have a friendly (and trusting) grocer, you will need to pay for the food at time of purchase.

·         Again, if you are providing food and drinks, you will need to store them in a safe, cool place. Unless your event has access to a free cooler, you will need to rent a cooler. For pop, you will need to purchase ice. All this will likely cost money up front or during the event.

·         If you are serving liquor or are having a “beer tent”, you will need to pre-purchase all your liquor. If you don’t order enough in advance, you may need to purchase extra during your event. All this requires cash.

All in all, there is an awful lot to think about and research once you start down the road of event development! As you progress in your festival or event planning, you will likely find many more areas where money is an issue. However, the more finite you make you research and planning, the better your festival or event will be!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development” The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

Money (continued)

Monies Needed During the Event

4.    Clean Up and Garbage Disposal: Unless you are part of a town event where the town provides this service, you will need to hire a company or individual to provide clean up and garbage disposal services. If you do, you will likely have to pay for this service up front or during the event. Any services contracted should include recycling. This is becoming more and more important each year.

5.    Policing: Once again, depending on your event and what you are offering, you might need to hire a private policing company or hire off-duty police. There could be a number of reasons for providing policing services. Unfortunately, beer tents and/or music concerts quite often require policing. If you are having road closures, policing for traffic control might be needed. If you have vendors or expensive equipment that are going to remain on the festival grounds overnight, you will need to provide policing services during the night time. Whatever the reason or reasons, you will likely need to pay for these services at the time they are rendered. Whoever you hire will need to be professionally equipped and legally able to provide the service(s) contracted.

6.    Shuttle Service: If you have off-site parking, you may want to provide a shuttle service. The type of service you hire will dictate the financial terms. For example, if you are hiring a bus service, they may require a deposit upfront and then invoice you for the rest after the event. However, if you are hiring individuals or a specialized type of service (taxi, horse and carriage, hay wagon, etc.), you will likely need to pay them up front or during the event. In all likelihood, they will want cash.
(To be continued)

Friday, May 7, 2021

Event Development (continued)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development” The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

Money (continued)

Monies Needed During the Event

1.    Cash Float: If you are planning on selling tickets or admission at the “gate”, you will need to provide each of your ticket sellers with a cash float. This is necessary because you will need change to give to your visitors. The amount you are charging will influence the dollars denomination you will need to provide for your sellers. As an example, if your admission fee is $2.00, you will need plenty of $1.00 or $2.00 coins and some $5.00 and $10.00 bills. You should also keep a supply of change at you headquarters. A consistent system of collecting the ticket money and replacing the sellers float should be in place.

2.    Security: Depending on the type of event you are holding, you may need to hire a security service. If this is the case, you will likely have to give them a deposit. If not, they will want payment either during the event or right after it. You need to be prepared for either scenario.

3.    Washroom Services: If you are holding an outdoor event, you will likely need to provide washroom and wash-up facilities. Depending on the service company in your area, you may have to give them a deposit. Again, like security, they will want payment either during the event or right after it. Since the washrooms and wash-up facilities generally need to be serviced a number of times during an event, there may be charges for each serving. You need to negotiate terms before you sign any contract.
(To be continued)

Friday, April 30, 2021

Event Development (continued)

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several months ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development” The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Research and Preliminary Planning

Money (continued)

6.    Volunteer Identification: I believe that volunteer identity is absolutely necessary! There are two reasons for this. The first is that festival visitors want to know who is running the festival or event. This is especially true if they need something or want to ask a question. If you want to have a well run professional event, identify your volunteers. The second reason for identifying volunteers is simple. They like to be recognized as being part of a great festival or event! Volunteers work hard, donate their time and are proud of their event! For these reasons there should be some sort of tangible identity! If your event is just starting out and doesn’t have a lot of money, simple name badges should be affordable. This is at least a start in the right direction. Another alternative is for the festival to pay for a T-shirt template (silk-screen or embroidery). The cost for this is about $150. You can then make deal with a T-shirt company to sell your volunteers custom T-shirt with the Festival logo. Most volunteers would be willing to spend a little of their own money to be identified with the event, plus it is a keepsake of all their hard work. Perhaps you can work a “volume” deal to keep the costs down! If you have a good salesman in your group, you may be able to convince a local business to sponsor the T-shirts. Sports teams do this all the time. It just takes someone in your group to take the time to approach businesses. Make sure you offer the business something in return for this support.

7.    Miscellaneous Cost: There are other miscellaneous costs that could come up. If you are planning on serving liquor, you will likely need a liquor license. Unless you fall under umbrella coverage from your town or organization, your will need to purchase event insurance. If you are providing booths, you might need to purchase building materials.

All of these costs fall under the banner of “Monies needed before the event”. There could, of course, be other costs not mentioned here, but this should, at least, get the process started. The next section will cover “Monies needed during the event”.

(To be continued)