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) 

Thursday, April 22, 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)

4. Fencing: If you are holding an outdoor event, you may need to rent or purchase fencing. This would be especially true if you were holding a ticketed event or were serving alcohol. Most areas have liquor laws that place restrictions on where and how liquor can be served. The law might require fencing around the liquor serving and drinking area. Some places even require double fencing! You need to check with your local liquor or town authorities for the exact rules.

5. Signage: This is an area where many festivals and event fall down. I believe that signage is one of the most important areas when developing a festival strategy. This includes directional and informational signage. Directional signage should be placed in strategic at all the “gateway” road that led to your town or region. The more signs, the better! Informational and directional signs on the event site are also very important. Telling visitors about your events, when the events take place and where the events are located all add to the visitors’ positive event experience. This translates into visitors who enjoy themselves, tell their friends and come back next year. Signage is also one of the easiest areas to attract sponsorship money. Signs are seen by a great number of people, perfect for advertising! Whether the signs are sponsored or not, you will likely need some up front money to pay for the signs.

(To be continued) 

Thursday, April 15, 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 Before the Event

The following are some of the areas I think need to be researched and considered. Depending on the type of festival or event you are planning, more cost areas will likely need to be researched. Hopefully the following will get you started. Most of the big expenses will need contracts and deposits. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before signing binding contracts and handing out large deposit cheques.

Facilities: If you need to rent a hall or grounds, you will probably need to give the owners a deposit. The amount will depend on the facility and the relationship you have with the owner. You will also have to sign a rental agreement where you will have to guarantee full payment. Also, if you cancel your event for some reason, there will likely be a “penalty clause” where you will be responsible for some additional payment or you will forfeit some or all of your deposit.

Tents: If you are holding an outdoor event, you may want to have a tent or tents or some kind of weather protection. If you decide rent tents, you will need to make a deposit. Plus, the tent company will most likely want a guarantee payment no matter what happens!

Electricity: If you are going to have vendors or performers at your event, you will have to provide electricity. If it’s an indoor facility, the building may or may not provide free electricity. If they don’t, you will make a deposit plus you may have to hire an electrician. This can be quite expensive unless you have someone on your committee who can do the work themselves. (To be continued)

Thursday, April 8, 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 has 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

You haven’t forgotten about the money have you? No matter how large or small your project, you’ll need “start-up” money! You can’t ignore this part! You must let everyone in your group know that “seed” money will be required and exactly how much you will need. And, this should be determined BEFORE starting the project! The seed money includes any monies you will spend before income starts coming in. And, you have to be prepared for a loss, especially in today’s economic climate! There should now be any surprises. You need to thoroughly research your costs. Don’t minimize the amount to need. If anything, inflate your projected amount by 10 or 15 percent! It will save you a lot of grief in the long run! Remember too, the larger the project, the more you will likely need. So, what are the costs you could incur? I think it’s bets to put them into two categories, “Monies needed before the event” and “Monies needed during the event”. Next week I’ll talk about “Monies needed before the event”.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Pricing Your Event…

 Gary and I have been debating lately about the pros and cons of festival and event pricing. There are two thoughts. The first is to include all activities in the admission price, while the other is to price activities separately. This would allow visitors to pick and chose what they want to participate in. So, here are some of the pros and cons we thought of. I am sure that there are more. Please let us know what you think.

1.    One Fee Admission
Pros

  • Visitors know exactly what they are getting and at what cost
  • Festival organizers don’t have to worry about which events will earn enough money to pay for themselves
  • Festivals can experiment with new or innovative festival activities and events
  • Festival accounting would be easier to manage with a single fee
  • Fewer volunteers would be needed to collect money

Cons

  • The higher cost of a single fee might discourage some people from attending event
  • Some visitors may resent paying for festival events and activities they have no interest in
  • Might reduce the amount of potential income, especially if there are a number of popular festival activities and events to chose from

2.    Individual Fee Pricing
Pros

  • Might encourage more people to attend, especially young families
  • Allows people to chose what they want to see or participate in
  • Acts as a “survey” for festivals to determine which festival activities and events their “customers” are interested in
  • May be easier to attract event sponsors for specific festival activities or events

Cons

  • Difficult to manage and account monies
  • More volunteers needed for admission sales
  • Festival organizers may not be willing to take a chance on new festival activities or events
  • Visitors may resent being “nickeled and dimed”
  • Possibility of visitor not bringing enough “cash” and then being limited to the number of festival events and activities they are able to participate in

I guess, in the long run, you have to know who your customers are and what and how they are willing to pay. Perhaps the best idea is to have a combination of both pricing plans. That is, keep the main admission price low but charge extra for the more costly festival activities and events. The ultimate solution is to have the expensive events paid for by sponsors. Not an easy task in these economic times!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

There Is No Free Lunch…

 Whoever coined the phrase “there is no FREE lunch” (or should I say “no FREE promotion”), must never have worked on a festival or event committee! Getting FREE publicity or promotion is fairly easy. Getting a lot of the “right” kind of FREE publicity is an art! However, in order to get this type of FREE publicity, you have to offer something in return. Not money, but something of value. So, in a sense, the phrase may not be wrong after all! 

To get the best kind of free promotion or publicity, festival organizers have to determine what is special about their event and who it might appeal to. The list should be long and detailed. Once that list has been completed, an additional list should be developed with the names of people and corporations who would benefit from the event. The list would likely include doctors, dentists, lawyers and businesses (local, regional and national). It is all easy so far, right? With the “lists” completed, this is where the “art” comes in! You have to figure out what you can offer to get the maximum return, money, free merchandise, advertising, etc. All potential sponsors and donors have their own agenda. They are going to give your event something only if they perceive that they are getting value. 

The more value, the greater the contribution! If you are wondering what this means, take a look at the way NASCAR works with its sponsors… maximum exposure! You may not be interested in stock car racing, but a study of NASCAR is a study of the “Art of Promotion”! Everything that NASCAR does, the race tracks, the drivers, the car owners, the crew chiefs, the crew and the TV and radio stations all work together to promote their sponsors. As a result companies spend millions of dollars. 

This is a lesson that all festival and event organizers should learn and use. Working with media (newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV) is the same. What makes them tick? What do they need to promote your event? Find out and the “promotional kingdom” is yours! You cannot take, take, take and not give back! If you keep these thoughts in mind, promoting and publicizing your event for FREE will be “easy” and “artful”!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Event Development – Agreement and Size Matters

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Direction” section, now I want to move to the “Agreement” and “Size Matters” section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

12. Agreement

You have now made your formal presentation to your group. After much discussion, a decision has been made to go ahead with the event.  You know why you are holding it and you have fully discussed and decided the ultimate objective. All participants are in agreement. Right? Many projects start off with great enthusiasm, but when tough decisions (money!) need to be made, in fighting starts to take place if everyone is not on side. More potentially great projects have failed or don’t even take place because all the players can’t agree. Before starting, make sure everyone understands what the project is, what need to be accomplished and what sacrifices are likely. Do these before you get too far into your project!

13. Size Matters

Finally, how large an event do you want to hold? Remember larger events require more time, planning, commitment, member participation and money…and they have more problems! This is why it is important to know your ultimate goal. If it’s your first event, it may be prudent to scale back and learn from your mistakes. If you do decide to go for the “brass ring”, plan, plan, and plan!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Event Development – Direction (Part Five)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Commitment” section, now I want to move to the “Direction” section. This week’s Blog is the beginning of this section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Direction (Continued)

9.    Committee selection

It’s time to select your committee. You just take anyone who volunteers and put them wherever they want to go… right? I wouldn’t recommend it. Your reputation depends on the outcome of this event. Are you going to put your reputation in the hands of just anyone? You wouldn’t do it in business, why would you do it as a volunteer. If you are going to lead the event, you have the right and obligation to choose the best people for the job. You might even have to go outside your group to find the right person. Take a look at each task, determine who in your group has the best qualifications to complete the job and then ask them to do it. If some you have chosen does not or cannot do the job, replace them immediately. I don’t mean that you should be cavalier or uncaring, but you have been asked to a job and it’s your obligation to complete it successfully. The person you are replacing will thank you in the long run because they will know themselves that can’t or won’t complete the job asked of them and will be fretting over it. Be kind but firm. As you are asking people to accept a task, make sure they know what you expect (written reports) and the timetable for completing the job.

10.    Organization and record keeping

A well run event is organized and has excellent records. Why… it’s just good business. Managing an event is just like running a small (and sometimes not so small) business. To be successful you need to be organized so that you keep the development and management of the event flowing smoothly. When problems arise, and they will, you will be able to handle them with ease. Keeping good record is also a must. It makes sense. Your group and the government need complete and accurate financial records. Your volunteers need to know what has been completed and what has to be done next. Next year’s committee doesn’t want to have to re-invent the wheel, plus they will want to learn by your mistakes… and yes, you will have made some mistakes! Finally, you will want to keep your group informed about your progress and the decisions you have made. Keeping records as events happen makes reporting a whole lot easier both for you and your committee. Trying to remember facts and details down the road is not fun and can lead to a lot of embarrassing moments.

11.    Group Approval

The moment of truth has arrived! You have the basics of your event. You know what you are holding. Why you are holding it. Who you are holding it for? When and where it is to be held and how you are going to get the job done. Now you have to sell it to your group and get their approval. (To be continued)

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Event Development – Direction (Part Four)

 The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Commitment” section, now I want to move to the “Direction” section. This week’s Blog is the beginning of this section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Direction (Continued)

8.    Formalizing your committee structure

Many groups and chair believe in a very informal structure. They believe that volunteers are volunteers and can’t be “bossed” around. This is true to a point, but I feel most people want some structure. They want to know that their leaders have a plan and know how to achieve it. Running a committee by the “seat of your pants” just doesn’t cut if with most people. So some kind of formalized structure is a good thing. Many liken it to a “benevolent dictatorship”. That may be going a little too far, but you get the picture. So how do we accomplish this? As I mentioned previously, knowing where you are going to end up is a great start. Choosing the right committee members and assigning tasks that are suited to them also helps. The actual running of the committee needs organization. I can’t count the number of meetings that I have attended that were completely unorganized and unstructured. Frankly, for the most part, they were a total waste of time and accomplished little or nothing. Here is what I feel are the minimum requirements for a well run committee and its meetings.

·         Written Action Plan and Budget

·         Job Descriptions

·         Written agenda that is distributed to committee member a day or two prior to the meeting

·         Written committee reports that are distributed at least 2 or 3 days prior to the meeting

·         Complete and accurate minutes of each meeting that are sent out to committee members within 3 days after the meeting

·         Using “parliamentary procedure” when an important idea needs to be formally approved by the committee

These may seem extreme to some, but following these simple procedures will minimize wasted time and volunteer frustration and help make your event successful. (To be continued)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Event Development – Direction (Part Three)

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Commitment” section, now I want to move to the “Direction” section. This week’s Blog is the beginning of this section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Direction (Continued)

5.    Map out each segment

Take a look at each segment and determine what needs to be done for each and what are the time lines necessary to complete the tasks in each segment. Developing a task/time matrix, at this point, really helps the committee to focus in on the jobs that need to be done quickly and when. Keeping it up to date and actually using are just as important. Lots of great tools become useless because they are not used properly or not used at all!

6.    Job Assignments

Now it’s time to determine what jobs need to be done. Breaking each job into specific tasks, will help create a much clearer picture of what needs to be done. Writing a clear and concise description of each task lets everyone know what is expected of them. Vague instructions will only lead to frustration and missed tasks. Clear instructions for each task equal a greater chance of success.

4.    Job Descriptions

Once the tasks have been clearly written, they need to be put back into a specific job area. For example, if the task is to obtain catering quotes then the job area would likely be facilities. Taking all the tasks and assigning them to a job area will ultimately give you each areas job description. The other advantage of developing job description this way is that it helps you consider who on your event committee could handle which task. The idea here is to assign each committee member a task or tasks to be completed within the designated time frame. By dividing up the tasks into manageable portions, your volunteers are under much less strain to complete the task. Loading up one person with too much work will lead to resentment and jobs not being completed. (To be continued) 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Event Development – Direction (Part Two)

 

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Commitment” section, now I want to move to the “Direction” section. This week’s Blog is the beginning of this section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Direction (Continued)

2.    Know exactly where you are going

By knowing exactly where you are going, it is much easier to get there! You are likely scratching your head and thinking “boy what a dumb thing to say!! You course it’s easier…” Think about it, how many committees or groups you have been a member of that just rush forward in developing an event without really thinking it through. Likely more then you would care to admit. It’s the classic reason why events failure. The event has poor or no leadership; no one knows who is doing what. Jobs are duplicated or not done at all and important items are forgotten completely. Knowing exactly where you are going that away the element of surprise and reduced the risks enormously. Take the time to really think through your event so that you know where you are going to be at the end of your planning journey.

3.    Break the BIG picture into manageable segments

For many of you just thinking about the BIG picture make you break into a cold sweat. Taking a complete picture and then trying to see it competed is too much to handle. By looking at the final event and then breaking it into smaller, manageable segment makes something seems impossible, now possible. The question is “how do I break it up and what should the segments be”. Obviously each event is different, but most of the basic elements are the same… Who, what, where, when, why and how. Doing this simple step allows you to start the planning process.

4.    Make a list of the segments

As I mention before, each event has its own special idiosyncrasies, but let’s take a look at the segments that are common to most events.

·     Finance

·     Facilities

·     Sponsorships

·     Donations

·     Set-up

·     Activities

·     Advertising and Publicity

·    Miscellaneous

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Event Development – Direction (Part One)

 Event Development – Direction (Part One)

The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. The last Blog started describing the “Commitment” section, now I want to move to the “Direction” section. This week’s Blog is the beginning of this section. As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!

Direction

Would you take an important trip without having a final destination planned? I doubt it. Holding a successful event is much the same. You need to know your ultimate goal. Like your trip, there are many methods and routes you can take, but the final destination is always the same. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve is absolutely essential to completing a successful event. Knowing the final destination tells you where you want to go lets you plan how to get there and finally, lets you reach your target quickly with minimum problems. Having frank and open discussions on the project’s ultimate goals, will allow all participants to take ownership and work together to make the project happen.

1.     The BIG Picture

Here is where it becomes fun… you get to dream. I don’t mean go to sleep and dream (although that might help some people), I mean let your mind flow freely and think what could be. Write down all of your ideas not matter how crazy some of them may seem. Motivational author, Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Grow Rich” had a great quote that I think really applies here. “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Take all the ideas you have written down and rank them in importance to the vision and success of your event. A picture should now be forming in your mind of how your event will look. Eventually, by thinking about and discussing your event it should become crystal clear. You should be able to see the event being set up, with everything in its proper place. You should be able to see the event completely set up and the see your attendees entering the facility and being amazed at what they see. You should be able to see and hear your guest enjoying themselves. You should be able to picture your fellow committee members smiling and congratulating event other on a job well. Sounds hokey? Believe that better you can visualize your event, the better the chance of awesome success! (To be continued)

Thursday, February 4, 2021

It Makes Me Wonder Why…

 Not often, but sometimes when I approach a crafter, artisan or artist at a festival to take a photo or to talk to them about their creations, I get turned down. This happens even after I explain to them what I am doing and that I am willing to promote them and their products for free! It makes me wonder why they would say No! The purpose of their being at a festival is to sell and promote their goods, isn’t it? If so, why would they refuse my help? I do know that some are afraid that I might be trying to steal their design or unique ideas, and that’s fair. However, I never take close up photos of products unless I receive permission or I am asked to by the creator. If they have a website, I even offer to link to their site (at no cost). So, what I am I doing wrong? Perhaps I am not explaining what I do properly. Perhaps they have been burnt by someone else who promised but didn’t deliver or lied about what they were doing. Perhaps they just don’t want to be promoted. I don’t know. It’s still a mystery to me! 

I am hoping someone, who would say “NO”, will read this article and tell me why. After all, my website, Ontario Visited (http://www.ontariovisited.ca/) is dedicated to promoting Ontario festivals and the vendors who support them!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Event Development (Part Eleven)

 Commitment (continued)

25.    Will there be enough volunteers available at event time?

That is why it’s important to determine the size of your event, the type of event and when it is going to be held. These will all be determining factors in your manpower (volunteers) plan. It will also be a determining factor on whether or not your group can or are willing to commit to the event you are contemplating. If the majority of your group isn’t willing to be there for the event or you don’t have enough people to man the event properly, then you may be finished before you start. Many times event day volunteers don’t come from the ranks of the organizers. Once you have determined your needs, it a good idea to put out the word… newspaper ad, schools, other groups, etc… that you will need help for your event.

26. What are the positive and negative features of your event?

Here’s the moment of truth. This question involves taking a critical look at the event you are planning… the positives and negatives. How critical can you be? You can’t just pass these over as though they didn’t matter. How can you expect your group to commit to something you have developed if you don’t take the process seriously? Seriously analyzing your event, warts and all, is the only way to move forward and continue to move forward to a successful conclusion. Here is your chance to shine.

27.  What are your contingency plans?

Risks are a part of any event, especially a new one. What are they for your event… heavy rains and/or winds… a snow storm… sicknesses… fire… etc. One of the questions your group has to ask you is, “What if…?” You have to be fully prepared to calm their fears and answer their questions… truthfully. Once you can you that, you are on your way… go ahead, ask for their COMMITMENT!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Event Development (Part Ten)

 23.    Can Insurance coverage be purchased and at a reasonable cost?

Don’t assume that insurance is readily available. With all the turmoil in the world today, insurers are becoming more and more selective on whom they will insure. This is especially true of insurance companies that usually insure normal types of risks. If you are turned down by your local broker, don’t give up. There are insurers who specialize in festivals and events. If your local broker can recommend one of these insurers to you, you can go onto the internet and investigate them for yourself. Finally, if you can’t find a suitable insurer or the cost is too prohibitive, you might want to approach your local municipal council and ask them if you can be included on their policy. They may or may not agree. If all else fails, try to find out why the coverage is not available or why it is so expensive. It may be just a matter of altering your plans to fit the insurance company’s mold. A word to the wise, whatever the outcome do not hold the event if insurance is not available. 

24.    How much volunteer time is needed?

You must realistically consider this question. Much of the success of your event will depend on having reliable volunteers available. Planning and executing a great event takes time and effort. Everyone should know what they are getting into BEFORE they commit. You don’t want someone to quit because the job was taking too much of their time. COMMITMENT means TRUST and TRUST means COMMITMENT and that’s the way to build a great, enthusiastic team. 


(To be continued)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Event Development (Part Nine)

 21.    Have you developed a preliminary Plan of Action and Budget?

To initiate meaningful discussions with your stakeholders, you must know where to you want to go, what you want to offer, how much it’s going to costs and if there is going to be a profit of a loss. This definitely a necessary step otherwise you and your group can’t make an educated decision. Make the effort and take the time to do it properly… and be realistic. The end result will be a committed volunteer group and a successful event.

22.    Is additional insurance coverage required?

If you a member of a group, you may already be insured. However, depending on the size and nature of your event, you may have to specifically add the insurance to your insurance policy. Each situation is different as are the companies who provide insurance. Before committing to an event it is always prudent to check with your insurance broker to see what your position is. In the case of a group or event that is not insured, GET INSURANCE. No matter how good a group you are or how careful you, “bad stuff” can happen. If it does and you are not insured, you and everyone around could lose everything, and I mean everything. Besides, most facilities and communities (if you are using one of their facilities) will both require proof general liability insurance, plus they will want their name added, as an assured, to your policy. (To be continued)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Event Development (Part Eight)

 Commitment (continued)

18.    Is the proposed facility large enough and can you afford it?

You may find what you think is the perfect location, but will it really accommodate all your plans? You must realistically think about what it you want to do and determine if the facility will work for you. Additionally, you must consider the cost of the facility plus any extra charges that might arise. If the facility plus cost are too high, it might adversely affect your event.

19.    Are there any other groups that could become involved?

Sometimes with larger events it’s a good idea to approach other groups to either become event partners or participants. This is a personal choice, but could work to your advantage if volunteers and/or money are in short supply. Many times, if a good coalition can be arranged, the resulting partnership can lead to a much superior event. Something to consider, but be wary off.

20.    What is the proposed duration of your event?

Just remember, the longer your event the more things you have to consider. Do you have enough time to plan? Is there enough manpower? Will enough people attend to make it worthwhile? If you are having vendors, will they be happy with the time they have to be there? Longer events can lead to greater success, because you can offer a lot more, but they can also lead to a lot more problems. Try to consider all the pros and cons before you make your final determination. Comprehensive research will go a long way in helping you make your final decision. (To be continued)