Below is a suggested set of categories and action items to consider when creating your new event and festival.
Everything starts from the Planning process, which can be a little as a few weeks to years depending on the scope of the event and how much time you are afforded. The Organizing period is one where you’d like as much time as possible to ensure no detail is missed, but often you have to work quickly to make deadlines. Execution involves the actual event itself, from load-in to run of show to load-out, and careful attention must be paid to how long everyone truly needs to build the event as well to strike it. Generally speaking, the strike is faster but that may not always be the case. Post Event is where you collect feedback from guests, your team, the client, and anyone else involved and organize them into an After Action Report so you can understand what went well, what needs improvement, and what you would change if the event were to happen again.
- Coming up with various ideas and seeing which ones work best for all major stakeholders
- Deciding on the overall look / feel of the event, including event logo, color scheme, decor themes and styles
- See Creative Guide
- Taking a Site Visit (article coming soon)
- Objectives / Mission Statement
- Ensuring there is a well defined sense of how small or large the event needs to be in terms of production values, attendance, venue, and overall event footprint.
- Coming up with an proper event budget that itemizes all costs and shows any projected profit
- See Accounting Guide
- Building a properly staffed event is essential; often you will find that a mix of internal resources and outside contractors will give you the best mix of cost effectiveness, availability, and experience.
- See Staffing and Labor Guide for more details
- Acquiring sponsorships is not required for all events (i.e., paid client events, experiential marketing) but for those where it is, you will want to ensure you’ve got enough invested to make significant inroads with local and/or national sponsors.
- See Sponsorship Guide
- Other kinds of fundraising
- If the event is 501c(3) non-profit, there may be ways you can solicit donations, and/or do a crowd-funding project on a website like gofundme.com.
- Talent Buying
- You will want to strike a balance between acquiring the best talent available given your budget and appealing to your demographic.
- Note that it’s always best to go in with several options and not focus / hone in on a couple of artists; often their availability and asking price mean you may need to vet out several options before finding a good fit.
- See Talent Buying Guide for more details
- Production / Site Vendor Acquisition
- You will want to ensure you have a solid contract for them to sign that covers your liability and spells out exactly what you expect of all vendors.
- The normal strategy with vendor sourcing is to get at least three options per element so you know you’re getting the best value, and perhaps even play the vendors off each other to see who might be able to give you the best price at that time.
- Foot / Art / Bar Vendor Acquisition
- You will want consider various factors in choosing your food & beverage needs – how many people are expected, what type of crowd is coming out, what is the weather going to be like, and so on.
- For food vendors, usually you’ll want a ratio of 2 or 3 entree vendors to 1 dessert or snack vendors, and ideally you’ll have them serve only 1-3 items that are quickly and easily turned around to minimize lines.
- See Food / Art Guide
- Setting the Schedule
- Production Timeline
- Creating various Production (Build / Strike) timelines for everyone to understand what needs to happen when
- See Production Guide
- Stage Schedule
- Run of Show / Minute by Minute
- Determine the amount and type of print ads, commercials, giveaways, contests, raffles, and other marketing strategies you wish to use
- Determine your social media strategy
- See Marketing Guide
- Run of show needs / staff
- Permits / Insurance / Legal
- Feedback from team members
- Ask quickly, within a week, so it’s fresh in their minds
- Closing up accounting / bookkeeping
- Start planning for next year
- Decide on what to keep, what to change
- Locking in contracts with the client, preferred vendors, key staff as soon as possible
The Ultimate Goal in Event Planning – Trying to Never Have to Say or Hear this Phrase: