Event planning can be stressful when done the wrong way, and sometimes stressful even when doing all the right steps. It is no surprise to us that Forbes listed “Event Coordinators” as the number 5th most stressful job for 2016, due to the number of logistics involved and things that could go wrong at any moment.
A single mistake can cause major setbacks and jeopardize your name or worse — your brand name. That is why it is essential to keep your ducks in a row and to know your basics before throwing your first party. These are tips based on experience curating events of all sizes and shapes for the better part of the last decade, ranging from club nights to festivals and warehouse parties to private events.
Give yourself enough time to plan the event. Usually we get too pumped up when planning due to the adrenaline rush caused by too much excitement that we tend to be impulsive and set the event date too soon. Make sure to give yourself enough time allowance. Never bite off more than you can chew.
Often times promoters find themselves in a pickle: to go ahead with an event despite things not falling into place as they should, or to push back the date to ensure everything is smooth sailing? It is absolutely okay to fast track things as long as you make sure to go over every detail with a fine-tooth comb, but if you’re going to be short on time, short on preparation and are effectively reducing your chance of success then consider re-scheduling.
If we have three far reaching K’s on how to get a feedback on your track/mix, we have three important W’s when it comes to planning your first event. Let us explain each one of them:
What kind of an party are you throwing? Will it be indoors or outdoors? What do you intend to achieve? What genre of music are you featuring? These are some of the things you should know when planning your first event; you need to have a definite objective in mind.
Are you planning your party at an established and legitimate venue, or are you going underground? What permits do you need and what is the timeframe to get them from the needed local officials? These are all crucial points to consider.
Who is your target audience? Who can help with planning your first event? These are basic but imperative questions. You have to know your market in order to carry out the planning smoothly and appropriately. While there are plenty of people who enjoy multiple genres of electronic music, cities and markets have completely different audiences with completely different genre preferences. For example, Chicago is predictably heavy on house music, with a smaller percentage of underground music fans going to techno shows as a comparison. While that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t throw a techno event, it means you should adequately consider your target audience and size when planning things.
Furthermore, you need people onboard to help you out. No matter how easy event-planning may look, you will need help. You cannot handle it all. The number of staff needed is based on how big the event is so make sure you have a goal set in mind.
Look for people you can trust and are capable to handle the jobs that will be assigned to them. You may need promoters, audio and visual technicians, bartenders, marketing staff, street team or even just friends who are willing to lend a hand where needed. Staffing is key to ensure your event goes smoothly.
Where will you throw your party? Don’t just book any available space, you have to look for the right place! Will this place suit the vibe of your party? Always consider your market and the kind of event you’re holding. A disco party in a colorful room works, as does techno in a dimly lit warehouse-like space.
Some important things to consider are:
When dealing with the three essential W’s, you have to set realistic goals. Always take into consideration your allocated budget. Don’t be an eager beaver who’ll foolishly plan an unattainable event.
Since you already have an event idea in mind, it’s time to deal with minor but nonetheless important details. Will you be serving food? If so, what kind of food? What kind of drinks will be available? Will you have your event sponsored by a particular company? How will you decorate the venue? Never ignore these minor details when planning your first event.
Some parties do not need additional and often superfluous details, while others do. Sometimes it’s the little extra steps that you take that stand out in the memory of your attendees.
Now that you have a structured scheme for your event, put it in writing. Use business plans and spread sheets to keep expenditures organized, visible and under control. Although nightlife is… well nightlife, it is imperative that you treat your passion as a business and carry things out exactly like one. Demand things in writing, ask for receipts, sign contracts, communicate in a business-like manner and be efficient in getting all the steps on your plan completed in a timely manner.
Again, acknowledge the type of event you’re hosting and organize your promotion accordingly. Branding is everything, and in today’s social age using videos, gifs, memes and social media is key.
Promote! Promote! Promote! Use every social media platform at your disposal but do not limit yourself to just that. You should considering setting a budget aside for print advertisement and using flyers to further market your party. Think outside the box and do more than just Facebook event invites and a few posts.
Your business plan needs to account for one very last but extremely crucial point: promoters rarely make money on their first event. While it does happen, it is often wiser to go into your investment with plans that stretch beyond a debut party. You need to be aware of that going in financially, but also mentally. Work out best case scenarios but also keep your worst case option in mind as well as your break-even point. Adjust your plan accordingly as your first event date nears and you have a better idea of how ticket sales and attendance are doing.
If you go all-in with your first party and automatically assume you will make money you could be in for a mental loss that is hard to recover from. Realize that even festivals often lose money or just about break even in their first, second or even third attempt. Promoters’ business plans are built in such a way that they plan long ahead knowing that it takes time to build a brand and trust in that brand. You never know though, you may get lucky and find yourself profiting from the first one!
These are just some of the things you should know when planning your first event. Hopefully, these will help you on carrying a well-organized and thought out event. Not everything will go as planned. There will always be little mishaps along the way. Don’t worry and never stress out. Keep your calm and react decisively and effectively — constantly think on your feet!
It is ok to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Take notes on everything and especially on what worked and what didn’t. Mistakes have the power to turn things into something better, especially when you’ve given yourself the space to recover from them by planning ahead for the possibility of a first-event loss and subsequent events to learn from.
Recognize your setbacks and use them as comebacks to improve your next event!
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