We’ve all experienced some great events in our lifetime. For most of those events, you as an attendee have had expectations of what the event would be like from the moment you first heard about it. These expectations slowly build as you get closer to the date or start taking actions like purchasing tickets, making dinner reservations, planning how to get there and so on. In fact, just about everyone who has ever attended an event has in some way planned their part of the event experience.
Being the promoter of an event (the person in charge of the event) is not really all that much different. The main difference is that you are not only planning your experience, but the experience of everyone who attends the event from those who purchase the tickets to the djs, vjs, and sound techs. You also have the ”unfortunate” task of handling the money and all of the responsibility as well. It can be both a fun and stressful job. There also doesn’t seem to be a simple guide on how to fulfill this role on the Internet. And that is one reason why we’re focusing on events here at Tastyfresh.com right now.
Before we get into the nitty gritty how-to’s of throwing events in the next few articles, let me quickly share with you some things about expectations.
The myth of the huge party
Nobody wants to have an unsuccessful event. The obvious way to gauge an events success is by how many people actually showed up. The problem is that we often set our expectations too high. For the past 20 years, the average reoccurring Christian event has only drawn in 100-150 people. Only at festivals do you see more than that.
What this means is that if your first event attracted anywhere between 75-100, you did really well. If you pulled in 60-74, you still did pretty good. Don’t get focused on the numbers though, focus instead on the finances. You will know if your event is a success of those who came had fun, the bills got paid, nothing went horribly wrong and you have enough cash left over to start work on the next event.
Don’t panic. Things will go wrong.
You read that right. Don’t panic. Things will go wrong. Another way to out it is ”No battle plan survives its first engagement with the enemy”. I believe that was said by General Norman Schwartzkopf during the first gulf war. That statement is paramount of your event’s success though. Always keep a couple hundred bucks in your back pocket for unexpected, last minute issues that will need to be resolved. Always make sure that you have people on your event team who can be trusted to not only improvise on very little time and money, but also who you can turn loose on a problem so that you can focus on other issues. Things that can and will go wrong include security issues, stage/lighting issues and seemingly minor issues such as wristbands or merch sales.
It is probably more important to make sure that your team (djs, vjs, sound techs, security and hospitality people) enjoy the show than those paying.
If you have a good team working for you, you will want to keep that team working for you. Freaking out and making their lives miserable when something is going wrong will not make them happy. They are there to do a job just like you. They are also supposed to be professionals. If they truly are professionals, then yelling at them will only slow them down when it comes to fixing a problem. Your event attendees are important, but when the staff is having a good time, the attendees will to. The staff goes a long way insetting the vibe for the night.
There’s always next time.
That’s really a half truth, but it’s one you should live by. You will never throw an event where you feel it was 100% the way you envisioned it. You can get close though. The key thing to remember is that people will come back if they had a good time and they will want not just more of the same, but they’ll want it with a twist. It’s a constant game of one-up-manship. Not only that, but if you are not challenged and excited in some way by each event you throw, then you will quickly burn yourself out.
God may have told you to throw the event, but don’t stop listening.
It’s exciting to hear that God has a plan for you. You see this time and time again in the Bible. I have zero doubt that God maybe calling some of you to throw an event. Let me caution you though. It is very easy to get lost in the ”God told me to do this” argument and forget about other things God may be telling you like ”when” and ”where” and of course ”how”. He may want you to throw a huge event with 2,000 attendees, but when you have never done one before, did God really mean for it to be your first event? There are plenty of examples in the Bible where a strong follower of God was told he would do something or was given a vision about something and then waited years before God allowed it to come true in their lives. All I am saying is be aware of these things. It’s ok to be skeptical. Gideon was. Thomas was. That didn’t make either of them smaller in God’s eye.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope that you are finding this series useful. We’ll cover more issues related to throwing events in the coming weeks including fund raising, budgeting, locating a venue, picking out a sound and lights team and more. Until then… Peace.