Hulu and Netflix just released their documentaries on the Fyre Festival. As an event producer, it was hard to watch. I’ve been in some stressful event situations, but nothing like that. The nervous laughter from some of those being interviewed was telling. They’re obviously still haunted by the experience.
It’s a new year. It’s a fresh start. Yes, planning never really ends for major events, but the holidays provide a short and necessary break. Even if it means not having as many meetings to attend or emails to respond to.
It wasn’t that long ago most business was conducted via mail and phone. I remember what a big deal the fax machine used to be. To see computers and then mobile phones become such an integral part of our lives has really been something.
I’m working on an event and finally got my hands on the print out of the architectural drawings of the site. The last edits to the site drawings were made in September 2002. Not that long ago, right? I asked the company that produced the drawing to send me a PDF. This was their response:
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a little time to review my former blog posts. I couldn’t help but look to see what my most popular post was. It was the Event Planner’s Survival Bin which was more of a list than a blog.
I thought it was odd and looked to see if time of year, date posted, and/or time posted had somehow impacted the popularity of a given post. I could find no correlation.
Sometimes you must start over. It can be exhausting, but is there another choice? If you believe in what you’re doing, you must step back, re-assess the situation, take a deep breath, and try another path. There is always another path.
Many people ask me how I start events and what is the secret to being successful. It’s simple. You must start. Once you start, you keep trying. You will face obstacles and failure. You can’t worry about the other obstacles that are coming or might happen. You just need to figure out the one right in front of you. Then the next. Then the next.
Yesterday was setup day for Brandemonium; a branding and marketing conference I produce. We had a steady stream of volunteers helping sort badges and stuff giveaway bags. The conversation varied from whimsical to political, but it was always polite.
It was interesting to meet everyone. Some of them have volunteered at just about every event I’ve done. For others, it was a first time. It was a very diverse group in every way imaginable with only one consistent theme: They all worked happily and diligently.
Starting anything new is hard. One reason is you must paint the picture, but not everyone can see. What do I mean by this? Just try sitting in a meeting with potential investors regarding an esports event. Many potential investors that can throw money at an idea don’t have time to play – or have never played – video games. I can show stats about market size, growth, and opportunity, but I still hear the same objection over and over:
“I don’t get it. Who would want to watch someone play video games?”
Millennials want experiences as opposed to stuff. The best experiences are live events. The best content for social media comes from live events. (The best way to reach Millennials is with social media.) This is why I’m bullish on events. Sure, some festivals are failing, but the opportunity for niche events is huge. I see this in the types of companies using DiaZam. There are the usual suspects - like event planners - but marketing and ad agencies are signing up as well.
Reporter: This was the first year for the festival, correct?
Reporter: Are you in the black?
What I want to say: It’s none of your f***ing business.
What I actually say: We had a great first year.
For obvious reasons, event security is becoming a priority for event planners. When I launched Bunbury in 2012, security was straight forward. The festival had a mix of police, uniform security, and t-shirt security at the stages. They kept an eye on the perimeter and credentials made sure attendees did not get backstage.
We’re not in Kansas anymore.