Event Planning: learn how to plan a great event
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You have a great idea for an event or festival. But where do you start? What does it actually mean to organise an event for 300 people? Let alone 3,000 people. When I worked as a university lecturer I asked my students to organise a community festival. The ideas were there. The creativity, the performers, the enthusiasm...it was all there. But they still had to talk to the permit and license officer. What do they expect to see from an event planner? Welcome to the workshop Event Planning.
If you want to organise an event or festival you need to submit an Event Management Plan to your license or permit officer. I will teach you what you need to include in your plan.
This 13+ hour workshop is divided in 13 sections in which you will learn everything you need to include in your Event Plan.
In this workshop you will learn about:
The workshop is a combination of tutorials, presentations, exercises and interviews with event and festival professionals. Interviews with event and festival professionals will provide you with fantastic insight into an amazing industry!
What other students say about this workshop
"The course is filled with great details and practical examples from real world. The interviews and the case study are really helpful. Overall, the course has an excellent structure and useful content." Anna Santiago
"I am an events coordinator and wedding planner. I found this course to be invaluable for organizing and enhancing my already successful businesses. It started out somewhat slow, but quickly moved on to relevant and timely instruction on what needs to be done, how to do it and how to work smarter, not harder. I absolutely loved this course and learned much new information from the instructor on topics I really had never thought about before. Thank you!" Susan Konopik
I have interviewed industry experts
Reading material such as the Event Safety Guide, the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds and more are incorporated into the curriculum.
The benefits of this workshop for you
At the end of the workshop you will understand what is expected of you in order to plan and produce a successful event or festival. You will be able to write an comprehensive Event Management Plan that complies with the rules and regulations set by your local authorities.
This workshop is for you if you are passionate about events and festivals, if you keep dreaming about organizing your own event, and for (aspiring) event producers!
1. Can I contact you if I have a question about the course content?
A. Absolutely! That's what a tutor is for. You can contact me via Jarno@eventtutor.com. My aim is to respond to your email as quick as possible.
2. Is this event planning workshop only useful if I want to plan a festival?
A. It is useful if you want to plan any type of event. The workshop covers a wide variety of subjects and will benefit any event planner. Truth be told though that I will teach you how to write an Event Management Plan. When you plan a wedding you most likely do not need to submit an event management plan to a license officer. If your event requires permits or licenses, than this workshop is for you!
3. I've seen other online courses that are more expensive. Why is this course so cheap?
A. I want to make sure the course is accessible to those who dream about organising their first event. I want to teach them what event planning entails. I do not want my students to be out of pocket.
How much is this workshop?
Only $50! Yes, let that sink in for a moment. 13 hours worth of content, interviews with event industry experts, and 1-to-1 tutorials on request. All of that for only $50.
I have created more workshops:
What are you waiting for?
Sign up today and you will learn how to plan, organise, and produce a successful event.
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|Section 1: Introduction to Event Planning & Production|
Welcome to the workshop Event Planning!
At the end of this workshop you will be able to:
1. write an effective Event Management Plan
2. understand the importance of each element of event planning and production
3. understand the relevance of researching each event component
You need to submit an event management plan when you apply for licenses and permits for your event or festival. Based on your event management plan your license or permit officer will grant you permission to organize your event.
Throughout this entire workshop you will learn what you need to do in order to write a comprehensive event management plan.
This workshop is for you if you are new to event planning. Or perhaps you already work in the event industry but you want to know more about how you can produce an effective Event Management Plan.
In this session you will get an overview of what you can expect in this workshop.
In this session I will walk you through the content of the workshop. Each subject has a place in this workshop. The overall aim is to make sure you keep all the different elements of event planning in mind when working on your event management plan.
You want to organize an event, but what is it? It seems like an obvious question but you need to think about it: what is the purpose of your event?
Some of the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. why do you want people to gather?
2. what makes your event so unique?
3. where do you want to organize your event?
4. when do you want to organize your event?
5. who is your potential audience?
6. who and what is the competition?
7. what are the costs involved?
8. what are the legal implications?
9. what are the rules and regulations set by local authorities?
A brief overview of the event industries. The event industries in the United Kingdom alone are expected to be worth £48 billion by 2020. But what is meant by 'event industries':
1. (music) festivals
2. sporting events
Globally consumer spending on events and festival is close to $300 billion.
Globally 31,000 exhibitions take place each year
Revenue for concert and event promotion was $31 billion in 2015
The different components of an event plan will be discussed and you will get a good overview of what subjects will be covered later on in the workshop.
The content page of your event plan should look like this:
Organization and team
Layout site plan
Health & safety plan
Before you begin you need to research and plan carefully!
Dede Flemming is the co-founder of The Do Lab, the company behind the festival Lightning in a Bottle. This 17,000 capacity arts & music festival, is organized each year in California, USA. Dede will explain how they create an effective Event Plan? Who do they work with in order to create an Event Plan?
The importance of an Event Plan
|Section 2: Researching your event|
Market research is extremely important when you plan your event. The key elements you need to research before you start organizing your event or festival are:
1. Your event ideas (your vision)
2. Choosing your venue (location)
3. Timing (dates)
4. Market (competition)
5. Audience (profiling)
Research your event and festival. Is there a market for your event? Is your potential audience waiting for your event or festival?
You have an event idea, but who would you like to come to your event? Researching your audience is important from a marketing point of view but also from a licensing point of view.
The elements that will be discussed in this session are:
1. Figuring out who your audience is (get your head around who they are)
2. How they consume media on a daily basis
3. Reaching out to your potential audience
There are many events out there, so how do you stand out?
To determine your Unique Selling Point (USP):
1. describe your event in less than 1 minute to a stranger
2. write down what you stand for, what your beliefs are, what the core purpose of your event is
Is your USP recognized and understood by your potential audience?
Dede Flemming is part of a team that organizes Lightning in a Bottle festival. Where do they start when organizing a festival? How do they channel their ideas into a vision.
Stefanie Jones has years of experience in organizing events and conferences. She was the event producer of the Club Health Conference. What are the first steps towards a great event or conference?
|Section 3: Marketing, promotion & social media|
Before marketing your event or festival you need to create a brand. A story speaks to your potential audience and to your potential sponsors and media partners. This goes back to the vision you have for your event. Can you create an emotional connection with your audience?
Throughout this section the focus will be on:
3. Press release
4. Social media
Do your research when creating your marketing plan! Check out other events and festivals; what do they do to market their event? Don't just copy them, be innovative, be new, be unique!
Marketing is important but how do you create a good marketing plan?
The 6 components that make a marketing plan are:
1. Your event story
3. A timeline of when you will promote your event
4. An overview of where you will promote (tools + geographic)
5. An overview of your sponsors and media partners
6. Overview of your advertising tools
Look at your marketing plan as a guide to 'how', 'when', and 'where' you want to promote your event or festival.
In a press release you 'sell' your event or festival to journalists. You provide them with key information about your event. The key elements of writing a successful press release:
1. Write your headline
2. Write a sub-headline (if you need one)
3. What is your event
4. Who will enjoy your event
5. Sell your event
6. Contact information
You have presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube, but rather than just consuming your content your audience wants to:
1. interact with it
2. participate in it
3. create content
4. add value to it
Your audience wants authenticity and trust. Can you give that to them?
You need to have a plan in place to make sure you optimize your presence on social media.
Britz Robins is in charge of social media for Shambhala Music Festival in British Columbia, Canada. She explains how the festival is using social media and how they interact with their audience throughout the year.
Marketing, promotion and social media
|Section 4: Budgeting & Sponsorship|
When creating a budget make sure you look at your:
3. event objectives
Cash flow = a statement which shows the amount of cash generated and used by an organization in a given period.
"Sponsorship spending on music tours, venues, and festivals is expected to total $1.7 billion in 2016" (Sponsorship.com, 2016).
What do you want from your sponsors:
money, services, goods, know-how, experience, promotion, publicity, ticket sales, image, branding.
Make sure your sponsor adds value to your event! What that added value is depends on your vision for your event and your event objectives.
A sponsor wants to have access to your audience. What can you give your sponsor?
1. consumer / audience reach
2. cross promotion
3. media buys
Make sure you know your audience!
Steven Haines, Executive Director at Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco, USA, explains what his organization does to reach their objectives. He discusses the challenges and opportunities of an admission free festival. Subjects such as fundraising and writing grant proposals will be discussed.
What is a cash flow?
|Section 5: Permits & Licenses, Procurement, and Insurance|
Dede Flemming, festival organizer of Lightning in a Bottle, explains the process of applying for permits for his festival.
Steven Haines, executive director of Stern Grove Festival, explains that the process of applying for some of the permits already starts 1,5 year in advance! The importance of planning and communication throughout your entire event production cycle becomes clear.
Who you buy from is incredibly important. Based on your research you will find out which suppliers, contractors and agencies you want to work with. And which ones you do not want to work with.
The key elements of a contract are:
1. The parties that enter the agreement
2. What is expected to be delivered
3. Payment details
4. Acceptance of parties
Make sure you seek legal advice if you are not sure about the contract you are about to sign!
From liability insurance to special event insurance. Are you covered?
1. Your insurance is current
2. Your contractors have insurance (and that their's is current)
3. You define who is liable
Remember: you, the event organizer, are responsible!
A question about insurances
|Section 6: Event production|
The key elements of event production are:
Planning is essential so allow yourself enough time. Be aware that even after you have done all the research and planning things can, and will, change. Leave room to pivot, be flexible, and be prepared for anything!
Look carefully at your timeline. When is your event? Work your way back from that date and plan what needs to be done in the run-up to your event.
Dede explains that production for next year's Lightning in a Bottle festival already starts whilst this year's festival is still happening. You will learn that planning and producing a music festival is a year-long job.
Steven explains when they start planning for next year's festival.
When organizing a event or festival there are many different roles to think of. Roles change per event and per festival. Here is a list that will give you some ideas of what to think of.
Dede tells about the team that creates Lightning in a Bottle and how the team grows from 20 to 1,000 people!
Steven explains that trust is key when working in a team. When you organize your own event or festival make sure you have people around you that are up for the job.
|Section 7: Choosing your venue|
When you choose your location you need to keep you audience in mind. Who is your audience and what do they expect from your event? When picking the right venue for your event you should think of the following with regards to your audience:
1. audience profile
2. audience behavior
3. audience personality
Is there a fit between the profile/behavior/personality of your audience and that of your event location?
A list of all the different items you should consider before you sign a contract with your venue. From the reputation of the venue to safety aspects that will affect your festival, we will discuss them all.
Overall you should:
1. Choose your location carefully
2. Research your location
3. Speak to your local license or permit officer
This is a case study. A beautiful location doesn't necessarily make for a great location. How logistics can make your event a nightmare. Remember:
1. Plan transportation to and from your festival
2. Research the different forms of transportation
3. Communicate with your audience and with your local authorities
Premises, location, venue...
|Section 8: Site survey|
We will discuss the importance of a site survey for your event.
A site survey is an assessment of all the aspects of an event that are likely to impact on the crowd safety management plan.
Why is it important?
Who should carry it out?
When should it be carried out?
Make sure to speak to your safety coordinator and your location manager when conducting a site survey.
A site survey happens at different times throughout your production phase. Make sure you visit your location several times. In this session we will discuss the different items you need to consider when conduction a site survey. Make sure you keep the following in mind when doing a site survey:
1. Site design
3. Staffing levels
4. Safety of everyone on site
|Lecture 36||8 pages|
An exercise. So you've chosen the venue for your event but how many tickets can you actually sell? A first look at the capacity of your location.
|Lecture 37||190 pages|
Reading material.The Event Safety Guide will be used as reading material for this workshop. You can access the Event Safety Guide free online. Be aware that this guide was published in 1999, therefore some items/regulations might have been updated and changed. It's always best to check with your local authorities on the current guidelines. There is also an American version of the Event Safety Guide. More than anything this guide will remind you of what you need to think of when organizing an event or festival.
|Lecture 38||232 pages|
Reading material. You can download this guide for free online. The Guide was produced in 2008 so be aware that there might have been changes and updates to some parts, and regulations, of the Guide. Nevertheless, it is a great guideline for getting your head around ingress and egress calculations. It is best to always check with your local authorities what the safe maximum capacity at your event or festival is. Speak to your local permit or license officer!
|Section 9: Site design|
Calculating your final capacity is important for any event or festival.
According to the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds the 5 factors you should consider when calculating you final capacity are:
1. The entry capacity
2. The holding capacity
3. The exit capacity
4. The emergency evacuation
5. The final capacity
We will look at the physical and safety factors, the sightlines, and the crowd flow at your event that determines the layout of your site.
What should you do when the circumstances unexpectatly change?
Go online a look for case studies of events or festivals that have dealt with an unexpected changes in weather. How did they deal with this? What were the consequences?
Remember lecture 36 "what is site design"? There are 5 factors you need to consider when calculating your final capacity. In this session we will discuss factor 3 and 4, the exit capacity and emergency evacuation.
You will calculate the amount of exits, and/or exit width, needed at your event.
You will understand the difference between egress and evacuation time.
Calculating your exit capacity
According to the Guide for Safety at Sports Grounds you have considered 4 factors. The 5th factor, your final capacity, is a combination of them all.
If there are too many people at your event or festival, it can potentially lead to unsafe situations. You, the event organizer, are responsible. Make sure the safety of your audience is a top priority at your event.
You can find case studies online. Case studies such as:
1. Love Parade 2010, Duisburg, Germany. 21 people died
2. Pan-African Music Festival (Fespam) 2011, Congo. 7 people died
Unfortunately there are many more examples. Attached is an analysis of the events that occurred during The Love Parade in Duisberg (Germany) on the 24th of July 2010. It is quite a hefty report but it will make your realise that you need to carefully at your event capacity.
Michelle Geddes explains what RFID technology is and how can it help with you getting your audience on your event site. What are the issues with RFID technology and what are the benefits?
|Section 10: Creating a risk assessment for your event|
A risk assessment is a document in which you describe the process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs.
A hazard = anything which has the potential to cause harm to people
A risk = the likelihood that the harm from a hazard is realized
Make sure you remember the 5 elements of a risk assessment.
|Quiz 9||1 question|
What are the 5 elements you need to think of when creating a risk assessment for your event?
|Lecture 45||154 pages|
In 2009 the Department of Health of the Government of Western Australia published their Guidelines for Concerts, Events And Organised Gatherings. More than anything this Guide will give you ideas of what you need to think of when organizing an event or festival. Keep in mind that rules and regulations are different per region and country. Always speak your local authorities when creating a risk assessment.
|Lecture 46||1 page|
This is an example of a risk assessment. Make sure you use a risk assessment format that is understood and recognized by you, your staff, your local permit or license officer, and any other local authorities.
|Section 11: Health & Safety at your event|
As an event producer you have responsibilities. You are responsible for the well-being of:
1. your audience
2. your staff
3. your volunteers
4. everyone on site
Make sure you discuss, and create, your health & safety plan with your:
1. safety coordinator
3. medical team
4. welfare team
5. local authorities
6. emergency services
Remember: you have a 'duty of care'. Duty of care = In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. (Wikipedia, 2016)
In this section an overview of health & safety aspects you should think of when organizing your event. From equipment used on site to the level of noise at your event.
Have you done everything possible to comply with health & safety regulations?
Make sure you speak to your:
And ask them for required documents (such as permits, licences, certificates, and health & safety documents). Communicate your risk assessment to them.
Create your health & safety plan in collaboration with your safety coordinator, your medical provider, your local authorities and local emergency services. Ask your local authorities what they need from you to make sure your event is a safe event.
An exercise in which you will calculate your crowd capacity. The answer will be given to you in the following lecture.
|The exercise of the previous lecture will be discussed.|
Stefanie Jones works for the Drugs Policy Alliance in New York, USA. She will discuss the use of drugs at your event and how you, the event producer, should deal with this. Preparation is key!
5 areas you need to think about with regards to drug use at your event or festival:
1. be informed of the law enforcement
2. a well informed medical team
3. educating your audience
4. chill out space / professionals on site who can help
5. safe setting
|Section 12: Your environmental plan|
Your environmental plan is more than just saying that you will recycle on site. Think of your:
If you want to include sustainable event management policies at your event you need to start by looking at your management philosophy. What do you want to achieve and why do you want to implement sustainable initiatives?
How is noise measured?
How will your audience arrive on site? Buses, trains, cars, taxis, bikes....a logistical challenge.
In order to create a good transport plan you should:
1. research where your audience comes from
2. look at the impact cars have on your infrastructure (roads, parking)
3. communicate with public transport authorities
4. create clear signage
5. think of the emergency services and how they will access your event site
You need to determine how many toilets you need at your event. Again you need to look at your audience profile, the location of your event, and you will have to look at the circumstances of your event.
The Event Safety Guide provides us with a guideline about the number of toilets we should have on site.
An exercise. Calculating the amount of toilets you need at your event based on your research.
Nick Algee is working as a consultant in the event and festival industry. He worked as the sustainability coordinator for Mumford and Sons 'Gentlemen of the Road-tour' in 2013. nick will discuss waste management at your event; what are the options? And what is an environmental policy according to Nick?
Environmental policy = the commitment of an organization towards sustainability and environmental issues.
A Greener Festival is an organization that assesses a festival's sustainable efforts. In 2014 A Greener Festival assessed 50 festivals worldwide. Lightning in a Bottle has won the 'Outstanding Greener Festival Award' several years in a row. Dede Flemming will give you several examples of what the festival does to be more sustainable.
An interview with Melissa McClary from Klean Kanteen, producer of sustainable products such as reusable water bottles and cups. This is not so much the point of view of the festival organizer but that of a supplier, a sponsor.
What is a vendor policy?
EXTRA: Interview with Sol Solutions, provider of solar panel generatorsPreview
|Section 13: Final advice|
|Throughout this workshop we have discussed the content of your event plan. I hope you feel inspired to go ahead and organize an amazing event or festival. In this section you will receive some final pience of advice from me, Lightning in a Bottle, Stern Grove Festival, and Stefanie Jones.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
When you want to organize an event or festival: Dede's advice!
What are the characteristics of a good event manager or event producer?
Steven will provide you with his thoughts on what the key characteristics are of a good event planner.
Thank you for taking this workshop. I hope you enjoyed it.
I have also created other workshops about event planning. You might want to check out:
1. Event Safety
2. Sustainable Event Management In 8 Easy Steps
I have also written an eBook which you can find on Amazon. It is called Event Management: Your Environmental Plan
For more information please visit www.eventtutor.com
Passionate about events!
I have over 15 years experience in events, festivals and education. From organizing events for 100 people to festivals for 30,000 people, I've done it.
In my career I have worked as an event manager, a researcher at music festivals, and as a university lecturer in event planning. I'm still very much active in the event industry:
* Coordinator for A Greener Festival
* Production family events
* Researcher at music festivals (Bonnaroo, Lightning in a Bottle, San Francisco Pride)
* Wedding planner
Sign up for my workshops and I will teach you what you need to do in order to plan and organize an event, wedding or festival.
The 5 workshops you should keep an eye out for, are:
1. How To Plan A Successful Event: An Easy Guide
2. Sustainable Event Management In 8 Easy Steps
3. Event Safety
4. Event Marketing
5. Wedding Planning
Sign up today!
A Greener Festival
I am a keen advocate of sustainable event management. Working with A Greener Festival, co-founded by one of my former students, is extremely insightful. As the coordinator for the Award Scheme in North America it is rewarding to see so many festivals (50 festivals world-wide in 2014) taking part in our award scheme.
San Francisco Pride
The San Francisco Pride weekend in 2013 attracted over 1 million people to the city. The events leading unto this weekend were plannend and produced by me. In 2014 I was the coordinator of the Economic Impact Study on behalf of SF Pride and the city of San Francisco. The aim of this research was to measure the economic impact this event has on the city and the wider community. In 2015 I coordinated a demographic study for SF Pride.
Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of the Music & Live Event Management course at Buckinghamshire New University in England. I was responsible for the content and the delivery of courses such as Event Planning & Management, Sustainable Event Management, Event Production, Business Economics, and Strategic Management in the Leisure Industry.
Most Inspirational Tutor Award
I am very proud that I was awarded the prestigious Most Inspirational Tutor-Award by the students of Buckinghamshire New University in 2010 and 2011.
The International Centre for Crowd Management & Security Studies
From 2006 until 2013 I was the project manager for the International Centre for Crowd Management and Security Studies, where I was responsible for planning and managing research projects at concerts and large scale festivals such as PinkPop in Holland, Creamfields in the UK, and Exit Festival in Serbia.
In 2010 my research at Exit Festival, a security and safety audit, got published in the book Case Studies in Crowd Management, Security and Business Continuity. Do check it out!
In 2015 I published my first eBook Event Management: Your Environmental Plan. This eBook covers the steps an event organization can take in order to make their event(s) more sustainable.
On behalf of Prof. Dr. G. Keith Still I spoke at the Club Health conference about the “Underlying Causes of Crowd Accidents”. Ever since my undergraduate study, I wrote my thesis about the health & safety aspects at Dance Valley Festival in the Netherlands, I’ve been interested in crowd behavior at events and festivals.
Safety plan CliniClowns Tour
I have researched and written a safety plan for staff and visitors of a theater production of CliniClowns, one of the Netherlands most respected charitable organizations. This theater production was aimed at people with multiple disabilities. A rewarding project to get involved with!
Personal Licence Holder in England
As a Personal Licence Holder in England and Wales, I can act as a designated premises supervisor for any business that sells or supplies alcohol. A great advantage when working at events and festivals.
Pit Training Certificate
The Certificate in Pit Training that I have received is recognized across the industry in the United Kingdom as the qualification required for staff working in the front of stage pit at concerts and festivals.
Research in the Netherlands
As the co-founder of the Entertainment Research Center in the Netherlands I worked with large scale music festivals on licensing and permits, health & safety, and crowd management research.