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Feature Article - September 2017

The Fundamentals of Fun

Events & Festivals Bring Attention & Business to Communities

By Deborah L. Vence


The Nuts and Bolts

When it comes to the fundamentals of putting on a festival, "effective fundraising is probably the most essential piece of the puzzle," Petroff said.

"There are a lot of elements that contribute to it," he said. "First, is to consider your audience. Is the purpose for families with children, or are you focused on catering to adults only? Your audience will determine the location and what types of entertainment and activities may be offered. Choose a theme or creative name for your event to add appeal to your marketing."

Next, food is one of the most profitable aspects, so you'll want to make sure you are well equipped with items that are quick-serve and popular.

"If purchasing food equipment is not optimal, you have the option to rent," Petroff said. "And, don't neglect the essentials like parking, electrical power, tables and chairs, etc. In general, you may want to speak with other event planners or visit similar types of events to see what works well and what you'd do differently. Overall, make sure you give yourself enough time to properly plan and prepare; many suggest beginning a year or more in advance."

Planning also is key to ensure a festival's success.

For staging, as an example, you need a site map, audience flow, production requirements, safety plans (weather monitoring, evacuation plan, emergency services and execution plan).

You need to define your needs, too. For example, consider stage size, attendance, frequency and scope of your event, what it will be used for and what expertise your team has. Mounting a stage requires very specific expertise, and the transmission of that knowledge is not easy. Such elements will define the training and support you require, according to information from Delage's company.

In addition, you need to consider sponsorship, catering, bands, travel and promotion, he said.

Spectator Seating

Good seating structure also is important to putting on a successful festival, and can bring communities together.

"Festival venues benefit from reliable bleachers or grandstands by providing comfortable viewing for attendees, making them stay longer to enjoy the festivities offered," said Georgia Tippens, marketing manager, surfacing and seating, for a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based playground and recreation equipment supplier.

If your community is looking to create a venue with seating, she said, there are a few answers that you need before you start.

"How many people do you plan to accommodate? Does the crowd need to be elevated to view the action or stage? How many different ways can this structure be used? Does the structure need to be permanent or do you want to be able to move it? Once these basic questions are answered, site dimensions, building codes, accessibility, understructure, to name a few, should be discussed and determined with the help of a bleacher and grandstand expert," Tippens said.

The possibilities for festival seating are endless.

"Structures are available for small groups of 20 to large crowds of thousands. Small crowd seating that is portable can be an option if your location is used for more than one event. Standard bleachers are generally two to 10 rows and can be various lengths depending on your available space and seating capacity needs," she explained.

"Large-scale grandstands can be constructed to accommodate events or shows that will bring in more viewers. Available options include ADA-accessible design, VIP chairs and benches for added comfort, or widened seat and foot planks for more spectator space," she added.

For bleachers and grandstands, prices range based on size, location and design.

"Communities can spend less money by purchasing smaller, standard design bleachers such as a five-row to 15-foot model," she said. "Standard bleachers can range in size and price. And spending generally increases with seating capacity, customization and special accommodations. Additional budget considerations include site preparations, installation and inspections."