Problem Solver - August 2008
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Maximizing Special Event Impact

Parks and recreation facilities of all kinds commonly hold special events. They help build community and offer a fun way for people to gather and celebrate, whether it's a 4th of July fireworks show, a fall festival with live music and games, or the park district theater troupe's latest production. But putting on special events takes a lot of planning, and administrators need ways to boost attendance and ensure people are satisfied once they arrive. A mobile stage offers a perfect solution for flexibly increasing your event programming capabilities.

Q: Why should we purchase a mobile stage?

A: Just like real estate, event programming all comes down to location, location, location. To reach as many people as possible, you need to have a flexible venue that can adapt to a variety of events.

Rather than a fixed location like a permanent band shell, a mobile stage can travel around your community, reaching a wider demographic swath and even serving multiple events throughout a single day. It can complement and enhance other events at their own locations.

A mobile stage also provides an easy way to expand, enlarge or modify an existing event. For example, adding a concert stage or emcee location to a charity event is a smart choice. Combining events can attract a wider range of audience members as well.

Safety is another important reason to consider a mobile stage, particularly if you have an older stage that is rickety and in disrepair. And a mobile stage can also save direct labor costs when compared with more time-intensive alternatives.

Q: We're concerned about our budget. How much will a mobile stage cost, and how can we raise the funds?

A: The price of a mobile stage can range from $85,000 to $125,000, depending on the selected options. Communities have been creative in underwriting that expense. Just as a mobile stage increases programming options, it also offers greater advertising and sponsorship potential. Its mobility offers potential sponsors greater "bang for their bucks" and increased visibility.

Corporate sponsors are attracted by the mobile stage's visibility. This may help increase their interest in helping underwrite special events in exchange for recognition. This recognition can come in the form of banners and signs on site, as well as mentions in programs, on T-shirts and in other promotional materials.

Service organizations like a Rotary or Lion's Club may also be willing to help support the investment in a community asset like a mobile stage.

Once you've purchased your stage, you can reap the rewards of the investment through rental income, as well. Mobility means it's available to rent to nearby communities or other organizations. However, most communities that rent out their mobile stages insist on sending along their own crew. This helps safeguard the investment. Be sure to include the labor cost when determining your rental fees.

Q: With current economic uncertainties, our community is nervous about making this investment. Shouldn't we save our big investments for more stable times?

A: While it might seem counterintuitive, there are reasons why challenging economic times make a mobile stage an even better idea. For reducing operational costs, a mobile stage can mean labor savings and improved safety for staff who work with the unit, cutting man hours (often paid at overtime rates) while reducing the risk of work-related injury.

A mobile stage with built-in lights and sound can actually lower your event costs because you won't need to hire production companies to handle these accessories. Over the long run, a mobile stage costs less than erecting scaffolding-style temporary stages.

When the costs of basics like food and gas are rising, more people in your community are looking for affordable family entertainment options close to home. A mobile stage can help reach those people. For larger communities that cover many square miles, you may also have people who choose not to travel to attend events in other areas of the city, as a way to save gas. A mobile stage brings the entertainment and programming to them—almost to their back yard.

Wenger Corp.:
800-4WENGER (493-6437)