As festival season is well under way my thoughts turned to the more budget end of the festival market – local carnivals and community events. But I here you say aren’t carnivals a thing of the past, something you were taken too when you were a child. So who wants community events? I do and I am not alone
With our (event managers and our clients) obsession to produce ever more spectacular events: because that’s what everyone expects (nee demands) and because we live in a multi-sensory, multi-visual world, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that community events, which make up the vast majority of our events programme still have a really important role to play. I would argue that they are more important than any multi-million pound spectacular. Why? Because your big bucks ticket only ever buys you a seat at the event – as a spectator. Community events more often than not allow us to be a participant, to be involved. I suspect too that the 1000’s of volunteers who give up their time freely to organise these events perhaps get a greater sense of achievement of a job well done than event professionals like myself. Another point worth noting is that these events are run on amounts of money you and I may routinely waste on the corporate food bill!
So, I say – long live the Carnival! I know they are really tough to organise and you may get let down at the last moment…sounds familiar? But in my experience when somebody or a group of enthusiasts really drives the process forward other people, clubs, associations really do want to become involved – it’s about ‘spreading infectious enthusiasm’. On a recent family holiday to Alderney (the northern most Channel Island) I was reminded about what it’s all about. Alderney Week is put together with just a small amount of money and a sack full creativity and enthusiasm. These guys organise something truly memorable every year and in fact it’s the non-participants who are conspicuous by their absence.
Alderney Week consists of a colossal 50+ events in 8 days. That’s a lot going on. Particular highlights for me are the Torchlight procession, Fashion show, Alderneys Got Talent, Open Air Theatre, Daft Raft race, Sandcastle Competition, Waiter / Waitresses Wheel Barrow Race to name but a few! There literally is something for everyone and that’s the beauty of it. Everyone can find something they can take part in, watch and / or organise.
I know we are all busy people but I implore you to support your local events. They may not be the biggest, brightest or possibly the most beautiful, but I am often very pleasantly surprised by what I see, so go along to these fetes, parades, talks, shows, fun days…they need your support and your pounds! And if you are the person that makes these events happens: I say thank you – you’re doing a great job.
And to the learning. The majority of event managers do not operate in the world of big budget events. I’ve worked in both worlds. Creativity is everything. Try a bit of what I call ‘creativity thinking without boundaries’ think what if we had a big budget, torn up the rule book… what could we do. As for every ‘big ticket item’ on your event wish list, there is always a cheaper solution but you need to look for it. The simplest ideas often deliver the greatest return. On the creativity front – I have my moments but it is not one of my natural skill sets so I have to work on it. I have for some time now made a point of reading the industry press: attend anything and every event I can. I visit galleries, museums and pitch up at industry led seminars. Anything that helps me see what’s possible.
Remember event audiences the world over just want to have a good time. So our job is to make it happen, to make them smile, to teach them something, let them be part of something special, to allow them to play ….simple?
Long live community events – they Rock!
Want to the ‘how to’ of creating great public events and festivals? Check out my How to deliver outstanding major events and festivals event management course
About The Event Expert
The Event Expert specialises in helping individuals and teams design, plan and deliver their own high quality, exciting and enjoyable events.
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