What I've Learned in My First Year Producing Events Part 3: Preparation and Faith
Producing events requires both planning and the faith that disaster won't strike
I've learned a fair amount the last year organizing, hosting, and producing music-related events.
The many moving parts that come with a successful production, specifically a house show at your home, can challenge your cool-headedness and make you question whether its worth the hassle. Band cancellations, equipment malfunctions, weather concerns, and threats of the authorities halting your show are just a few of the major ways your dream production can quickly develop into the show-from-hell.
Organizing humans for the purposes of a DIY mini-music festival involves a certain degree of chaos orchestration and disaster-ballet. You may have spent hours practicing for the moment, but a successful house show can ultimately depend upon factors out of your control.
I've never been a religious person, but I'm now acutely aware of what it means to have faith
Organizing a large group of humans together in one place is enough to cement the concept of faith firmly in your mind as a relevant, useful idea. If you're willing to dip your toes into the often-chaotic realm of event production, you will almost certainly need faith to reduce your sense of anxiety.
Faith that the acts will show up in a timely manner. Faith that enough people will show up to offer a presentable audience for the talent on-stage. Faith that your neighbors are still ok with you testing the limits of their goodwill. Faith that no seedy characters will show up to cause havoc in the midst of the day's festivities.
Orchestrating a large event involves a certain amount of hope, trust, and confidence that all of the moving parts will play their role seamlessly, without any major awkward hitches or painful gaps in the flow of the event. There are no guarantees when coordinating people together, especially on a volunteer basis and with not a ton of experience to reassure you of success.
But to be clear: faith alone won't make an event successful
Having faith is a needed component to maintaining your sanity when putting together a large production, but relying on faith and hope alone is a recipe for last-minute scrambling and flirting with epic disaster. As someone who has dealt with organization issues in my personal life, I am now a firm believer in the power of organization as your best friend, specifically in an event production context.
You need to provide clear communication with all parties involved, including what is expected from them as either a performer or a member of the production team. The sooner you begin this dialogue, the better, as the last thing you want to have to juggle are last-minute scheduling conflicts resulting from your last-minute messages about how the event will take place.
Your success will often be defined by your proactivity and subsequent responsiveness in the face of unplanned, unforeseen circumstances. Maybe your sound guy is notorious for being late, requiring you to be a little more forthright and somewhat nagging in order to ensure their timeliness. Or perhaps you have a food vendor that needs a specific timeframe in order to properly prep their grub for the festivities.
Proactive planning will give you a needed sense of confidence in the face of uncertainty. Having emergency plans for things such as severe weather (if your event is outside), equipment failure, or any other obstacles which may present themselves is key to reducing your burden. A backup plan, if anything, allows you not to completely panic if/when something does go wrong. You can't plan for every scenario, but a small amount of forethought into what can become a problem will go a long way.
Surround Yourself with a Solid Team
One of the things that has been most beneficial to me during my foray into the house show production arena is having a solid core group of people to rely on. These are the people you can absolutely count on for support, whether it's assisting with setup, working the bar, helping with sound, taking on hosting duties when needed, and anything else that allows you to not have literally every element of the production on your shoulders.
I don't necessarily have things strictly designated within my core group of team members, but I know who I can count on to help the production go smoothly. In my case, it happens to be my fiance, my roommates, and a few close friends who are always down to help.
Beyond your close inner-circle, having a reliable and trustworthy group of friends to fill out the unstated role of keeping your place safe and secure is invaluable. Good friends are your eyes and ears when you can't be present, ensuring a thief doesn't decide to raid your room or to prevent the unlikely occurrence of a stranger walking onto your property with poor intentions.
You may be the conductor of the show, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't delegate whenever possible. A successful house show can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding house parties you can throw, but it's not without a bit of planning, preparation, flexibility, and a tad bit of sheer luck.
All uncredited pictures from pixabay.com or my personal account
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