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On-Site Event Management.

Andy Robertson

Your event planning has been impeccable and the first day of your event arrives but this is not time to sit back and rest on your laurels. Make sure you are prepared for any eventuality and expect the unexpected. What exactly can you do to mitigate potential disasters? 


However you do your event planning and no matter how prepared you are there is always something that can give you problems. There is no substitute for physically being on-site so that you can manage any issues first hand. You should be familiar with all schedules and have the contact details to hand of all key personnel. Early in the day hold a briefing session for all on-site staff and where possible include stewards, volunteers, venue staff including F&B managers, contractors and any technical engineering crew. Are there any last-minute changes that need to be communicated? What are the knock on effects of any changes to your meticulous planning? Are the attendance numbers accurate and up to date, and what impact does this have on venue layout and crowd marshaling. 

After you complete your early morning briefing session make sure you schedule another update session an hour or so before the start of your event. You should now be using your time to check in with artists and their managers, have they arrived at their designated accommodation and are their personal requirements being met? Check in with vendors that catering supplies are being delivered as per your schedule, are vendors happy with their pitch location for example. Don’t forget to speak with technical sound and lighting engineers that everything works and that sound checks were completed (ideally the day before).  

When you are within an hour or so of the event start have your pre-event staff briefing and update everyone about the current status and any changes that need to be made. Make sure you have a policy on crowd control, it is not unusual to find ticket holders drunk from a few pre-event drinks, make sure your stewards and marshals know how to deal with difficult people and at what point troublemakers need to be ejected.  

As your event opens make sure you monitor every aspect and physically check with all staff if possible so that you can make changes on the fly. Are people coming through the correct entrance? Make changes if necessary and inform marshals and stewards to direct people to the correct entrance as well as creating makeshift signs.  

Once the event finishes your work is not complete, ensure that contractors and vendors know when they can gain access to breakdown stages, equipment and seating etc.  

You can minimise any on-site issues with great planning, but make sure you have shared contact details and schedules. Using a software solution like FestivalPro can help manage your contact details and schedules with key people to ensure everyone has access to pertinent information. It won't necessarily help you manage aspects on-site but it will ensure everyone is as prepared as possible. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. Using a system like this can help with you being prepared.  

Photo by Zachary Staines from StockSnap

Andy Robertson
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