spring and summer seasons are the busiest times of the year
for us, and hopefully for you too. Warm weather blankets the
entire country and everyone wants to be outdoors in the sun
and fresh air.
makes a perfect setting for an outdoor event. But, be forewarned,
an outdoor event can easily be twice as difficult to organize
as an indoor one. And, don't assume an outdoor event will
cost less to produce than an indoor one. That is rarely the
on our experience and the feedback we get from clients, here
are our top tips to help assure a successful outdoor event:
Plan ahead, plan way ahead.
first step once you have decided on a date and location is
to obtain a permit. Make sure you're legal. Nothing will shut
you down quicker, and at the worst possible moment, than omitting
logistic issues. you may be faced with the challenge of a
remote location or a long-distance load-in of equipment, crew
and potentially guests, so it's wise to negotiate the event's
accessibility issues ahead of time. We strongly advise clients
to have a meeting on site, in advance of the event date, with
all the suppliers, so the space can be experienced from a
number of different perspectives; and all can benefit from
communal brainstorming. See how the equipment will be brought
in, specifically, where the trucks will park, and how they'll
load in. Then, determine where the guests will park, and how
they will get to the event site itself.
the site seems less accessible than planned, consider that
the outdoors are more flexible than an indoor venue, and you
may be able to alter the terrain to suit your needs.
the noise restrictions, fire safety codes and any other city
and state ordinances that may have the potential to shut down
your event. Some cities have safety ordinances which regulate
outdoor event safety issues, including festival seating, the
overselling of tickets, and public advisement of events. Check
with the local and state authorities near your proposed outdoor
event and/or the local police and fire departments for this
a backup plan. always have a backup shelter in mind in case
of bad weather, power interruption, or other outdoor hazards.
It can be an on-site building like a covered pavilion or even
a tent. Some of our more cautious clients even put a tentative
hold on nearby indoor event space; you'll pay for it, but
it could be an event-saver.
It can be like one big camping trip.
events are like one big camping trip. Unless you are utilizing
an existing outdoor facility, you'll be bringing in everything.
Power, food, communications, equipment, toilets, everything.
And when it's over, you be taking everything out
with you. Advance planning and coordination is crucial.
Don't skimp on the toilets during an outdoor event. There
is nothing that can ruin the impact of your event faster than
sub-par, or too few, restroom facilities. Remember to think
beyond the event dates in regards to hospitality facilities.
The 'loading in' and 'loading out' days of an outdoor event
require sanitation (and such other things as power, security,
etc.). Don't forget your crew needs proper facilities to get
the job done.
up power. When arranging for generator power, ask about having
standby generators on site in case of a breakdown. You can
usually negotiate this contingency for no, or very little,
The more remote the site, the more important communications
becomes. If your event will be located in hilly terrain, make
sure your walkie-talkies are powerful enough to compensate.
If your event will go into the night, plan not only to light
the event area but walkways, exit paths and parking areas
up. Everything that you bring in, must be taken out. Hire
a hauling firm to do the dirty work of cleaning up after the
event. Or you may be able to arrange trash hauling with the
local sanitation department.
Other things you may not have thought about.
Don't forget the pests. Count on having them,
and prepare to exterminate them ahead of time. Pests, especially
bees, can become both a nuisance and a liability. Make certain
that the time of spraying does not conflict with what other
vendors are doing and find out whether or not people can be
around when the spraying takes place. You should also ask
the exterminator how much time must elapse before food can
be safely put out, whether linens can be on the tables during
the spraying, and what the side effects of the various sprays
Body water is lost very quickly in hot weather. An adequate
water supply is extremely important. Drinking fountains should
be spread throughout the venue. For all day festival concerts,
a hosing of the crowd, especially in the packed area front
of stage, may be needed.
precautions are particularly important when an event is in
a remote outdoor location. Have at the very least a first-aid
kit on hand and keep a list of local hospitals and directions
to them from the event site handy. We like to see medical
services professionals on hand and depending on the event,
a full medical treatment center staffed by an M.D.
Monitor weather forecasts. Obvious, right? But surprisingly,
more outdoor events are cancelled due to bad weather than
for any other cause. When planning an outdoor event, give
the weather the respect it deserves. Start monitoring forecasts
as far in advance of your event as the weather services offer.
Ten day forecasts are easily obtainable from weather.com,
the wind. Wind is a frequent outdoor hazard. Assume everything
can blow over and anchor them accordingly. We see almost as
many "hit by blown object" claims as we do "slip
and fall" ones. (by charles turner )