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event management

Parklife Dates Announced, Internships Due

A few days ago the 2009 dates for the music festival tour Parklife were released by Sydney events company Fuzzy. Hurrah!  So the dates for this winning festival are:

  • Saturday 26th September – Brisbane
  • Sunday 27th September – Perth
  • Saturday 3rd October – Melbourne
  • Sunday 4th October – Sydney
  • Monday 5th October – Adelaide

You can find more info on each on and their retrospective Facebook event pages (of course) here. As far as the acts are concerned; there has been some comment around the place that Canadian electro duo MSTRKRFT and the UK's Lady Sovereign will be touring. I'll report back with an official list when it arises.

Also, if you're a Sydney student looking to get some hours up on your degree, why not apply for a Parklife Internship? There are roles available in event management, PR, marketing, touring, HR and production. I would apply immediately, but I'm neither in Sydney or a student. Shame! You'd best hurry along though; applications are due this coming Monday, 25th of May.

21st Birthday Venue Hunting 101

Goldfish Cocktails

A mate's 21st birthday party is coming up late June and she's a tad frazzled over how to go about finding a venue amongst the diamonds of possibilities in Brisbane. So I made this list!

  1. Determine your budget. Are your parents paying? Awesome! Now pay attention to this fact and ensure they're part of the decision-making process.
  2. List possible venues. It's all about your favourite places to be and favourite people to be around, so think about the crowd you're inviting and the suitability of the venue. I had my 21st last July at The Plough Inn, Southbank because I was inviting college friends, new friends, old friends and family members. The relaxed atmosphere was great for comfortable discussions and the service was superb. I loved it! Other cute 21sts I've attended have been at house parties, alleyway cocktail bars and more. Sure, be imaginative; but match your guests, not vice versa.
  3. E-mail for quotes. Take note of how quickly they can return the details. Don't feel compelled to do business with someone you do not like, but this depends on how much you'd love to party at their establishment.
  4. Shortlist. Try to get it down to about three, but this depends on how much time you have on your hands to look around.
  5. Venue test run. Go for a drink, meal, dance or whatever activity you're planning for your big gig. The aim here is to get a feel for the atmosphere. You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on now, would you?
  6. Formal visit. Chat to the functions manager about what you require, who will attend, any special needs you have. Be specific and they'll be able to offer you better service.
  7. Negotiate. Do feel free to state that another venue is willing to do XYZ for a better price. If they want your business, they will do their best to accommodate. And don't forget to check with the parents.
  8. Confirm! In writing of course. Pay all deposits, etc as soon as possible too.

So that's the planning done of seeking a neat party venue. One last thing is to thank them after your 21st for their hospitality and perhaps even leave them a testimonial which they can use later on. But I know you'll all do that because you're a smashing party host!

Happy hunting!

Liveblogging Etiquette

Just a quick one:

  • I suggest sitting to the back of the room if you are using a notebook computer. This means others will not be distracted by what's happening on your screen.
  • Like everyone else, make sure your laptop bag or case is not blocking any pathways. Feel free to use the seat next to you to spread out, but pay attention if it looks like someone needs that seat.
  • Type quietly and only when necessary. Others may not be able to hear the presenters if they are sitting nearby you.
  • If you cannot say something nice, don't say it at all. No one on the Internet really cares if the presenter needs to stop for a glass of water, puts up the wrong slideshow or trips over a cord. You're covering content, not the tiny incidentals of a presentation.
  • Regarding the event itself, offter only constructive criticism, and take preference to in-person, rather than blogged if it can be helped. Feedback should always be welcomed by organisers and so if the food is cold, let them know now, rather than tomorrow on your website.
  • No solitaire or WoW! If you don't want to listen to the presenter then get out of the theatre and go home. Seriously.

Do you have any pointers for event bloggers?

b105 Tweet-Up Fail, BTUB Confused

Local radio station b105 has organised for a party at the newly-rebuilt Victory Hotel for Brisbane Twitter users who register with them. This would be all fine and dandy if they had done a bit of research first. I have been an active Brisbane Twitter Underground Brigade (BTUB) member since around August of last year. We have held at least monthly or fortnightly meet-ups in Brisbane under the intention of being purely a social group. There are hundreds of BTUB members and we regularly hold events for up to around 50 to 70 people at various venues around Brisbane, most notably The Ship Inn.

Not only has b105 refused to do any homework on the existing  lively and loyal Twitter locals, they also have tomorrow's Vic tweet-up on the exact same night as BTUB's Kevin Rudd's Stimulating Package party, as arranged by myself and a friend, Michael Meloni, pretty much weeks ago after the previous BTUB was another success.

I write about Twitter quite often because I am not afraid to admit the wonders it has done for creating and connecting communities. Friends, business associates, families and more have connected 140 characters at a time since Twitter launched, and the 2009 explosion of interest in the online network has meant vast corporate activity, much to the mixed response of Twitter users.

Now whether or not b105 did not know how to search Twitter, Google "Brisbane Twitter" or even read some of their followers who are active BTUBbers, they have committed a rather obvious event management mistake; jumping into the bucket with competitors. Not holding your event on the same date as immediate competition is something they do not even bother to teach you in basic event management school because it is so damn obvious!

Secondly, not approaching anyone from BTUB for a bit of research was also silly. Trying to appear to their fan base as the thought leaders of a Brisbane tweet-up is extremely foolish. Surely there is no bureaucracy in BTUB, only more active members, and no clear forefront member to question, however this is no excuse for basic research on your target market. Numerous BTUBbers have contacted b105 in order to educate the radio station on the current local Twitter community, but I would like to know if anyone has heard any replies of yet.

I look forward to seeing how tomorrow night pans out.

Event Management Lessons I've Learned

This has been a blog post in the making for a number of weeks and even surprised me when it came up in a recent job interview I attended last week. Not to worry that I was prepared! Please leave your thoughts and comments; I’d love to hear your own event management lessons learned.

Age 5: Lolly bags are great. Exceed expectations.

We all know to keep the client happy. This is your number one priority when contracted to run an event. Once you’ve maintained their satisfaction, keep at it! If everything else is taken care of there is no sense in stopping now, offer more than just the party. Giveaways and extra goodies not only keep your guests peeking into their bags days after your event has finished, it ensures that sponsors are willing to help you financially in order to get their fridge magnets and brochures into the hands of attendees. It shocks me how many events miss out on the benefits of creating new business relationships because they misunderstand the concept of sponsorship, a fantastic way of adding on the extra frills for your event.

Also keep your business satisfied internally. More capital means you’re able to serve clients on an even higher level so it is important for constant review of policies and procedures. Exceed the expectations of your employer by making suggestions for that new marketing campaign you think would be a success. They should appreciate your extra thoughts on the matter and will realize you’re keeping your eyes open.

Essentially, events management is all about service, not just striding around enjoying the glory of being the party planner. Actively seek how you can improve the event for everyone involved and you cannot go wrong. You events angel, you!

Age 10: Multi-focal points.

Keep everyone entertained. This means not just having the one aspect of your event; not relying on the music or food to create the entertainment at your event. If you want to create a winning conference, why not shake it up with team-building activities every two hours or so? You'll keep everyone refreshed and amused, which means they'll clearly be able to focus on that killer gala dinner budget you're proposing to them.

Age 14: The media is your friend.

Don't be shy, go on radio and TV (you'd be surprised what makes the news these days)! Blog like your little heart depends on it all about what's happening. Be transparent in planning for the event, short of describing errors that arise. A good, and wise, host never discloses mistakes or challenges that arise.

Despite this, do your homework before approaching the media. Have a well-prepared press release and notes to refer to during radio or podcast interviews. There is nothing worse than a person in charge of a large event who does not appear to know what time the doors open, or for heaven's sake, the major sponsors!

Age 16: Students are lazy. Motivate them!

'Scuse my language here, but students ain't going to do shit for you unless there is something in it for them. Now, before the few student readers I have jump up in arms over this generalisation, let me explain. I took many cultural and community initiatives during my high school and college years in regards to events. It was always so difficult to get students supporting my causes because students will always have their garage bands, dance classes, car racing, sports, movies and what-not to attend to. Adults seem to have less of these extra-curricular activities and hence are more willing to support those who do take on initiatives of their own. Maybe it is also that Generation Y has perhaps grown up more connected to global issues and charity adventures. Maybe they’re tired of all of this? Sounds like another blog for another day, but for simplicity’s sake I’d like to argue that students have a lot on their plate these days and hence do not wish to take on more than they can fit in one mouthful.

Age 18: Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Don't be lazy. Check everything twice. Three times even! I find a week’s check and a 48-hour prior check is fantastic, but it greatly depends on the size of your event. This step includes not just checking your own facts, but keeping everyone on board informed on what you do know. Run sheets, room layout maps, contingency plans, cues and directions… the more information you can give to those involved the better problem-solving capacity you will end up with. You cannot succeed without a road map!

Age 21: Use your networks!

Resources are best maintained of course. I have a good friend of mine from high school, Chloe Tully, I do not hesitate to recommend for musical entertainment and I am still dying to use her for my next event. (On the matter of online networks and event management, I shall write more on this in the coming weeks as we all know these are of great value these days.)

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll love having that extra bit of rapport on board (pardon me!) when the shit hits the fan and the client will think you are a super human! My all-time favourite experience of this is Twitter. During my diploma in event management I ran a series of four conferences and a networking function over five weeks. On three occasions did guest speakers cancel within days of their booked date to appear and I was left stranded. But the Internet can hear you scream, and within minutes of these desperate pleas I had made some new connections in the form of kick-arse public speakers Tim Longhurst who flew from Sydney to my rescue, Des Walsh who I now treasure as a mentor and role model, and Micheal Axelsen who I also name as a mentor. These gentlemen were only a short 140 characters away online and I will never underestimate the power of online communications in any format again thanks to this one experience.