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Pricing Strategies for Online Events

pot of coins with a plant growing out of it

When venturing into the uncharted waters of virtual events, many new questions arise. Among these: How should I handle pricing? What kind of charges make the most sense with this new platform?

Fortunately, there are many options. And best of all, they can be mixed and matched to suit your needs, maximize your returns, and keep your audience interested in your events.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Conventional Ticket Sales

You know the drill. Set the price, sell the ticket, admit the ticketholder. But with virtual events, there are opportunities to get creative.

  • In addition to regular pre-sale prices, consider offering VIP tickets that grant an encore performance or Q&A session with the performer, an on-air shout out for a friend or business, or a custom-written song.
  • Even though the event is online, consider offering physical tickets to provide the purchaser with a souvenir and add to the feeling of a traditional event.

Brown Paper Tickets offers physical ticket fulfillment for ticket buyers as well as bulk ticket orders. Our customers get creative—we once ticketed an engagement!

Virtual Tip Jar

Anyone can access public social media pages to tune into a live streaming event, so pre-sales are often less of a focus. In addition to pre-sale, VIP, or other special pricing, your event page can include prices with names like “tips” or “contributions.” Allowing tips or contributions for free events can help your artists feel valued and your attendees feel part of a larger community.

  • Create multiple “tip” prices at various values, so viewers can choose how much to contribute.
  • Consider giving extra proceeds directly to your performer. Your attendees will feel they’re making a contribution in a direct and personal way.

Sliding Scale or Pay What You Like

In times of financial uncertainty, having a sliding scale or pay-what-you-like option may entice more buyers than a standard pricing structure. Buyers want to help their favorite events and artists, and with this welcoming option, you may end up with a larger turnout than you ever imagined. If you need to make sure you recoup enough funds to pay your overhead, set a minimum amount and allow buyers to pay more if they are able.


Your audience’s generosity may surprise you. People don’t want to lose their favorite theater or lose touch with their favorite performer. If your organization is a registered 501c3, adding a donation option can help ensure continued future events and keep you and your audience united in supporting the arts.

Once you pick a pricing structure, it’s time to list your event so you can start sales ASAP. Brown Paper Tickets’ flexible ticketing platform can support pricing models of every kind, from tips to tiers to anything you can think up. Learn more about how Brown Paper Tickets can support your online event.

Event Tips >

How To Turn Your In-Person Event into an Online Event

Reflection of woman in striped dress with orange sunglasses

In just a matter of weeks, we’ve become accustomed to connecting screen-to-screen. Friends are hosting virtual happy hours. Late-night talk show hosts are cracking jokes from their kitchens. Kids are attending Frozen-themed birthday parties via video chat. When your fun is virtual, the wifi is the only limit.

If your current in-person events are on pause until we get the all-clear from authorities, here’s a six-pack of power questions to get you on your way to your first online event.

1. What type of online event is right for me?

Online events come in different flavors. The seemingly endless possibilities for customization can be overwhelming. Luckily, if you were hosting in-person events previously, you don’t have to start from square one; most events can be moved online with a little bit of creativity.

Think about why your audience attends your events in the first place. Is it for entertainment? Education? Social connection? Now, how can you deliver that value virtually?

Live performances can be streamed to an online audience. You may have to perform from your living room instead of your usual venue, but you won’t be alone.

Workshops and classes can go virtual with simple online meeting software, making it easy for everyone to learn and collaborate from the comfort of their own homes.

Films and other pre-made content can be made available for a limited time so your audience feels like they’re attending an event, rather than just paying for Netflix.

2. Should I go live or pre-record?

Depending on the type of event you’re hosting and your resources, you can choose to do the event live, pre-recorded, or both.

Going live will most closely mimic the feel of an in-person event. Your audience will get to watch the action unfold before their eyes and interact with each other and with you, depending on the platform you choose. Live events have a sense of immediacy and excitement—you never know what’s going to happen next.

Pre-recorded content can be great if you have a busy schedule, are hesitant to go live, or if audience interaction isn’t a big factor. Recording ahead of time also allows you to perfect the event by doing multiple takes (be sure to factor editing time into your planning).

For a bonus, record your live event. You can then rebroadcast it or make copies available for your audience so they can relive the experience whenever they want.

3. How will my virtual attendees participate in the event?

One thing that can be difficult to translate from in-person to online is audience participation. Performers feed off a crowd’s energy. Panelists take questions to spark further discussion.

While the energy of a live audience won’t be felt the same way for virtual events, there are multiple options for fostering audience participation that can be just as effective.

Live verbal participation (aka talking) – This type of participation is best for small groups, like classes or workshops, where the audience will benefit from interacting with one another. You’ll want to make sure everyone has the right audio equipment (earbuds with a built-in mic work perfectly).

Pro Tip: Ask attendees to mute their mics when they aren’t speaking to avoid background noise.

Live comments – Live commenting is most popular for live streams with large audiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube Live. Viewers can tune into the event, but don’t have to commit to active participation. Instead of applause and cheers, they’ll leave comments and emojis to show their appreciation.

External community forum – If your event has a loyal fanbase, you can create a community forum to foster conversation outside of the event. Create a Facebook group and invite people to come share their thoughts. Your fans will have the opportunity to connect, and you’ll have a ready-made platform for promoting your future events.

No audience participation – Sometimes, audience participation isn’t necessary. After the event, you can send a follow-up email to thank attendees.

4. How should I price my online event?

Pricing your online event can be intimidating. You know people will pay to experience the event in-person, but is it still worth as much when it’s online?

The short answer is yes.

The value of your event is not dependent on the location, but on the entertainment, education, or experience you’re providing. While live events can be dressed up with free food and Instagram-able décor, the true value of your event will shine online. Focus on this, and don’t be afraid to price your tickets to match.

When setting your prices, also consider your audience and overall goals. If you’re hosting an event for an already loyal fanbase, they’ll be happy to pay to attend. If you’re fairly new to the scene and want to expand your audience, consider a free event with opportunities for viewers to contribute (see how one Seattle musician did exactly this). Collect contributions through a platform like Brown Paper Tickets, and you’ll also collect valuable attendee email addresses to start building your list. If you’re not sure where to start, you can always try a sliding scale or pay-what-you-like model.

What video-hosting platform should I use?

There are a plethora of video-hosting platforms and the one you choose will depend on your answers to the questions above. There are two main types: social media-based and software-based. Below is a brief overview of each type with specific examples and guidelines for best use.

Social Media Platforms

Examples: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube Live

• Typically free to use
• Ability to broadcast to an unlimited audience
• Viewers can join at their leisure
• Participation via comments and reactions

Best for: Free events, live streams

Not for: Paid events, private events, gated content

See our comparison of free live streaming services.

Software-Based Platforms

Examples: Zoom, Bluejeans, Livestream

• Typically generate a private event link
• Can be password-protected
• Ability for audience to speak to and see one another
• Collaboration tools
• Often have limited free services with paid subscription tiers that allow for more attendees and tools

Good for: Paid events, private events, social events

Not for: Unlimited attendees

6. How do I get the word out about my event?

There are so many online events happening right now that it can be hard for people to keep track of all of them. Just look at Facebook, Instagram, or your email inbox—there’s no lack of organizations and individuals asking you to tune in to their upcoming live stream.

Start by listing your event online ahead of time. This will create a single landing page for the event that’s easy for your audience to find and for Google to index. Your listing should convey the event’s who, what, when, and where. It should also allow attendees to register, purchase tickets, or make a contribution.

If you list your event with Brown Paper Tickets, we’ll handle your ticket sales and attendee registration. You’ll also gain access to our suite of event management tools, including page customization, real-time reporting, and live customer support for you and your buyers.

Once your event is listed, use all your available resources to get the word out. Send email blasts, post on social media, and look for fans in new places. Thanks to the internet, you now have the opportunity to reach a global audience.

Visit our help site for more event promotion tips.

Ready to get your online event up and running? See how Brown Paper Tickets can support you.

Event Tips >

3 Ways to Get Guests Talking at Networking Events

Networking-Games-Business-EventsYou’re hosting the mixer to end all mixers. Everything is perfect—the venue, the weather, and you’ve even managed to sell out. But the attendees are standing on opposite sides of the wall with their faces buried in their phones.

No one is talking. It’s more awkward than a jr. high dance.

The success of industry events, conferences, mixers, and meet-and-greets depends on your guests making connections. If they don’t feel like they made new contacts or added to their circle of colleagues, they aren’t likely to return next year.

No pressure.


1. Kick Off Networking Before the Event

Meeting online is easier than in-person networking. Encourage digital interaction before the event.

Have guests register, even if it’s a free event on Brown Paper Tickets. That way, you can estimate attendance, email updates, and guests can have discussions right on the event page.

Make a hashtag and promote it on your event page or if you’re having a larger conference, create a Facebook group. Write fun polls to engage attendees, such as ‘would you rather have unlimited tacos or popsicles at the after party?’

Guests can virtually meet and then do things like form carpools, give tips, or arrange post-event happy hours.

2.  Give ’em Something to Talk About

Be silly, be creative, just don’t be boring. Look for opportunities with your nametags, event signage, booth swag to show off personality and get your attendees talking.

Here’s a swag wheel Brown Paper Tickets made for a booth at DragCon. It captured attention, drew people in, and made a fantastic ice breaker.

For smaller networking events, give space on the nametags for attendees to write something memorable about themselves. This gives shy people an easy conversation starter and a way to remember who they just met.


Name: Amanda H.
Spirit Animal: Tree Kangaroo

Name: Ron S.
Favorite food: Breakfast meat (any)

Name: Leslie K.
Most likely to: Scrapbook this networking event

2. Optimize the Venue for Chitchat

Set up the venue space in a way that facilitates chitchat. Cocktail-style seating is optimal for the standard meet and greet, because it allows your guests to move about the space freely and is less intimidating to wallflowers than other seating arrangements.

Here’s a standard floor plan for a low-key mixer:


3. Networking Games

Speed networking
Speed networking is modeled after speed dating—the object is to meet as many people as you can in a short time. Each participant gets a specific amount of time to introduce themselves, which varies depending on the size of the group.

The standard is 3 minutes for each attendee, so if you had 10 attendees, allot 30 minutes to speed networking.

Penny for Your Thought
This one works well for smaller groups. Give attendees pennies (no more than 15 years old) and ask each person to share something that happened to them in that year. Kick it off with something lighthearted and amusing or a career-related anecdote, so it doesn’t get too serious.

Business Card Challenge
Who doesn’t love a challenge? Ask your attendees to collect as many business cards as they can. It’s the perfect challenge for big groups and you can add stipulations to ramp up the fun—such as, you can only exchange cards after a minute of talking.

Bonus tip: go to a few networking and business events before you plan one yourself. Are people talking to each other or awkwardly texting? Take notes on what works and what does not.

Event Tips >

5 Secrets to a Successful Community Arts Event

community-arts-festivalHere’s the scenario: someone delegates you the enormous responsibility of planning a community arts festival. It needs to be wildly successful, but you have little-to-no budget and a short time. You nod and say alright (there’s a reason they asked you after all), but your mind is telling you to run screaming.

You can pull off a rockin’ community arts event, even under such constraints. You just need to get out there and connect with venues, community members, and artists.

Here are 5 tips that will help your event:

1. Find a Venue that Will Benefit

Ideally one that has power, running water, and restrooms (inside), so that you don’t need to rent the infrastructure separately. Before you approach the venues, have a good idea of how your event will benefit the space. They may be able to cut you a deal or even allow you to have the space for free.

The definition of venue has changed a bunch. Don’t overlook bookstores, warehouses, barns, and dance studios.

Watch our webinar on turning your empty space into an event space.

2. Pool Community Resources

Don’t underestimate the human need for passion, purpose, and connection. Clearly define your cause and publicize it. Make flyers, post to community apps and Facebook groups, put up a notice at community gathering spaces in your neighborhood. You will be amazed at how easily you can pull together a team of local volunteers.

Every city and town has talented artists who are excited to show off their work. Establish a common vision, make new friends and pull in their friends.

3. Include a Range of Arts

A powerful community arts event can draw a range of people. Keep this in mind as you book and schedule entertainment. When you include a diverse range of acts and people from all walks of life, you will attract and appeal to a wider audience. Consider posting a call for artists and step outside your own comfort zone to find them.

The term “arts” encompasses a range of activities; don’t limit yourself. You could include magic, storytelling, painting, dance, jump rope dancing, circus arts, burlesque, spoken word. The talent is out there, you just need to look for it.

Pro tip: Set up areas at your event for people to chat, before checking out the show. They’re more likely to stick around for the whole event that way.

4. Find Creative Solutions that Don’t Cost

Investigate your venue space and brainstorm ideas for creative ways to engage with it. You will be surprised at how innovative you can get.

At a community arts event we held long ago, our staff member transformed the black-and-white checkered dance floor into a giant game of checkers. Creativity is half the fun and you’re working with one creative bunch, so use their brains.

5. Invite EVERYONE

Don’t limit your invites. Use the steps outlined in this post on how to announce an event on social media . Tell all of your friends, family, coffeehouse owners, people at your gym, local eateries and shops about your arts extravaganza. Talk to local publications and neighborhood blogs—if you can get listed in just a few of them, you’re all set.

Create an event promo video and post it everywhere. Get listed in local events’ newsletters and finally, ask your friends and family to spread the word.

Have you ever had to plan an event that was outside your comfort zone? How did it go?


Arts >

5 Serious Event Organizing Mistakes to Avoid

Event Planning Mistakes Think you have a great idea for an event, but you’re not sure how to execute it? Or maybe you’re overwhelmed by all the things that could go wrong (but won’t), but could?

Whether it’s your first event or your hundredth, you’ll want to avoid these 5 major event planning mistakes:

1. Procrastination

“Today is a bit cloudy… hmm? I heard it will be sunny tomorrow. I’ll start planning tomorrow.”

Start planning now. Better yet, start planning yesterday. Every day that passes, you could miss out on the talent or venue you want because someone else got there first. Your entire event could get pushed out to a cold and freezing month, rather than a nice summer evening because you waited too long.  Plus, the earlier you plan, the easier it will be to focus on later details, such as event promotion.

2. No Sponsorship/Funding

“Once sponsors hear my idea, they will all come running and give me all the money I will need for the event!”

Not only will you be so disappointed that investors are not flocking to you, they will have no idea who you are. You have to seek sponsorship—look for brands and people who believe in your idea and are definitely interested in your event. Craft a pitch and proposal. How does this brand align with your event? What will you bring to them?  What kind of return will they get?

3. Inconsistent Event Dates

“I can put on my sell-out July event at the same venue… but in December! I’m getting such a deal on the venue.”

Weather and seasonality are huge factors when it comes to planning events, especially (obviously) outdoor ones. Believe it or not, attendees look forward to events when it is nice and sunny outside. If your event is normally successful year after year, your ticket buyers will plan time off and maybe even reunite with friends they made at last years event. Do not bunny-hop around the calendar, hoping your audience will follow.

They most likely won’t. Because there will be another event coming along to take your sweet July spot.

4. Ignoring Safety

“I think I’ll ignore the warning from the venue owner that the water main could possibly rupture during my event.”

Forget the amazing DJ you lined up or your visions of your attendees having the best time of their lives. Safety should be number one priority. People trust you with their lives; they want to be entertained and not worry about possible safety hazards. If you would have gotten that water main fixed or moved to another venue you could have avoided all the lawsuits from people that were seriously hurt because of your negligence. Keep your attendees and talent safe. You owe it to everyone.

5. Documentation Neglect

“This is just too much paperwork! Time to recycle all these contracts and receipts right after the events is over.”

If the paperwork is too much, recruit an intern that will help you organize all of your billing and contracts so that when it comes time to pay taxes, you’re ready. Having organized paperwork will also come in handy if there’s a legal dispute–always have agreements put in writing and keep them.

In conclusion, you can avoid event failure by performing adequate due diligence. Safety begins with you, and the success of your event ends with your efforts.

Ready to create an event? Get started.

Event Tips >

10 Steps to a Better Restaurant Event, Just in Time for Mother’s Day Brunch

Mothers-Day-BrunchValentine’s Day dinner. Mother’s Day brunch. New Year’s Eve. Pop-up night.

If you’re in the restaurant industry, you know these days are all about efficiency. You need to get as many diners in and away from their tables as possible without a hitch.

Look at your tables as well-planned events and you can increase profits substantially. Ticketing your tables as events allows you to slot out times diners will be seated and served.


You can also determine:

  • How many heads to expect
  • What they want to eat and drink
  • A specific refund policy to eliminate costly no-shows

Don’t do all of your tables at once. Start with one section, so the rest of your staff can operate as they normally would and you don’t have to reorganize everything. Select your strongest servers for the ticketed tables and make sure they are good clock-watchers.

Inform the kitchen of the time-sensitive aspect of turning these tables and see if you can work with the chef to prioritize those.

1. Create Your Event Page

Once you have your team excited and on board, it’s time to set up your event page.  There are lots of ways that you can customize your Brown Paper Tickets event page, however, simple and clean always works best. If you set it up in a way that’s too complicated, the page will confuse potential customers.

Here’s an example event page for a Valentine’s Pre-Fixe dinner. Trouble setting it up? Email me for a consultation.

2. Set Up Specific Table Sizes

You don’t want to discourage larger groups, but set your floor in advance and have a clear section created. Even if you create a clear section, you can still make it flexible.

For example, if you are hosting a Mother’s Day brunch and want to keep things fluid, create a variety of various-sized tables as options. If you get a special request, you can always direct them to the general seating portion of your restaurant.

3. Develop a Pre-Fixe Menu

Develop a pre-fixe menu with a few options for each course, and include a dessert, such as chocolate-covered strawberries or mousse. Make the dishes simple to modify (diners will want to modify them) and to help the kitchen out with the volume, be clear there is no splitting.

4. Have a Few Pre-Selected Wine Options

Make sure they are good options and that you have plenty. The price point should be reasonable, since you are charging more for the pre-fixe and other aspects of the service. Emphasize the time slot ending to your servers so they can manage lingering slow pokes.

If you allot the proper amount of time based on your service style, it should work out well. Don’t make anyone wait more than a minute or two to be seated.

5. Set Clear Policies

Set up clear policies for lateness, no-shows, cancellations, and up charges.

This way your staff and customers are all on the same page.  In my opinion, gratuity should be separate and up to the customer, but speak to your team and find out what works best.

You can always add the gratuity to the registration price on Brown Paper Tickets and cash your servers out later.

The refund policy language should relay the worst-case scenario such as, “absolutely no refunds.” You can still have mercy and refund someone, but this phrase covers your bases in case of a blatant no-show.

6. Check Local Calendars for Events

If there is a play, musical, or other event, use the show times to set your schedule. For example, if the first showing is at 6:45, your first time slot should end around 6:15, thus giving your customers enough time to get to the show. You can reach out to the theaters and offer to cross promote as well, maybe even bundle the show tickets with your meal to create a “dinner and a show” price level.

7.  Keep It Fun and Stay Positive

Special nights are slammin’ busy.  Keep your staff happy and it will transfer to guests. Buy your helpers some chocolate or prepare a staff meal, and project the good vibes yourself.  Keeping the energy level and morale up will pay off when your customers leave happy and on-time. There is no substitute for genuine positivity–it is the heart and soul of good service.

8. Remember, Scoop and Serve is Your Friend

Ask servers to scoop ice cream, ladle soup, garnish desserts, plate chocolate-covered strawberries, and perform other tasks to help them control the flow of their sections.  This also takes pressure off of the kitchen staff, which is always a good idea.  Provide a little training for your service staff, and watch in wonderment when they are garnishing beautifully presented dishes for your guests.

9.  Leave a Lasting Impression

Ticketing your tables is not just a good way to increase efficiency during a special event date.  If you can really pull it off and make a lasting impression, your guests will come back.

Every aspect of the restaurant is pushed to perform at its peak to provide the optimal event experience. Keep the expectations realistic and stay true to your goals, the organization and pre-planning will do the rest.

10. Test All Your Options

When planning your big night, it’s important to account for every possible issue that may arise.  Ensure that the set-up is right for your restaurant’s flow and service style.  Try a soft opening or trial run before the big day—that way, you can gather feedback and make adjustments ahead of time.

Have questions, tips or thoughts? Comment below. Or email me and I’ll help you you get started.

Food & Drink >

How to Take Your (Boring) Corporate Snack Table to the Next Level

food-catering-eventsYou’ve seen this setup at everything from networking events to author readings to workshops: a table with platters of cheese, crackers, crudités, and other assorted munchies.

If you’re lucky, hot water for tea and coffee. If you’re really lucky, cheap wine or beer.

As long as the vegetables are crisp and the coffee, caffeinated, there’s nothing wrong with this setup. But a next-level snack table creates positive memories of your event and keeps guests mingling and occupied while your staff works on all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

There’s a big difference between an event starting 10 minutes behind schedule with a snack table and an event starting 10 minutes behind schedule without one.

To Cater or Not to Cater?

If you are going to make your own snacks you can potentially save cash, but only if you have the time. Forgo the caterer and you’ll spend precious hours shopping and planning.

You can always order a few bulk items from a restaurant and fill in the rest on your own.

Whatever you decide, to keep your attendees satiated, focus on protein-rich foods like hummus, cheese, cured meats, smoked or cured seafood, and whole grain breads and crackers. Offer a wide range and make sure to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Don’t settle for under-ripe melon and rubbery Crudités—select high quality, local and fresh. Go to the Farmer’s Market late in the day and ask vendors for deals on “ugly produce.” Once prepared, funny-shaped vegetables still look and taste fantastic.

Add Your Own Twist to Classic Party Snacks

Chex Mix is ubiquitous at snack tables. Take it to the next level with Thai curry paste, chili powder or miso. The same flavorful twist concept can be done with other “retro snacks,” like deviled eggs, smoke salmon or the classic cheese ball.

Avoid cookies, chips, soda and other types of processed junk food (except the Chex Mix). Not only does it run up costs, it takes away from your style and originality. Make your own popcorn, chips or trail mix instead—whatever you create will taste and look better than the packaged stuff.

Keep the table tidy. Arrange serving vessels, utensils, napkins, cups, and serving implements. Expect to be extra busy the day of your event, so perhaps delegate snack table cleanup to another team member. And don’t forget to place clearly labeled recycling, compost and trash bins around the venue.

Go Lux with a Local Chef

If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a local chef to create next-level eats. Many restaurants have catering options—reach out to the ones you like. If you offer it up as a sponsorship, you may even get a discount rate.

Before you approach a chef or catering company, consider the following:

  • Make sure the timing of your event doesn’t clash with their busy days, typically Thursday through Saturday
  • Plan far in advance. Busy season or not, the restaurant will appreciate having a solid lead on filling your catering request. 

Set realistic expectations for what you would like to have made, especially if you are on a tight budget.  This will allow the chef to relax and focus on what they do best, rather than work off a complicated list.
  • Focus on quality.  Remember that many event organizers aren’t putting the thought in care into their snack tables as you are.  A nice spread will help you stand out and get your guests’ attention, which creates return attendees.

Whatever your idea of the perfect snack table is, eating socially creates a sense of comfort and community. When you genuinely want to impress people through food, it shows.

What’s your favorite event snack? Ring in below and our food and beverage specialist may give you a few ideas on how to prepare it at your next event.

Event Tips >

Planning Your First Festival? Start Here

Festival-Event-PlanningHave you spent winter dreaming up a summer festival – but you’re not quite sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Festival event planning may not be the easiest item on your springtime to-do list, but with a few basics, you’ll be on the road to success in no time.

1. Determine Your Festival’s Audience

When planning any event, start with the audience—who will be in the crowd? Consider their age range and other demographics. Creating an audience persona or having a general idea will help you decide how to market, where to host the event, and countless other details. For example, you wouldn’t want to have a family festival at a nightclub, but if you were having a three-day music festival, a nightclub may fit your needs. Keep your target audience in mind throughout the planning process.

2. Festival Budget Breakdown

Budgeting isn’t the fun, creative part of festival event planning, but it is imperative, especially for larger events. Decide how much you can spend on performers, vendors and venues before going into negotiations so you don’t sink into debt.

Consider how much you will want to charge for your festival and how much your attendees – going back to your target audience – would want to pay. You may want to consider early bird or group pricing to help encourage early purchases and help out attendees who cannot afford the general ticket price.

3. Location, Location, Location

Location is one of the most important aspects of festival planning. Will your festival take place in an urban warehouse or in a farm field under the stars? Be realistic. Look for a space that’s easy for the masses to find and get to. Check out the parking and/or public transportation situation. Consider the location of bathrooms, the festival entrance and exits.

4. Book Talent

In the initial stages of festival planning, whether it’s food, music, art, or all of the above, determine your goal and start reaching out to groups or individuals you’d like to feature. While you can keep some mystery about the main event, you will want to confirm it before too much time goes by, as most people will wait to hear what it is before buying in.

5. Festival Security

A frequently overlooked key to festivals is a dependable security team. Many companies exist exactly for this reason – to make your attendees feel safe and protected. Brief your security staff on how you want them to act in various scenarios and where you want them to be.

When interviewing a security team for your event, you’ll want to not only look for a team that can protect and enforce regulations, but also serve a certain amount of hospitality to your guests. You want your security staff to be approachable, not oppressive.

Other qualities you will want to look for in a festival security team:

  • Medically Trained
  • Familiar with your ticketing systems and best practices
  • Prepared for large or small scale issues – from natural disasters to fence-jumpers
  • Up to date on local and state laws

6. Food

If you are hosting a food and beverage festival – you likely already have the food all planned out. However, if you’re hosting an event that isn’t cuisine-centric, you’ll want to make sure that you have options in place for your all-day attendees. If you are serving food you will want to make sure you have the appropriate permits in place before your festival begins.

A booming trend across the country is food trucks – and festival event planners are taking advantage of their popularity. This food solution is also often more affordable for you and your attendees, and can provide a more eclectic food selection than a traditional catering service. As food trucks contain everything they need within the truck, you will likely only need to provide a place to park and trash services, which makes for an easy setup when dealing with remote or outdoor events.

7. Organizing Your Promotional Efforts

Promoting a festival is a long-haul marathon – from announcing on social media to creating a brand on Instagram and doing direct media outreach. Create a calendar, plan ahead and set deadlines for each promotional marker.

Sharing is caring. Comment below with your best festival and event planning tips. How did you do it?

Event Tips >

9 Ways to Grow Event Attendance

grow-event-attendanceLike growing orchids, growing event attendance is tough—it takes a careful balance of creativity, consistency, community, and customer retention.  In a competitive market such as craft brewing, most may be tempted to isolate events from the competition, but building a cooperative events community benefits everyone and may even boost event attendance. When you work together, you can share resources and attendees and even recommend each other’s events.


Here are 9 ways grow event attendance by forming a cooperative events community:

1. Research events in your area

Create a calendar of all events in your area and in your niche. This will ensure that you aren’t having a similar one around the same day as your peers. Knowing what the rest of your events community is doing will help you adjust your strategy. You can then change your event’s date, time, pricing, and theme to make it more appealing to your attendees.

2. Be present at event industry happenings

Introduce yourself to the other business-owners in your area who have similar events. Letting people know who you are and what you do is a great way to get the ball rolling. Compliment their projects and offer to share resources.  Half of the effort is just being present and available for conversation.  Who knows? You might make some great new friends along the way.

3. Invite and include relentlessly

Reach out to other event organizers in your market and invite them to third party events, functions, happy hour, or even to your own event. Offer your event discount or comp the tickets if possible.  It may take you some time and effort before you get a taker, and then again it may not.  Either way, extend the olive branch and make it apparent that you have good intentions. You have nothing to lose.

Be consistent with your engagement; make sure that you leave a positive and lasting impression.

4. Be kind and patient

It’s important to treat others in your events community with respect and kindness whenever you reach out. Follow the golden rule, “treat others as they would treat you.” You may find some resistance and encounter folks that aren’t all peace and chicken grease, but all you can do is be patient and move on when necessary.

5. Collaborate and share

Find ways to work with other event organizers in your market, and have a blast doing it.  If you are launching a new product, invite your new friends. Swap venues, pick out a third-party venue together, share ingredients, exchange recipes, create a product together or do a cross promotion.

Give it a try, and see the wonderment of your attendees as they enjoy a pro-event created by two or more of their favorite event organizers.

6. Communicate well

It helps to figure out how people prefer to communicate.  Some like e-mail while others prefer face-to-face interaction. Take note of what communication channels get the best results.  Knowing their preferences will take the pressure off. For example, you won’t fret so much if you haven’t had an e-mail returned for a while by someone who prefers phone calls. Consider your communication needs too and let your acquaintances know what they are when you exchange contact information.

7. Follow through on promises

Follow-through goes a long way in life and an extra long way in the often hectic events community. Knowing that you can count on someone in a pinch is clutch when it comes to organizing events, as I’m sure you realize. Consistency and reliability are outstanding ways to win the favor of the cooperative events community.

8. Evaluate accurately

Measure twice and cut once when you are planning an event. If you are going to offer a collaboration or cooperative promotion, make sure it benefits all parties involved. Some efforts, whether toward a relationship or an event simply aren’t worth the time. Dig in, list and evaluate benefits and pitfalls. Then you can re-calibrate and try again if you make a mistake.

9. Break bread

All work and no play makes for a dull and weary events community.  Get folks together over a meal and try to create long-lasting relationships.  It shouldn’t be too difficult—these guests share your same interests and operate in the same community. Eating a meal together is a deeper way to connect, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.  It doesn’t need to be a big formal event; in fact it may be better to host a potluck or barbecue.

Letting your guard down a bit to share food and laughs can cause a ripple that will carry your community for a long time.

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6 Event Details You Should Never Ignore

Event-Permits-PlanningWhether it’s a farm dinner, charity benefit, pop-up restaurant or other event, it’s easy to focus on the big three: food, location, decor. But it’s the less glamorous, often overlooked logistics that can make an event the best night ever … or a total nightmare.

Pay close attention to these details to ensure a hiccup-free event day.


1. Permits and Paperwork

Established restaurants, catering halls and other venues will likely have all necessary permits. But keep in mind that loud music, the hours of your event and even dancing may put it outside of the space’s “usual business,” and require additional paperwork, such as a sound permit.

Spaces that don’t typically host food events may require you to take out a full event permit. Make sure your space’s Certificate of Occupancy is current and will accommodate the number of people you plan to host. If you’re entertaining in a public space, such as a park, town square, public building, you will have to take out permits from your local city government agency (Parks Department, Department of Buildings, etc.).

Rules vary by city and state. Grilling, selling tickets, selling alcohol, restricting space from public use and your event’s hours name some factors that could determine the kind of permit you’ll need.

2. Alcohol Permits

It’s extremely important to file a permit to serve alcohol—these should be on hand at all times should you undergo an inspection. Some event permits come with a booze clause, but not all. Make sure you have everything in writing.

The local agency that grants you an alcohol permit will consider the length of your event, time of day, proximity to schools or churches and the type alcohol you plan to serve (beer and wine only, or full liquor). Make these decisions early and stick to them as changing a permit you’ve applied for may be difficult.

More restrictions (depending on locality) apply when it comes to the sale of alcohol at events; permits to sell are different than permits to serve.

Do some research on your local regulations and determine what will work best for you. In some instances, there are workarounds. For example, instead of selling beer directly, an event can sometimes sell tickets that attendees can redeem for beer. Consult a legal professional if you have any questions about permits.

3. Event Insurance

Each space is unique and may pose its own risks for attendees. Work closely with your team and the location’s team to ensure you have proper insurance to cover potential accidents (including food poisoning). Many venues may come with basic insurance, but expect the organizer to take on additional liability. Know what you are covered for, at what level and for how many people.

Run your event insurance paperwork (again: always get it in writing) by a lawyer. When it comes to insurance, better safe than sorry is the right attitude.

4. Inclement Weather Plans

You can spend months planning an exciting event, only to have to cancel at the last minute due to weather. Clearly, rain is a factor for outdoor events, but even if you plan to be indoors, there are many unforeseeable weather-related factors that could prevent attendees from reaching your location.

Have a rain plan well in advance of your event. Renting tents, securing an alternate location or having a rain date, may cost you a more time and money, but will pay dividends if the worst happens and you don’t have to waste all of that incredible food.

If you are working with restaurant partners who will order their products in advance, discuss your inclement weather plan. Paying for food you can’t use may take a hefty bite out of your budget.

5. Food Allergies and Your Menu

Every chef wants to serve a bit of mystery with a wonderful food experience. However, food allergies are serious and it’s important to clearly label menu items and spell out ingredients.

Make it known at check-in that a food list is available upon request. Ask attendees to email you about food allergies when they buy their tickets and provide alternatives. You’re not obligated to accommodate every attendee, but transparency is key.

6. Where You Source Ingredients

What and from where, you source the food you’ll serve is a less formal, but equally important consideration. Many food event ticket buyers want to know where your produce, meat and dairy come from and whether it’s organic, local or fair trade. The extra care you take in purchasing high-quality ingredients reflects on your overall vision and your community.

For example, if you work for a nonprofit concerned with migrant workers’ labor rights, you would be remiss to serve food produced on factory farms and in processing plants, as these types of places have a reputation for labor injustices. Your choices at all levels of the event reveal who you are and what you stand for. Be consistent.

These are just a few important details to consider as you plan your next big bash. Of course, all of the permit regulations will vary by your location. Leave yourself enough runway to seek legal advice and get all of your paperwork in order. Then focus on the fun stuff.

Got a question about this article? Our event specialist is happy to assist. Reach out.

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