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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.

Event Tips >

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.

Event Tips >

6 Tips to Sourcing Sustainable Seafood for Your Next Event

Sustainable_seafood_salmonAs spring swings into summer, food events featuring seafood menus pop up around the country. Whether it’s a New England clambake, Southern-style fish fry or crawfish boil, Maine lobster fest or Pacific Northwest salmon tasting, seafood is a beautiful meal to share outdoors. However, despite big strides by local food movements to make ethically raised meat and produce readily available, sourcing sustainable seafood remains a much more complicated endeavor.

At the turn of the 20th century, seafood (particularly shellfish) was plentiful, affordable and readily available on both coasts. Louisiana’s Gulf Coast powered the Southern economy with its large shrimping and crawfish operations. Since then deregulation, changes in national tastes, industrial pollution and environmental disasters have wreaked havoc on what was the most important source of food and livelihood for coastal communities–and of course, biodiversity in our oceans and lakes.

Seafood is now expensive, hard to trace, and often farm-raised. A lack of packing facilities forces many large fishing operations to send their product to Asia for processing, just to be shipped back to the U.S. in canned or frozen form.

Our national obsession with tuna and salmon sushi rolls have put tremendous pressure on those two species (that should only be eaten from particular waters and in specific seasons), while other perfectly delicious and plentiful fish goes unrecognized and discarded. And because our oceans are bio-diverse ecosystems, the extinction of one species destroys all the life up and down that species’ food chain.

At current rates of over-fishing, scientists predict that most of the world’s seafood supply will collapse by 2048.

We must vote with our forks to bring attention and dollars back to fishermen and communities working against this sweeping tide of sea life degradation. Taking time to properly source seafood for your event will not only improve the taste and quality of your food, it will mediate your environmental impact and attract like-minded attendees.

6 Tips to Sourcing Sustainable Seafood

1. Source seafood caught and processed in the U.S. where species management and safety regulations are stricter and enforced.
2. Look for seafood caught locally and seasonally. All species have abundant times, locations, and seasons when they should not be harvested. Use Seafood Watch or another online resource to figure out what is available where and when.
3. Purchase from fishermen, docks, and distributors that employ reputable practices. Ask locally minded chefs in your community where to find good sources of fish. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask; they will often be thrilled to bring their suppliers more business.
4. Choose wild-caught seafood over farm-raised. New distribution projects, like Sea 2 Table, bring sustainable, fresh and local seafood directly to the consumer.
5. If possible, choose lesser-known seafood species for your event. Not only will you offer something new and exciting to your attendees, you will help expand your community’s taste for your local waterway’s bio-diversity.
6. Make attendees aware of your sourcing choices. Encourage guests to consider the environmental impact of their eating practices at home. And remember, seafood shells (oyster, clams, mussels) are compostable.

5 Resources for Sustainable Seafood Research:

  1. Seafood Watch
  2. Dock to Dish (Northeast)
  3. Seasonal Cornucopia (Pacific Northwest Seasonality)
  4. Sea to Table
  5. Paul Greenberg: American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood

Ready to find your fish? Discover seafood events across the country.

Food & Drink >

13 Sizzling Event Trends for 2016

2016 Event Trends Cheers to the New Year. When the confetti settles, you’ve swallowed the last sip of champagne and the tux or little black dress is off to the dry cleaners, it’s time to look forward.

We don’t make claims to be clairvoyant, but with swiftly changing technology, geek culture going mainstream and two Pantone colors, 2016 is going to be a pivotal year in events.

Let’s get to our top 13 trends:

1. The Social Scape is Changing

Social media is here to stay, but the traditional status update about dogs and brunch may be put out of its misery.

More and more users are adopting messenger apps, such as WhatsApp or iMessage because they offer private communication and of course, the ability to send hilarious gifs.

According to the Pew Research Center, “half (49%) of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps, while 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages.”

There’s no getting around it. Organizers have to make social part of their events. Which brings us to:

2. “Your Audience has an Audience”

Snapchat is on the rise. No longer just for the vanishing selfie, the service offers live event feeds and is even hiring reporters to cover the 2016 election.

At the 2015 Seattle Interactive Conference, David Shing, venerated digital prophet relayed that brands should consider the experience of their audience’s audience—fans at home in their pjs watching their friends’ videos of a distant festival.

Bleak, weird, incredibly cool? We’ll let you make up your own mind about that.

Just don’t worry, because…

3. Happiness is Live Events 

It’s not just your live-event-lovin’ imagination. Research shows that shared experiences make people happier than things and that millenials are definitely into not-owning things, aka “nownership.” (They’re also into portmanteaus.)

What does this mean? Well, good news for you, because the event industry is booming. But it may also mean more competition as brands try to reach consumers through experiences.

Speaking of…

4. The Whole Experience

Remember the olden days, in 2012 when you would go out to dinner and then to a show? Or you would go to a show and then go out for drinks? Or you would go to dinner and then just go home?

That’s O-V-E-R. (O.K., slight hyperbole.) Food events are incorporating more performance elements and performances are including more food elements. And many of these dinner theater events are taking place in intimate venues, like a person’s home.

Event attendees want new sights, tastes and experiences. Bringing us to…

5. The Pop-Up Explosion

We reported on pop-up restaurants in last year’s trend list, but in 2016, pop-up will take all forms, from pop-up dinners, to flea markets to workshops, concerts and even the occasional dance off.

You’ve may have already noticed the pop-up phenomenon this past holiday season. Many creatives can’t front the hefty rents of a full-time store, so they’re showing their stuff at pop-up holiday craft fairs and bazaars.

These small-time markets definitely draw as the higher appreciation for handmade still stands.

Just don’t expect a lot of heavy drinking at them because…

BPT_NewYear_sq6. Mocktail Madness

Mmm. Welcome the rise of the mocktail: drinks that have all the ice-clinking, lemon-garnished delight of a cocktail with none of the spirits. Or regrets.

Studies like this one indicate drinking—especially among young people—may be in decline. Mocktails cater to the late-twenty or thirty-somethings looking to go out and socialize without getting sloppy.

The 2016 mocktails just might be pink and blue. Bringing in…

7. The 2016 Color(s) of the Year

You’ll see a lot of pink and blue this coming year (excuse us… Rose Quartz and Serenity). And not just at baby showers.

For the first time ever, color expert Pantone selected a duo palette for the “color of the year.” Like every year, the color (er… colors) will influence event décor.

But probably not at…

8. Geeky Events

mario-1 copy-bpt

Retro video games emerged from wood-paneled basements awhile back. But in 2016, they’ll move on up again from the barcade to the big time arenas. eSports viewership continues to rise dramatically with the first eSports arena opening in Santa Ana in October.

Live video game music is already a thing and there will be more shows in 2016. Musicians shred on instruments while an expert player battles the big bosses in real time level after level.

Intense.

Speaking of battles, we’re stoked about this prediction—in 2016, the U.S. will catch on to giant robot battles, already big in Japan. Hot tip. Start working on your giant robots now.

9. Art Shows Become Immersive 

2016 will make average gallery goers part of the show. No more standing around, sipping wine, pontificating about a piece. It’s all about interactive, motion-based artwork that changes rapidly and is controlled by the observer.

That’s kind-of cool, isn’t it? So are…

10. Chef-Driven Dinners

Perhaps fatigued with walk-around tasting events, foodies are requesting a more intimate experience. Our food event specialists report a rise in chef-driven tasting menus in both restaurants and as an event format. Event Marketer reports that patrons want to know everything about their food and trying to learn from chefs and servers.

And also, in Instagram Age, every dish must be picture perfect. But you might not be allowed to snap that photo because…

11. Phone Bans

We’ve all been there. Your favorite live performer blocked by a sea of tablet and phone screens and you just watch them on the tiny screen in front of you. Like you could be doing at home.

To ban or not to ban is a hot-button topic for event organizers. On one hand, social media promotes your performers and events. On the other, event attendees aren’t immersed in the whole experience as they’re counting likes and updating statuses. If you’re going to ban mobile use, take the high road and focus on the positive with your message.

“Please refrain from using your phone as we want you to be immersed in the experience.”

Speaking of the high road…

12. More Cannabis Gatherings

In 2014 and 15 in the wake of legalization in some states, marijuana shed its stoner image and went all upscale. Interest in herb will grow in 2016 with more marijuana events that cater to a crowd that wants to learn. Expect more cannabis events that emphasize healing (like cannabis and yoga), as well as workshops and food pairings.

Bringing us to our favorite trend:

13. Educational Events

School is cool again in 2016–there’s an uptick in workshops, symposiums and learning retreats. It’s no surprise, as DIY and handcrafting is hot, hot, hot. Our food and farm outreach specialist reports more forestry, farming and water conservation classes than in previous years.

What do you think 2016 will bring? Comment below or add your favorite event trend.

 

Event Tips >

How to Build Intensity with Your Event Playlist

Music2_SqAs a producer and organizer of live music and cabaret events, nothing irks me more than going to a show and hearing house music that has zero to do with the event.

Know what I’m talking about? Sure you do. Ever been to hear your friend’s indie rock band and the sound person blares loud death metal over the system? Or you’re at a reggae show and they’re bumping 90’s techno?

Always Ask 

Most venues give very little thought to the house music. They usually just let the sound person pick something and that’s it. However if you ask (nicely), venues will let you provide your own.

Leave Expensive Stuff at Home

I don’t recommend smart phones for event music as they sometimes transmit static or you can forget that the ringer was turned on and it goes off at an inopportune time. Doh.

Burned CDs are the thing to bring. It won’t break your music-loving heart if they get lost, stolen or forgotten about. You’ll have enough to remember at the end of the night—thanking performers, equipment, paying people, merchandise. You might forget your iPod or $300 phone.

Also, every venue will be able to play a CD, but not every venue will have inputs for smart phones and iPods.

Start Mellow

Curate the experience starting the minute the crowd walks into the venue. If you’re doing a night with multiple acts, start out with mellow music. Folks are starting to arrive and socialize and haven’t even had time to get a drink yet. Maybe they’re still feeling a little insecure. Don’t assault them with loud music from the get-go. Let them adjust and feel comfortable.

Increase the Volume with Each Act

Gently increase the volume with each act to build tension.

For the headlining act, consult with the band or performer and see what kind of music gets them pumped, what artists were big influences and whether or not that music would translate to their audience. Many times, in the case of a music event, the music they’ll pick won’t be of the same genre but will complement the music that’s about to happen on stage. I like to pick something that has a driving beat but is fairly simple chordally, so that it builds tension and creates a sort of hypnotic effect.

Turn the lights down and immerse the audience. I encourage up to 10 minutes of dark lighting and loud house music. It may seem like forever, but all you’re doing is priming the audience, so that the minute the headliner hits the stage, they’re ready and focused. I usually tell the band to grab a drink or do some stretching during this build-up time. All performers could use a little extra time to get centered.

Curate the Experience

This technique works best for music events, but can also be a great build up for a burlesque show or comedy sets. For theatrical performances, keep the volume down and don’t choose something as driving. Most organizers know their audiences well and what kinds of music will stir their emotions.

Just remember to influence the audience’s experience from the minute they walk through the door. A lot of entertainment involves subtly helping the crowd to react in a certain way. House music is an important tool in that process and sadly ignored too often.

How do you create playlists for your events? Ring in with your tips in the comments.

Event Tips >

Goodbye Turtle, Hello Hare: New Scanner App

BPT_ScannerApp_SquareGraphic-BigAllow us to proudly introduce the new Brown Paper Tickets Scanner app. Designed for use with our box office tools, the scanner app allows event organizers to scan tickets and check-in guests right from mobile devices.

Download new scanner app in Google Play 

Download new scanner app in Apple

Use the app to improve your event’s entry process and bid adieu to box office chaos. Scan and unscan tickets as guests come and go during your event. View tickets admitted and tickets remaining at a tap.

Freshly enhanced with a fluid, dare we say stunning interface, a faster performance, and now compatible with iOS9.

Ready, set, scan. Features you’ll love:

  • Manually enter barcode information
  • Unscan tickets to manage guests exiting and re-entering the event
  • Use camera flash to scan tickets in the dark
  • View guests admitted/tickets remaining at a tap
  • Intuitive and elegant design

Note: Designed for use with Brown Paper Tickets box office tools. Activate barcodes for mobile scanning for your event before using the app. Step-by-step instructions.

News >