When we say large scale, it’s really very relative. Some may think large is having 10 people over at their house and some may think the large is having a 500-person gala. The largest productions I’ve ever seen in my career are in festival production such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival. As well, spectator events like the Genesis Invitational or Phoenix Open have been massive to see. These events are where you’re seeing hundreds of 1000s of people. So again, ‘large’ is very relative with whom you’re speaking.
That said, there are a lot of similarities in some of the basic elements of a production for these types of events. What I’ve seen, the bigger the production, the more likely the holes of an experience begin to be exposed.
Organization is Key
To me, the first foundational item of building an event, is organization. Without organization within your team, you really have no ability to scale the size of the production. Organization isn’t a super sexy element to talk about and so it’s missed a lot of times in the discussion about event production. A lot of times you think about safety, security, crowd control, containment, you think about the weather, or water, or food. All of these details would be lost without organization. So, understanding that within a festival production, you really need to ensure your team is well versed and organized to handle all these different aspects so your guests experience is unrivaled. The areas where people have really struggled doesn’t seem to be around financing the production. More so, it becomes an issue in the investment of organizing all of these not so sexy aspects.
Understanding Event Details
Today, as we’re watching events return, we know there’s this incredible labor shortage in the world, especially in the hospitality space. I think they said around 1.7 million jobs are still needing to be filled and 10% of the workforce needs to be filled within the hospitality space. Take a stadium like SoFi, the most expensive stadium that has ever been built at over $5.5 billion. It’s beautiful, it’s awesome, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. But if it’s not staffed accordingly, if lines are long, if staff is uneducated about procedures, all of this gets incorporated into the guest experience.
Focus on the Overall Guest Experience
My point being that within a production, whether it be a festival production or large event, a lot of times you can get wrapped up in building something around the entertainment. Building around the bands you were able to secure, or the sporting event you’re hosting or whatever is eventually going to hurt you in the long run. This is the case 99% of the time, if you aren’t thinking about the organization and all the little details in between. Each of the nitty, gritty details needs to be incorporated in a very organized and thoughtful way. You have the ability to create the guest’s experience allowing them to actually enjoy and appreciate what you’re working for them to connect with.
Events Face New Challenges
Personally, I was so impressed on my visit to the Pebble Beach Concours, a pretty big event up in Northern California. This was the first year we were able to build the event. Watching their level of thoughtfulness and organization in the way a guest arrived, to how they got their tickets, to how the lines were conducted was fascinating. There are so many new areas that we have to think about in regard to COVID compliance. It all feels very similar to the things we previously had to consider after 9/11 in regard to security. Health and safety are now a part of the post-pandemic era. Understanding your protocols and what you plan to do are super important in integrating into your overall production plan affecting your guests experience.
To wrap up, festival production and large-scale event builds are more than just the main attraction, you must think about all the specifics that lead to guest satisfaction. If you’re looking to hire a company to build and produce your event, make sure you understand how organized the company is and how they focus on the details. While the entertainment is fun and exciting, the details will allow for a spectacular guest experience, while keeping retention and engagement high.
By Ryan Choura, CEO & Founder, Choura