With summer just around the corner, more and more outdoor event are being hosted in the great outdoors. And why would you not? Particularly if you live in cold regions or Canada, beautiful, warm weather only comes around a few months a year. Might as well take advantage of it while it’s here!
The outdoors can create unique opportunities and large parks or conference facilities often provide space for grilling and organized sports. Best of all, good weather energizes people. All that said outdoor events present a whole new set of challenges, complications and logistical concerns.
Here are a few important factors you’ll need to consider if organizing an outdoor event:
1. Make sure your event will work in an outdoor setting
Not every event will work out-of-doors. If you’re running a technology or engineering conference, for example, then you’re probably better off booking a convention center. Before committing to running an event outside, consider the core function and main objectives of your event. If even one or two of your objectives can’t be accomplished, don’t go outside.
2. Ensure there’s a suitable venue (and get the proper permits)
Once you’re certain your event can actually be run outside, you’ll next want to track down a suitable venue. There should be plenty of parks and outdoor concert halls in your city that you can make use. Exactly as you would with an indoor facility, work with site management and understand the capacity, amenities and activities each outdoor facility can properly handle.
Once you have chosen your venue set out to acquire the proper permits. Failure to do this is a surefire way to get your event shut down.
3. Pay attention to the weather – and have a backup plan
Since your event’s being run outside, it’s absolutely critical that you plan for inclement weather and monitor weather reports as event day approaches.
Determine well in advance your “rain day” strategy: can you easily move your event inside, will portable pavilions provide sufficient coverage, will you have tents setup rain or shine, will you postpone or cancel your event. The answers to these questions will inform many other planning decisions.
Know your cost liabilities, insurance options and contract details in the event that inclement weather leads to cancelation or damages; this relates to equipment and venue rental, catering services, security, etc.
4. Don’t forget your equipment
Just because you’re running things outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t need equipment. Running things outdoors makes it a little more complicated, but it is likely you still require lighting, sound systems, other such electronics and maybe even Wi-Fi access. Your venue may have a portable generator or you might invest in one.
Hint: extension cords, duck tape and synch cords are an outdoor event planners best friend; keep paths in mind when laying down wires, and pay attention to power stations.
5. Keep your guests comfortable
Sometimes, you might host an outdoor event at a facility specifically designed for just such an occasion. If so, that’s great! One of the hardest parts of your job is taken care of! Otherwise, well… you’ve got a bit of work ahead of you.
You need to see to amenities such as seating and tables, lighting (if an evening event) and, most importantly, outhouses and sanitation facilities. Consider if natural shade available, or electric fans are another idea. You’re also going to want to keep a steady supply of drinking water and food available. This tidbit might not cross your mind, but it’s worth checking the pest control status of the area. A beach wedding with Horseflies is no fun!
Another hint: hand wipes and sanitizer, sunscreen and bug spray, light blankets and a first aid kit may come in handy.
Summer is here and BBQ, outdoor weddings and office field trips are around the corner. Embrace the nice weather and plan an outdoor affair, but cover your bases and enjoy what Mother Nature has in store!
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