When To Run The Event
The crucial factors
The day, date and time of the event are crucial factors, but they are factors that are sometimes lost in the drive to deliver an event or show. It is common sense that a summer fair will fail if it is run in early January and a skiing demonstration will probably fail if run without snow in high summer. Read this chapter and consider the factors that could affect your event day, date and timing.
Many events are centred on leisure activities and as such will attract an audience only if they are held during leisure time. This automatically restricts the days on which leisure events can be held to days when most people are not working – Saturday, Sunday or an occasional Bank Holiday Monday or Friday. Similarly, a work-related event such as an office furniture show will probably attract a better audience if it is run on a weekday.
The date is quite significant as well. Some events will be limited to a specific period, e.g. the football or cricket season, while others will be limited for other reasons. For example running an event on Friday the 13th will probably not attract as big an audience as it could have on another day, because the superstitious will stay safely at home.
Similarly, any event on the day of a football cup final match, or another significant national sporting fixture or occasion, will not attract as many visitors as it could on 48 another day.
Some occupations and pastimes are seasonal. Generally, flower shows can only easily be held in the growing season, so not many flower shows will be organised for the winter months.
Another consideration is the weather. A severe drought may make a river level drop to the point where a canoeing display and event cannot be held. Heavy rain may simply flood an event site, or make the field a quagmire, preventing an agricultural show from being held.
Clashes with other events
This consideration is often ignored! As most events are held during good weather, there is by default an ‘events season’, which generally runs from about April to September, peaking during July and August. Many event organisers will aim to set their event on a bank holiday weekend, which gives them a chance to run a three-day event, gives the public a longer leisure period and so makes them more likely to attend.
The problem here is that event organisers often fail to take into account that several, if not dozens, of other event organisers are probably arranging events for the same bank holiday weekend.
I have seen many events fail because there are simply too many other events running at the same time, or that there is one major event running in competition and visitors fail to appear.
During your research and discussions with the police and local authorities, try to find out what other events are being organised in your area. Also keep an eye out in the press, or on notice boards. Find out the location, type, size etc. of other events and use that information in deciding when to run your event.
The time you expect to open and close the event is important. You must take into account the size and type of the event, the time it will take stallholders and exhibitors to travel in and prepare their displays, the geographical distance you expect most of your audience will be travelling, access to the site and the availability of public transport etc.
You should choose your opening hours to maximise the period during which the paying public can gain access and spend money. You must balance this with the need allow yourself time to set up the attractions and sufficient time to clean up and strip down afterwards.
Not surprisingly a night fishing competition/event will be held at night and in the fishing season. For best effect there may be other factors that need to be considered, for example the presence or absence of a full moon and tidal movements etc. Knowing what event you want to organise and having the appropriate expertise will be a huge benefit to you in planning and organising it. If you don’t have the appropriate skills and knowledge you must have access to people who do and you must constantly check with them to make sure that your proposed arrangements are suitable for the event being proposed.
Your target audience may well contribute to your consideration as to when to run the event. In the simplest case, a primary school sports day will be run during a weekday, in term time and during school hours. Similarly, an archery competition will have to start early enough for all competitors to be able to compete in the heats, while still allowing the finals to be held during daylight unless you have an expensive floodlit arena!