Outdoor Events: Everything you need to know about organising an outdoor event
Any event manager knows outdoor events come with their own set of unique challenges. However, if you are organised and follow a checklist you won’t come across any nasty surprises along the way.
If you are in charge of organising outdoor events it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. There is a multitude of different issues that can arise, simply from being outside. But the outdoors can also provide unique spaces and there’s nothing quite like it when the weather’s playing ball. Having said that, it can be challenging. That is why we have come up with a list of guidelines specifically for outdoor events.
12 Tips for staging outdoor events
Make sure your event is suitable for an outdoor setting
Before you even think about the logistics of an outdoors event you should seriously consider whether it will work outside. Some events that rely on a high level of technology are going to be too difficult to stage.
Is your venue suitable for the type of event you want?
You might have a venue in mind, for example, parks, fields, even beaches, but are they suitable for the public? Can they be accessed easily and more importantly safely? Can they be closed to the general public? What is the capacity of the space? Can you get catering/furniture/electrical goods in and out easily?
Get the proper permits
As soon as you have decided on a suitable venue go and get your permit. It won’t matter how far down the line you have prepared your event if you don’t have the permit you won’t get off the ground.
Check with local councils about any restrictions
Local councils have different rules about restrictions such as noise levels after a certain time. So don’t assume that your event in a neighbouring county that blasted out tunes until 2 am will be fine for this one. Check also about advertising and seating restrictions.
Talk to local fire and police departments
You know that the safety of your guests is of upmost importance. To help keep your guests safe talk to the fire chiefs and the police who will assist you in planning quick and effective exits from your event in case of an emergency.
Look at what the venue already has
Is the venue already an outdoor facility? If so your work is greatly simplified as you’ll probably have things like power points, entrances and exits, lighting etc. If it’s not you are dealing with a totally blank canvas. That means you are going to have to bring everything in yourself. That means electricity, toilets, catering, seats, communications, everything. And don’t forget, what you have brought into the site needs to be taken away when the event is over.
Factor in loading times
Talking about taking away equipment, one important detail even the most experienced event managers can forget is loading times. The equipment takes time to load and set up. Make sure you factor these times into your event. It might mean adding five or six hours onto the start and end and billing this time to your client.
Logistics of the venue
The easiest way to factor in loading times and get accurate results is to go to the venue, take pictures and get a layout of the space. Then look at the entrances and exits and mark where you want your guests to arrive, sit, leave etc. Denote where your crew will set up and where vendors will go. Use your map of the venue to coordinate with all of your suppliers and note down parking, deliveries, loading areas etc.
Don’t forget about lighting
Most event managers will plan their event during the day when they can see what is going on. But if the event is taking place during the evening or at night it is important to walk it through during this time period. This is so you can get a sense of what lighting you are going to need. For example, walkways for guests to and from restrooms and parking.
Think about the comfort of your guests
Outdoors can be hot or cold. And the chances are you are not going to know until it’s too late. If your guests are comfortable they will enjoy your event. Provide water stations with free water on hot days or blankets and hot drinks on the cold ones.
Have a Plan B for rainy days
If there is the slightest chance of rain choose a venue that has some kind of shelter nearby. Or you can bring your own. Portable pavilions provide temporary cover for showers.
Clean up when you have gone
In this age of plastic pollution it is really important to leave the space we have occupied as we found it. Remove litter and send any plastic to be recycled. If you can, ask guests not to bring plastic and provide them with alternatives.