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Bigger Events Need Better Planning

A Personnel Plan to Help You with Your Organization

By Tracy Lundeen

Here are some staffing details to think about when
planning a bigger outdoor event.

Event Personnel can cover everything from security, box
office, site up/down and stage/stagehand crew.
Depending on the type event you are holding some or all of these personnel requirements may or may not be relevant for your event. The key with personnel for any event is having responsible key people in charge of specific duties. Many events, particularly community festivals and celebrations depend greatly on volunteer help. When using volunteers always be prepared for the worst case scenario when determining the number of people needed.
Remember, there is a very distinct possibility that with volunteers you are getting exactly what you pay for. A strong suggestion when using volunteers is to turn to your local service organization ie: Lions, Rotary, Shriners, scouts, Jaycees, etc. Give those organizations specific areas of duty/responsibility and make a donation to their organization for their “civic involvement”. They are VERY reliable.

Consult with your local police department so you are in compliance with ordinances/laws that pertain to the type of event you are having. Normally when alcohol is served you are required to have specific numbers of off duty uniformed Police in the Beer Serving areas. The police will also suggest to you from a historical perspective what kind of security they feel you need for your event.

You can utilize your own “security people” (t-shirt
security) for things like enforcing perimeters for
admission events, back stage security for concerts, etc. In some cases you can “compromise” by using a state licensed security
company for some needs. This will give you trained (and sometimes armed) security personnel at a lower cost than off duty uniformed police.

Back Stage
This area is mostly relevant if you are presenting regional or national entertainers that may have special contractual security demands for their performance at your event. Refer to the entertainer’s contract and rider for requirements.

Box Office
When charging admission and/or collecting admission fees this is your number one personnel and security concern. The MONEY. You need to have trustworthy and competent people in these areas. Oftentimes for civic events a treasurer or auditor from the city is ideal to be in charge of the box office. Bank tellers make ideal ticket sellers as they are accurate and efficient with money.

Stage Hands
Refer to the contracts and riders of your entertainers and production providers for specific requirements. A stage hand should be an ambitious, able bodied person. Following instructions and lifting is a requirement. If you do not provide stage hands that you have agreed to in your contract or rider you could very well find yourself in a breach of contract.

Site Up/Down
These are the people that are going to do a number of physical
jobs relating to getting your event site ready. Installing temporary fencing, putting tents up, etc. These should be able bodied people that follow instructions and are not afraid of physical work.

Don’t overlook how important your site layout is

From the perimeter to the center, your site layout is everything!
Where your food, exhibitors, attractions, crafters, portable toilets and entertainment stages are located can mean the difference between a great event and a poor event!

ACCESS is the key word! You want accessibility to all of your vendors and activities and you do not want one to distract from another. Maintain adequate walkways for the public (keep in mind handicap and stroller access, etc.). Try to avoid sharing walkways for patrons with vehicles other than small motorized vehicles for trash pickup and staff transportation and security.

Following are several examples regarding simple layout issues that will get you thinking about your layout. Avoid distractions like putting a climbing wall or bounce house for kids next to the free family entertainment stage or having loud distracting attractions or activities next to areas that need a quieter atmosphere. Also, always keep portable toilets away from food vendors. You’d be surprised at how many times that mistake happens. Analyze and think through your layout decisions. Additionally, make sure you maintain accessibility for your vendors as well as your patrons. Make sure you have easy access in and out for your food vendors to re-supply and if you need pumping service for portable toilets you have to have easy access in and out for the pump truck.

Don’t forget that you have to have access for entertainers/production people to easily load and unload on to the stage and make provisions for parking for them. If you follow the intent of this all your layout planning will be much easier. One final thing, make sure that you have access passes for all of your vendors, workers, entertainers, etc. to allow them easy access to areas they are authorized to be in. No pass-no access. Very simple.