Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Event planning

So, I'm planning an event and I thought that it would be interesting (to me at least) to share the event process. If nothing else it will get my process out on 'paper', and maybe someone might find it interesting and/or useful. I've had this event in my mind for a couple of weeks now so I'll have to roll back a bit. As always this is written from my perspective and others may have different perspectives on events.

The discussion on the group mailing list went something like "what's happening for yule?", "nothing - stewards had to bail", "oh, so what's coming up next", "nothing". Then two people popped up, one with an event late October but 360 KM away, another with a range of events for newcomers, no specific date. Ok, that's cool, but I'm not a newcomer, no, no I'm not. I felt the need for something more, the brain started to rev up and spat out the following. "Burn baby burn."

An event to burn for - event initiation

The first part of event planning is conception. In my book a good SCA event has to satisfy the following.
  1. Medieval origin: a good event has its basis in a specific medieval event or past time. Not only does it offer a broadly medieval context for the populace to play out their medievilishness but it offers an opportunity to learn something real about the medieval world, even if only subtly. (I guess this is my laurel side coming out)
  2. Nuts and bolts: all the event planning stuff - you need a site, things for people to do, play and mingle.
  3. Paperwork: SCA and mundane legal requirements need to be satisfied.
Normally either an idea springs into my mind (often from something I've been reading) or I have a specific venue or opportunity in mind. This time it was the fact that at some point Nick and I have to gather up all the branches that came off in our last shelter trimming and burn it in a bonfire. And this has to be done before the summer fire ban season comes into play later this year, probably October/November. So that is my opportunity.

There are also often constraints at play when planning an event. In this case our group only accepts event proposals with 3 months notice. Given that the next council meeting is June that means my event needs to be in September or October. There's already an event being proposed for October, albeit far away from home, so September is my best bet. The first month of spring.

Spring has always been an important time of year in the medieval world. I needed a theme that fitted spring and allowed for a bonfire... some kind of early period pagan equinox festival sounds about right - and the equinox is Sept 23 - mid week but that lets me aim for the Saturday before and have the following as back-up. So the next thing to do (while my mind is busily filling the first criteria above) is to ascertain whether I can run something on that date. No point going to all the effort of planning and paperwork if the necessary dates are unavailable. A quick email to the seneschal is enough to a) give him an idea of what I'm planning and, b) check that the date is available. Which brings me to one of my chief event planning rules: communicate with the necessary SCA officers frequently.

So that's probably enough for now. There were actually a lot of details decided between the first 'run an event' impulse and confirming a date and I'll go into that in my next post.

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