Event Strategies – Fun or Not?

The best SCA event that I have ever attended…Very Disappointed…

Well certainly these comments must be referring to two different events! Nope!

I often follow what is going on at events that I can’t attend because I am curious and I have friends there. And the variations in response to a recent event made me think about why folks were having such a different response, and what I might be able to do to give people a clue for happier future events.

All of the people that I was “following” are the sort who usually have a good time at events. They are not whiners, and they always find fun things to do at an assortment of events. But I was seeing some wildly different responses to the same event, and tracking down the issues was not initially straight forward. And then I realized what the biggest difference was – “hoteling it” vs. camping.

Now I have to admit, unless an event is happening at a hotel, I don’t usually prefer to “hotel it”. I like to get to an event, get my camp set up, and change into garb. I then stay in garb until it is time to break down and go home. At long events like Pennsic we almost always stay in garb when we go into town. We prefer the “immersion” approach to SCA camping.

So the people that I talked to were hoteling it, because they had flown to the event. When they arrived all they had to do was change into their garb and show up at the site. And they arrived on one of the first days of the event, when everyone else was in the process of setting up their camps and getting themselves organized for an extended camping event. So there was nothing to do. There were not a lot of things on the schedule to start with, and some of them were canceled because people had not arrived yet.

BIG CLUE! Check the event schedule. If you have any doubts about there being enough going on at the beginning of the event, then come a little later. If the schedules are not being published early enough for you to be sure what is on them, come a little later. Statistically there will be more happening in the middle and near the end of an event than at the very beginning. For instance, at past Pennsic Wars ordinary people were allowed on site on Saturday. A&S classes don’t start until Tuesday. So, if your main goal is to attend A&S classes, and you can only be there for a portion of the event, come later in the event. Now this may seem obvious, but if you are accustomed to mostly four or five day events, it may not be obvious. The shorter the event the more people tend to “hit the ground running”. Classes and activities start almost instantly, because if they don’t there will not be enough time for them.

Next Time: The Long Event Mindset

Pennsic Schedule