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Inside Events and Festivals The official publication of the Washington Festivals & Events Association

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Annual WFEA Conference Set for Bellevue, April 3-5

How to develop a strategic plan for events

Inside Chocolate on the Beach Festival and the Importance of Disaster Preparedness


The Lineup Networking in Bellevue Mike Berry of the renowned Kentucky Derby Festival will keynote the WFEA annual educational conference Page 4

Developing A Strategic Plan for Events The vital exercise of strategic planning for a successful event Page 6

Chocolate Bombs An inside look of how the Chocolate on the Beach Festival handled WWII 20mm anti-aircraft high explosive rounds washing up on their beach Page 10

Certification Program To Be Launched The ultimate educational and achievement experience for WFEA members Page 12


25 Years of Professional Development Be a part of the northwest’s premier gathering of event professionals


The Northwest’s premier annual gathering of festival and event professionals for learning and networking will be held April 3-5 at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue. The conference will feature three days of intensive workshops, educational sessions, and keynote presentations from local and national industry leaders. The Washington Festivals and Events Association has been producing a professional development conference for the past 25 years. Over 30 professional development sessions will be presented during the three day conference, which will allow for attendees to connect with business leaders. For more information and registration:

Click Here See page 16-19 for the full conference schedule.


Developing A Strategic Plan for Events By Jon Stone, Principal, CEA Partners


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t has never been easy to produce a successful event. The pace of change in all aspects of our lives and businesses is only increasing and that trend shows no sign of reversing. For generations of event producers, the old annual cycle of event, analysis, rest, tweak and repeat worked well enough. That model began to fail in the early 2000’s and as is so often the case in our industry the largest events began to feel the change first. Fast forward to present time and virtually all of us have felt the pain and the panic of tried and true methods no longer achieving the classic results. A mentor once taught me that everything in business happens gradually, then suddenly. Over the past 10 years in particular I have seen the notion of formal long-range strategic planning for events evolve from something that was not widely understood, to becoming a nice-to-have, to becoming essential. Setting annual goals and following through is no longer good enough; the environments we operate in change far too quickly now. A critical component of strategic planning is to clearly understand the various perspectives each of us hold. I use an airplane analogy that describes our perspectives in terms of altitude. Sometimes we are on the ground. The ground is analogous to our every-day work. You could also call this the weeds. The ground perspective represents an internal view of your event or organization; it is how the team sees itself. When we look out our airplane window while on the ground, we see busy people all around. This environment is full of detail, and you can never quite get ahead of the work, nor is the work ever truly done. This environment is relentless and ultimately this is where we make our magic. Your value proposition, mission and vision live here. Occasionally we climb to a bit of altitude, say tenthousand feet. Up here we can still breath the air, although the air is getting thin and as a result we might have a little difficulty thinking clearly from time to time. This altitude is synonymous with our industry. All the other players live here, our partners, our competitors, our suppliers, our sponsors and so forth. When we look out the window of our airplane now, we no longer see a lot of the fine detail, but we can still easily orient ourselves. We can see roads and lakes and houses. For most events, this might be

where we try to get to at our annual planning retreat. This is a different perspective than we have on the ground, but it’s an important perspective because we don’t exist in a vacuum. At thirty thousand feet our perspective is very different. We can no longer see any degree of detail. We can tell the difference between mountains and oceans. We can see larger cities down below, but we can’t easily tell one from another. There are no people to be seen, no cars…not even any festivals can be seen from up here. This is the macro environment, and in my experience most event producers spend no material time at this altitude whatsoever, nor do they understand its importance. The macro environment is where the most important longer-term trends live, including trends in technology, politics, economy and social trends as well. In the 21st century you simply cannot develop meaningful strategy without identifying and understanding the macro environment. This altitude is loaded with uncertainty. Our long-term risk lives here, which is why it is so essential to understand. Sadly, very few events manage to ever achieve this altitude in their planning. Of those who do, virtually all find it disorienting and difficult to work in, much like they are trying to breath the air and it is far too thin. It is easy to abandon this altitude and retreat to the more familiar and controllable environments below. It is hard work to be this high in the air, but if we approach our planning smartly we don’t have to be up here long. An easy way to visualize how the macro environment can affect business is to use the Boeing Company Commercial Airplanes division as an example. Boeing makes the world’s best commercial aircraft, period. Some of their products have enjoyed very long lifespans, like the 747 and the 737. Others had much shorter lifespans, like the 757 and 767. All are equally brilliant aircraft. But over time macro forces impacted different aircraft types in very different ways. For example, global population and business centers shifted geographically, new economies emerge around the world that made air travel more accessible, and most importantly technology improved the efficiency of new aircraft which allowed for vastly improved fuel mileage. Continued


should be able to concisely name the categories of customers served and their needs, as well as make a big bet as to who the future customers are going to be and how their needs will be different. The plan should allow for no ambiguity as to the events true position in the marketplace, not per our ground-level opinions but from altitude.

Put all of those macro events together, none of which has any direct correlation to Boeing’s day to day ground-level activities, and the playing field shifted under the entire industry. The result was old air routes, for which the 757 and 767 were specifically designed in terms of mileage and capacity, were phased out and new routes with new design requirements were phased in. That is where the 777 and 787 came from… new products designed to keep up with the changing macro environment.

Aspirations should be determined on a three-year timescale, but there should be no illusion that there is a set-and-forget path from today to those aspirations. Instead, one-year bold steps should be identified that begin to define a road that heads in the general direction of the aspirations with the understanding that the route is going to come across many twists and forks and obstacles and will need to be revisited occasionally along the journey. Lastly, from the annual bold steps a series of quarterly key objectives should be derived that constitute a road map for the year. Everything… the aspirations, the bold steps, the key objectives… everything needs to be measurable. I use the formula “X, as defined by Y, by Z timeframe”. If you can’t measure your goals, you are not likely to know if you ever got there or not.

But the 767 was and still is an outstanding airplane! That does not matter. The 757 is universally known as an all-time pilot’s favorite aircraft to fly! That does not matter. Generations of passengers have used these aircraft for important life events! That does not matter. The future customer needs changed, gradually then suddenly. The macro environment always drives these changes.

Modern strategic planning is hard work, but it need not take inordinate time. Often I find a good initial plan can be developed in a total of 24-40 hours of focused, facilitated group time, spread out over a period of a few weeks. Once you go through the heavy lift of developing a proper plan, subsequent annual planning becomes much less time consuming and burns fewer brain cells.

Another absolutely critical component of strategic planning is outside facilitation, and I say that for one simple reason: Without fail, it is impossible to objectively analyze your world from inside of your own bubble. By virtue of being human beings our brains are hard-wired for bias. We can be aware of it, and endeavor to be better than our biases, but we can never totally defeat them. An experienced outside facilitator easily shines a friendly light on our biases, allowing an opportunity for true objectivity and also freeing up every team member brain to fully engage in the analytical and creative processes at hand.

Strategic planning is essential in today’s business environment. A defining characteristic of proper strategic planning, counterintuitive as this sounds, is that you can be dead wrong. Strategic planning at its essence is positioning for future competitive advantage. In order to do that, you have to gather all the information you possibly can from your various altitudes and form big bets about what the future is going to look like, thus you can easily be wrong. If you have an annual plan and it feels safe and comfortable and easily achievable to you, that’s not a strategic plan. That is simply repeating what has already happened in the past.

A modern strategic plan should make crystal clear the vision, mission and value proposition of the event. It


Chocolate Bombs By Lt. Stephanie Allestad Grays Harbor Fire District #8 Chocolate on the Beach Festival


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e joke about everything we’ve had to deal with at the Chocolate on the Beach Festival. We embraced the winter season on the Washington coast with our tagline, “It’s Always Raining Chocolate!”. We’ve dealt with the usual sideways rain, microbursts with banners flying off to Japan, Batman in the snow and even a mini Tsunami or two. When I’m not working on our festival, I’m heavily involved with disaster preparedness for my fire district’s jurisdiction and for our county. Opening day of our festival, I had to attend a very serious county meeting by phone. Our Coastal Evacuation Workgroup has been trying to work on getting our county all on the same page. So, when the worst happens, we are all prepared with the same plan. We discovered that day that Communication and Education was something we needed to work on. On Saturday night of the festival I received a panicky call from an accommodation asking me what the explosions on the beach were? I had heard something, but thought it was someone setting of fireworks, as we get that a lot. My first call was to State Parks as they are the main jurisdiction on the beach. They had received a text explaining the situation. WWII 20mm anti-aircraft high explosive rounds were washing up on our beach. Unstable little bombs, that when detonated shake your houses and buildings. People were bringing these into crowded bars, accommodations, restaurants, the GYM where the vendors were and driving all over town in their vehicles with their families! Nobody was told about it, until I started making calls and then seeing posts on Facebook. They knew 2 days prior and didn’t let anybody know about it till after they had bomb squads detonating them. No press releases saying, “Hey, don’t pick this stuff up on the beach, they can accidentally go off.”, no call to State Parks, 9-1-1, fire departments or even tribal. No thought about families with kids out on break or a festival going on.

I wrote an email to several agencies, explaining what I had to deal with as member of my fire department and as an event organizer. I spent over an hour on the phone with my contact at the Sheriff’s office. We went over the timeline of events and worked out where communication and education can be used in the future. In the next month, this will be brought up at EVERY meeting we attend. The good news is, because of my email, they realized there was another event the following weekend…the annual Beachcomber’s Fair in Ocean Shores. They contacted the coordinator and gave them information on how to deal with the situation at hand. What if this was your event? When something like this happens, event organizers need to know what is going on too. Think about how you would have handled the information. How would you get a heads up or warning out? As event organizers we should have a good relationship with our first responders. We need to stop thinking of them as enforcers and start working with them as partners. When something bad happens, it’s easier and more efficient to resolve the problem when everyone has the same plan.


Certification Program To Be Launched at WFEA Annual Conference The ultimate educational and achievement experience for WFEA members


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he Washington Festivals and Events Association has established a certification program that will offer the ultimate educational and achievement experience for WFEA members. The Association will kick it off at its annual conference in Bellevue April 3-5. Registrants who attend the allday pre-convention sponsorship workshop on Wednesday, April 3, can earn CLEP credit:

Conference Registration The CLEP program will offer all-day, in-depth educational sessions and hands-on experience at festivals and events that will provide event professionals knowledge at the highest level of their field. Upon completion of requirements, graduates will earn the title of Certified Live Event Planner (CLEP). “It will also offer recognition to people who have gone the extra step to learn about the festivals and events industry,” said WFEA Executive Director Bruce Skinner. “With it will come increased professional status and potentially compensation.” The WFEA Certification program is overseen by the WFEA Professional Education Board of Managers, a body appointed and made up of top industry professionals and educators. The Board establishes the curriculum, engages faculty, provides expertise, and monitors progress by students seeking certification. To achieve certification, candidates must complete items on the CLEP check list:

CLEP Check List To Register For The CLEP Program Click Here:

Register Now


Congratulations! George Sharp, Rural Program Manager, The Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) advocate of the year award Work in the rural communities including on the Bucoda Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular.


WFEA Conference Schedule April 3-5, 2019

Red Lion, Bellevue


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 10:15 - 11:15 AM The Nuts and Bolts of Building and Strike Mike Prebezac, Event Management Services Learn the basics of how to set up your event at the lowest possible price. This session will also delve into what type of vendors you should use in order to make your event efficient and safe.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2019 PRE- CONFERENCE WORKSHOP SPECIAL EVENT SPONSORSHIP* 9:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M.

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Sponsorship Marketing Plan Outstanding Events and Leadership Sell Sponsorship

Let’s Make a Deal Mike Berry, CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival Just like the popular game show, sponsorship activation can be a game of negotiation, strategy and choices. Should you keep providing the benefits you offer to a sponsor or entice them to trade for what’s behind Door Number Two?

Researching Potential Partners Benefit Packages Activation and Being Creative The Keys to Successful Sales Sponsorship Fulfillment How to Keep Sponsors Coming Back

Instructors: Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival; Melissa Jurcan, Compass Group, USA; John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions, Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing *THESE PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS WILL QUALIFY FOR WASHINGTON CERTIFIED FESTIVAL AND EVENT CREDIT. (REQUIRES SEPARATE REGISTRATION)

AFFINITY SESSIONS 4:00 - 5:30 PM These sessions are held for professionals on a specific topic. Held in a roundtable setting, attendees can pick their topic and ask questions in an informal setting. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people in your area of expertise.

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ASSET (A Seattle Special Events Team): David Doxtater, Beth Knox, Co-Chairs Sponsorship: Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing Music Events: Erika Olsen, Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, Portland Waterfront Blues Festival Performing and Visual Art Events: Jon Stone, CEA Partners Parks and Recreation Departments: Mark Hendrickson, City of Kent Healthy Active Lifestyle Events: Jared Loranger, Fizz Events; Tom Anderson, AndEvents, Inc.; Patty Swedberg, Raise the Bar Events Marketing/Social Media: John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions Event Production: Mike Prebezac, Event Management Services

Update on Liquor and Cannabis Laws for Festival and Event Organizers Enforcement Sergeant Steve Telstad, Lt. Steve Grassfield, Officer Kevin Russom, and Licensing Customer Service Manager Beth Lehman Here what all event organizers should know about this very important subject. The WSLCB Licensing and Enforcement Divisions will be educating you on having safe and legal events with alcohol. They will cover types of licensing and permits, ways to obtain and sell alcohol, and relationships with alcohol industry members at events. Although cannabis can’t be sold at festivals and other related events, they will also discuss the new world of cannabis related events such as trade shows. The Greening of Events Melissa Johnston, Waste Connections of Washington, Sally Fisher, Clark County A growing trend is that event attendees are becoming more aware of the environment. Learn the many ways on how you can green up your event.

NETWORK SUPPLIER LUNCH 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM Building Connections – Expo Speed Dating Discover the latest trends in our industry with many top event suppliers and producers. Each table at the lunch will be hosted by a vendor/ exhibitor, who will distribute materials and discuss the merits of their product with fellow table members. During the four course lunch, each table will be visited by four different suppliers, who will discuss four different topics.

NEW COMERS SESSION 5:30 - 6:00 PM First timers are urged to come and meet WFEA Board members and learn how they can best learn from the conference experience.

OPENING RECEPTION 6:00 - 8:00 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019 OPENING KEYNOTE 9:00 - 10:00 AM Deal or No Deal: Mike Berry, CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival The loss of a major sponsor can be challenging to the financial wellbeing of any event. However, the impact isn’t just measured in sponsorship fees. We will discuss a case study of how the Kentucky Derby Festival replaced an event sponsor while ensuring a viable future and reassuring a nervous public.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 1:45 - 2:45 PM Pass the Pepper: Spicy Ways to Increase Food and Beverage Sales Jody May, Festivals Inc. Food, along with boutique spirits, wine and Craft Beer focused events have taken over the festival landscape in the past 10 years, and with that, have created an increased level of competition that currently challenges major festival producers to step up their game, stay relevant and find new and creative ways to increase food and beverage sales. It takes more than just great food. Join Jody May, President, and Trudi Webster, Media Director and Culinary Liaison from Festivals. Inc. to hear about current trends, social media and marketing, and the value of how local knowledge and partnerships can assist to ‘spice up sales,’ at your festival. Website Visibility Jon Stone, CEA Partners Explore SEO tips and tricks that can help you better connect with those who are searching for your product or service. Learn about best practices including link-building, site speed, long-tail keywords and image optimization. Discuss the shifting role of websites in an increasingly social environment. The Volunteer Staff Partnership Trevor Lane, WSU Ferry County Extension Volunteers are an essential part of festivals and events. There are three evidence-based aspects to supporting festival and event volunteers in your community: recruit, reward, and retain. Learn how these aspects can improve your festival and help volunteers feel engaged and appreciated. Events and Municipalities Chris Swenson, Film + Special Events Program Manager/Seattle Special Events Committee Chair Whether you’re working in a big or small market, having a positive working relationship with your City is crucial. Learn about what municipalities need to know about your events, and how to keep elected officials, police, fire, and other regulatory agencies in the loop in order to make your event successful and safe for your attendees. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 3:00 - 4:00 PM Insurance – Are You Ready? Dale Johnson, Francis L. Dean & Associates This session will cover what to insure against, and how to apply for coverage and get the best deal. Here ideas on walk-throughs, golf carts, certificates of insurance, volunteers and several other subjects.

the 1,000’s of festivals taking place annually. Learn how the National Lentil Festival was in the New York and L.A. Times in its second year of existence in 1990 and how the Tiny Town of Bucoda, Washington and their first year Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular Festival received an estimated $100,000 of earned media in 2018, including a 2 minute segment on King5 News.

Festivals and Events on the Microsoft Campus Microsoft Panel led by Melissa Jurcan, Principal, Compass Group, USA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 4:15 - 5:15 PM Building a Marketing and Communications Plan John Thorburn, Bold Hat Productions The success of every event hinges on an effective plan to attract guests or ticket buyers. Learn how to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan and build your own playbook to increase engagement and grow attendance. 4 Easy Steps to a Waste-free Event! Heather Teegarden, CSEP, Natural Resources Outreach Programs Coordinator, WSU Snohomish County Extension Did you know that converting your event to "waste-free" can actually save you money? Join this fun and engaging session to learn the steps to success for planning your next event or festival. We will cover the benefits, the challenges, and the solutions that make it possible, with real event examples and templates that you can use for your next event! New recycling rules will be covered too! Why We Sponsor What We Do Corporate Sponsorship Representatives Erin Combs, Head of Marketing, Lyft Learning From Your Mistakes Craig Cooke, Pacific Rim Talent As event organizers we all make mistakes. Look at these mistakes as opportunities to learn a better way. Craig will share some of his blunders and then discuss the lessons learned and the remedies moving forward. Blunders include incorrect placement of vendor booths as they pertain to water drainage, fire lanes, power lines, and facing the sun. Handling signature gatherers, service animals, and public nuisances. Placement of Port a Potties and generators in relation to the neighbors. WFEA AWARDS AND AUCTION DINNER 5:45 PM Help us recognize the best of our industry, as we welcome new inductees into the WFEA Hall of Fame and the winners of the Summit Awards, which embodies the best of the festival and events industry.

Practical Project Management David Doxtater, The Workshop One of the Northwest’s leading event producers will give a practical approach to planning and managing a complex live event project. Learn how to budget, develop a team, track work flow and milestones, document a production plan, and how to train and manage an onsite team. Standout-ness George Sharp, Rural Program Manager for the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business and Innovation This session is both for you as a professional and for your festival or event. You will learn ideas on how to be seen as leader and expert in your field and community, as well as how to have your festival or event standout from

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Friday, April 5, 2019 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 8:30 - 9:30 AM Operations From Vision to Reality (2 hr., 15 minute session) Becky Genoways, Genoways Event Management, Rockford, IL Operations contributes significantly to the success of any event or festival. This session covers four main elements of operations: site selection and design, event infrastructure, support services, and planning and implementation tools. Successfully planning for these essential operations elements can make or break an event and the planning tools provided will make the event planning and execution appear seamless. Developing Programming for Your Event Peggy Doering, Spokane Valleyfest Whether you are a new or old event, programming needs to be constantly refreshed. Learn how to get new ideas in order to keep up with your audience’s expectations. Also discover how to utilize community resources to beef up your event.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS 9:45 - 10:45 AM Beginner’s Panel: Ask the Experts Bruce Skinner, WFEA, moderator; David Doxtater, Workshop Events, Beth Knox, formerly of Special Olympics USA Games Bring your questions to this seasoned panel of event producers. Between them they have over 125 years of experience! Event Disaster Management Robert Ezelle, Washington State Emergency Management Director Robert Mitchell, Director of Community Disaster Medicine Events will never be disaster-proof, but they can be disaster ready. Learn how you can develop a program that will provide for safety for community leaders, first responders, bystander/victims, as well as festival performers and the audience.

Lessons Learned at Big Festivals Greg Flakus, GF Strategies, Bonnaroo, Coachella Many festivals sometimes say we are small and we don't have the same challenges as big festivals do. Come hear Greg Flakus from GF Strategies Measuring Economic Impact share with you what he has learned from working with three of the Scott Nagel, Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, Port Angeles largest music festivals in North America, and two of the most successful The need for information about the economic impact and in the world. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Outside Lands. Greg will share his demographics of the audiences of festivals and events has never been findings from having worked with these festivals as they have evolved greater. Festival management is serious business, but sometimes it’s difficult to persuade government, sponsors, and business, that a festival in the past five years. He will share how these festivals have managed to adapt to the attendee and create new concepts every year. contributes to the economic vitality of your community. Learn the basics of economic impact and demographic studies, what they can do CLOSING KEYNOTE for your organization, and how this can answer those LTAC grant 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM questions required by the State. Ten Steps to Maximize Your Revenue: Becky Genoways, Genoways Event Management, Rockford IL Working With the Washington Tourism Alliance In an industry that is constantly looking for new revenue streams and Mike Moe, Managing Director, Washington Tourism Alliance 2018 marked a significant milestone for Washington’s tourism industry, how to maximize current streams, this is a “Top 10” checklist of critical areas to revisit at your event for increasing non-sponsorship revenues. as the legislature unanimously supported legislation to reestablish statewide tourism marketing. Learn what’s underway, what’s planned for the future, and how events can benefit.

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Inside Events and Festivals - March 2019  

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