As warm weather comes around, more outdoor events are planned. These can be lovely, but be forewarned — outdoor events are sometimes much more difficult to organize than indoor events.
Here are some tips on how to plan an outdoor event and to minimize stress:
1. Get a permit
Do this as soon as you’ve finalized where and when you'll have your outdoor event. Do this first. The fastest way to shut down an event is to hold it without a permit.
2. Check up on all ordinances
What are the noise ordinances? Every town has them. Is noise prohibited after a certain time? You should also look into fire and safety codes. The latter may have restrictions on overselling tickets, advertisements, and seating. Talk to the state and local authorities, the local fire department and the police about these.
3. Some outdoor events need more work than others
Is your event being held in an already existing outdoor facility? Great! That cuts your work in half. Otherwise, are you targeting a raw, uncommon area? Then advanced planning and coordination are critical. You can expect to be in charge of everything — power, toilets, communications, equipment, and food, among others. Make arrangements to bring everything to the venue, and taking everything out of the venue after the event is done.
4. Load in, load out
Think beyond the event schedule itself, and factor in “loading in” and “loading out” time for everything, including arrangements for power, security, sanitation and other elements of the outdoor event.
5. Logistics and layout
Take photos of the venue, including a sketch and use markers to denote where you want your vendors, et. al. to be set up. How will the equipment be loaded in? The crew and guests? Have a meeting at the venue in advance, with all of your suppliers, so that you can all coordinate the downloading of equipment, parking of trucks, parking space for guests, and other possible needs.
Foodway stations, DJ, and areas that will need lights all will need power stations. If there are not enough, tell your vendors to bring extension cords, and check the power load per plug. Coffee makers and crock pots should not share extension cords with sound equipment. Also, have a back-up power system on standby.
7. Ensure the comfort of guests
Have a steady supply of drinking water and drinking fountains. Make sure they're spread all around the venue. Some events, like concerts, provide hosing for crowds. Consider renting portable air conditioners, too.
You don’t want any mistakes made here. A lack of restroom facilities, or poor toilet facilities, can ruin your event. Make sure you have enough sanitation equipment not just for the guests but also for the crew.
9. Pest control
Have an exterminator spray the area. Take note of how long it will take after extermination for the food to be safely set up in the area. Keep cans of light scent (such as aloe) repellant handy, and incorporate decorative citronella candles. Decorative plate covers can keep the food protected and also make the table setting look attractive.
Keep a few electric fans running. It keeps the guests comfortable and blows the mosquitoes away. Another strategy: Place a plate full of sugar water around the perimeter area to keep the bugs busy and out of your party.
Keep hand wipes, light blankets, sunblock, bug spray, wraps and any other things available that you think will make your guests more comfortable.
An evening event will require lights even for exit paths, walkways and parking areas for convenience and safety.
12. Health precautions
Have medical professionals on standby, especially if your event is in a remote area. Or at least keep a first-aid kit handy. Prepare a list of the nearest hospitals with directions on how to get there.
This is especially important for events at remote sites. If the land is hilly, make sure your walkie-talkies have enough power to get through.
14. Monitor the weather
The most common reason to cancel outdoor events is inclement weather. Buy weather insurance, and start monitoring the weather as far in advance as possible. You can get forecasts at weather.com. Also, keep the wind in mind. You don’t want things to blow over, so make sure that everything is anchored securely.
15. Plan for the rain
Have a “plan B” in case of rain. Bring a tent, and know in advance where the DJs can go, the desks, and the food. Portable pavilions can double to provide shade for guests and protection in case of rain. Some of these pavilions even have lovely sidings that can be rolled down in case of rain, and intake vents to accommodate portable air conditioners.
16. Clean up
The event may be over, but your work is not. Make sure that you have made arrangements with the local sanitation department for cleaning up afterward. Otherwise, have a hauling firm on hand for clearing the area, once the event is over.
Do you have any additional tips to add? Share with your peers in the comment section, and get a link back to your blog.
I was looking for some information on tips for outdoor event planing, when I came across this post. Excellent Resource.
After reading the post, I thought to contribute to the post by adding the following point:
Convenience of the Location:
Since it’s an outdoor event, organizer might want to make sure that event is at a location that people can reach easily or if it’s a faraway arrangement should be done to reach the location in time.
Funny thing – I actually published a Guide on Event Planning and wanted to learn if you would like to check it out?
Hello Mr. Boni, that is an excellent addition to the list. Yes, it should be at a convenient location. Your book sounds most interesting. Do you have a link to it? Please add it in the comment section in the interest of all our readers as well.
Thank you so much,
This actually answered my drawback, thank you!
Very glad to know that, Johna616:). Cheers to the growth of your company, and may you have a new year of many more successful events, one after the other.
My club is thinking about holding a concert so I like your point about how not having a permit could get an event shut down. It makes sense that we’ll have to research quiet hours; you did mention it’s important to check local ordinances. I guess we’ll call the police for any notable local stipulations. We’ll have to find a company for event supplies, too.
Hello Mr. Weaver, I’m very glad that this article has been of help to you in planning your concert. Very grateful for your comment, and sending positive thoughts that you will have a fantastic event:).
Hello LNWeaver, thank you for your comment and glad that this article was of help to you in planning in advance in preparation for events. Good luck in checking out the ordinances et. al. and hope you have a fantastic event.
Nice to read. So useful and informative tips. Many thanks for sharing them all.
Hello Jimmy, thank you so very much for your kind words. I am most grateful. Wishing you the best in your business and in all that you do.
Our organization is planning to host a music and arts festival in our town. I am the assigned leader of the planning team so I wanted to check what things should we look into to ensure its great execution. I agree that the guests’ comfort should be most looked after if we want them to go to other events that we will host in the future. It is also important to ensure that proper sanitation must be observed to avoid any health and safety risks. Thanks for the great tips!
my group is in the beginning stages of planning an out door family festival. we are meeting with the mayor of our small town and hoping to get them on board. we hope this will take care of some of the permit stuff, etc.
Hi Theodore, yes, the comfort of the customers is so important precisely because of what you said, it will determine the trajectory of your career as someone who hosts events. And sanitation is so primal to comfort, health and safety. Good luck to you and I hope your event goes well:). Thank you for reading this article and I am most grateful that you left such a keen comment behind.
Hi Pat, it’s a good thing you got started by checking out with the mayor for the permits. Without a permit, all other preparations, needless to say, would be futile. I hope you have a wonderful family event and that it is successfully in every way. Thank you for stopping by. I am most grateful:).
I agree that as warm weather comes around, more outdoor events are planned. My nephew will be having a family day in the park and my sister is part of the event committee. My mom suggested having a porta potty for the event and shared the article with her.
Hi Kayla, I hope your family day was very successful. I’m grateful to have helped contribute to the success of your family gathering in my own small way. Please send my regards to your mother:).
Thanks for the reminder that we have to know the ordinances and the neighborhood of the venue where we’re going to hold our events. As our last hurrah for this academic year, we’re asked to organize a Christmas concert where all proceeds will go to the partner communities of the school. Since we’ve got more than 10 indie and famous bands playing, we’ll be sure to secure noise permits and barricade the venue as much as possible to avoid attracting ruckus and disturbing the neighborhood.
Hi Luke, what a wonderful idea that was to have a Christmas concert. You’re right, planning in advance to avoid any disturbance is most important. I hope that your event went smoothly. Music is an international language, and it’s always fun to attend concerts with different bands playing. Best wishes and thanks for your comment:)
It was helpful when you said to have good toilet facilities. My husabnd is planning on hosting an outdoor event in a couple of months for his company, and he wanted to make sure that he gets everything that he needs to for an outdoor event. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to him so that he can look into getting porta potties for his event. https://vsprsww.com/portable-restrooms
Hi Kate, I’m sending you and your husband positive thoughts that his outdoor company event will go smoothly. Yes, it’s so fundamental that we make sure an event has good porta potties. Thank you also for the link, which will be of great benefit to others who may happen to read this article:).
You made a good point when you shared that it is important to set up a meeting at the venue in advance with your committees before the event takes place. Besides, having competition can attract more people to come to your event. I would like to think if a community is hosting a music competition, it should hire a qualified judge who is experienced.
It really helped when you elaborated on outdoor events and the importance of considering their sanitation requirements when planning one. Last week, my sister said she’d like to plan a party for our parent’s anniversary and that it takes place at an outdoor venue. I believe that my sister should read your tips before planning the party, so I’ll share them right now. Thanks for the advice on outdoor events and why you must provide restrooms for your guests.
Thanks for the reminder that it’s essential to also be wary of the weather when planning to book a premiere outdoor event venue. I want to start looking into that because I will be having my 50th birthday soon. Having a special gathering of my friends and family for that will surely be a good idea.