Fest Practices, Part 3


...continued from Part 2: Assess Internal and External Factors

You’ve assigned value to the event and decided that it’s worth your time and resources. Since it’s a “Yes,” you’ve also allocated the product that you’re bringing. So, now—do you not tell anyone, wait until day of, then scramble trying to piece everything together in a panic? Oh, shit—you forgot to call Jane in on her day off to work the event. She can’t though—she’s out of town. So you grab new-guy, John, who’s never worked an event before. You’re in trouble and the event hasn’t even started yet.

Internally | Inventory Your Equipment

Before you assess how much equipment, materials, and supplies you need to bring, now is a perfect time to ask the event organizers what they’re providing and how they’re handling other FAQ’s.

Questions to ask the event producer:

1. What are you (i.e., the event) providing?
  • A covered tent?
  • A table, tablecloth?
  • Signage?
  • Ice?
  • Direct parking access?
  • Food/hospitality?
  • Token/ticket collection box?

2. What packaged format is preferred, allowed (e.g., jockey box vs. cans/bottles)?

3. Is there a minimum or maximum volume of beverages you’re expected to bring?

4. When’s the deadline for submitting your product lineup (i.e., names, styles, ABV, etc.)?

Pro consideration: What’s your tap list look like? Um… Yeah, you need one. A couple pieces of uncoated paper with sloppy handwriting aren’t going to cut it. And they’re going to get soaked and ruined within minutes. Have a banner made, and hang it. Or, if you’re handy—craft a custom chalkboard. Either way, your signage needs to be above eye level. Guests need (read: want) to know what you’re pouring (incl. style, flavor highlights, and ABV) before they get to the front of the line. Otherwise, be prepared to recite your menu offerings at least 100 times. Now, imagine a line 50+ people deep. You’re going to get tired of doing it and eventually resent attendees for asking what you should be informing them by default.

5. Is there a call sheet for the day of (i.e., what time should you arrive, be set up by, etc.)?

6. How many staff members am I allowed? How do they get credentials day of?

7. Is it okay to sell merchandise from our booth?

8. What are you doing to promote the event? Is there a specific event social media handle or hashtag to use?

9. What’s your contingency plan for inclement weather?

10. What’s tear-down look like, what do we do with open/empty product, etc.?

Once you have a clear picture of what you’ll be walking into, you can best start by inventorying your equipment and materials.

While you can pretty much do everything with your phone except literally pour beer (for which I’m sure there’s even an app), we’re going to suggest you keep it old school for events and use an analog checklist. Yep, on paper. You’re gonna need a pen, too. Yep, with ink.

What’s your M.O.?

If you don’t have a working SOP (standard operating procedure) for events or a checklist for what to bring, start now. You’re not going to be the only person to ever work them. Whether it’s the next festival or person you hire, you need to train yourself out of being the sole person who does everything and only owns the information in their head. If you put it in the “events pile,” put it on paper, then pass it on.

While you’re at it, think about training your team, too. Let’s assume you’re bringing a jockey box to the event. When was the last time it was used? Do you even know where it is? Do you or the person you’ve put in charge to manage the event know how to set it up?

Before every use… Pause. Let’s define, “before”: at least one to two weeks in advance. Okay, before every use, you should test your jockey box to confirm it’s in working order, nothing’s broken or missing, and that you’ve got enough CO2. Also before every use, make sure your assigned team knows how to clean a jockey box. You don’t want tomorrow’s event to taste like yesterday’s stale beer.

If you have an SOP in place, this stuff should naturally take care of itself. However, your SOP and/or checklist should also tell you to check it anyway. See how that system of checks and balances becomes automated—even on paper? In the event that something’s off or needs extra attention, you’ve baked in a few days to account for repairs or ordering replacement materials.

Now, use those couple days to confirm your starting lineup for who you’re sending to work the event. Continuing reading Part 4: Train Your People. Or, subscribe to our newsletter to have it land in your inbox automatically.