When a summer festival ends, everything (or most of the things) is just flowers and sunshine! Everybody loved it, everybody wants it to last longer, everybody’s preparing for next year already… you feel as if you’re in a fairy tale. If you were a participant. If you’re an organizer, you sweep out the sweat from your forehead and think why you just can’t be satisfied with an 8-4 job in an office – your life would be so much easier. You learn again how there’s NO WAY you can prepare yourself for unexpected situations. And there will always be some unexpected situations. Like finding three black bags with unfamiliar content in front of your office.
There isn't a recipe for flawless performance. Or a magic wand that would take all your troubles away. But you can definitely learn from your mistakes. So for all of you planning to organize an event here’s a couple of tips and tricks that will make your life a bit easier.
And you can never have a finite volunteer schedule cause there will always be some changes. Of course you’ll get contacted by a wild-spirited traveller who loves your festival and would die to become a part of your team until the last day before the festival when he decides that it’s actually not the thing he’s into. It’s your volunteers that will get food poisoning. It’s your volunteers that will have to leave in the midst of the festival because of some private problems. Or just because they’ve decided to do so. Not to mention those who don’t even appear at the festival location and just vanish from the face of the Earth. So yeah – you’d want to make a B list. And have it with you all the time ;)
One month till the festival, you’ve got it all figured out, there are no more program changes and your brochures and print material are ready-set-go for printing. And it’s a rather simple and short process – takes one week tops to have everything done. Usually. Of course when it’s your turn to print something, the machines go crazy and a one-week-job turns into a one-month-job and you end up unloading the truck full of your festival brochures in your pyjamas at midnight, the night before your event.
…if a battery dies. So if you’re, for example, sending out a volunteer to pick up a festival instructor across the border, make sure he takes a charger. Otherwise get ready for a whole lotta worst case scenarios. In your head at least. Or simply learn that it’s actually possible that a professional who does travelling and teaching for life CAN actually make a mistake and have the wrong visa – causing a huge mess-up, resulting with your volunteer getting stuck at the border with an empty phone and no one to call. Fun times for everyone!
Or if you’re up for some additional excitement – why not? ;) There isn’t a greater thing that can happen to you in the midst of your dance festival than a phone call from the ambulance that your dance instructor fell off a motorbike. And why not spicing up your life a bit more – there’s nothing like organizing a searching party on a Friday night before show performances because your instructors (and performers) got lost on their bikes somewhere in the town. Oh, joy!
Especially when they’re trying to get in to the parties without a ticket. So, consequently, throughout the years we’ve had many famous and influential visitors – from the boss of the Italian police, to some big hot shots who have “parked their yacht on the other side of the bay and came to the party because the organizers themselves have called them”. Yeah, sure. And I’m Queen Victoria.
The moral of the story (if you haven’t figured it out) – make sure you put reliable people on the entrances.
There isn’t an umbrella or a tent big enough if you’re trying to save an open-air party from a thunderstorm. You can just shrug your shoulders, make sure your equipment is safe and sound and pretend it’s a wet T-shirt contest with a real live light show. That was in the program, c’mon, how come you haven’t seen it?! ;)
And just when you think that you’ve finally managed to find some time to get some sleep – don’t get your hopes up that high. Cleaning up the yard of the old tobacco factory has this special flair at 7 am after an angry-6 am-phone call of its director. And of course there’s no one else left to do it cause your cleaning staff has left the building like ages ago. And you’re simply too tired and nervous to call them. Or anybody else. So it’s you and the broom. And a seagull or two. Quite romantic.
And these are just some of the things in a pool full of crazy things that have been going on for the past 11 years. When I come to think of it – it has been one crazy ride. And it wouldn’t be this great if it had been any different ;)
P.S. Oh yeah – and about the bags – it turned out that there wasn't anything dangerous in them :) Our musicians decided to leave their congas in huge black bags in front of our office, somehow thinking that we would know what's in the bags and take care of them. Yeah, sure, how come you don’t know what’s in weird black bags in front of your office, it’s quite obvious! :)