A Basic Guideline for running an event.
By Lady Finnbhair ni Binnech.
Firstly, you have to be a paid member of the Society to run an event, better send your membership off then, if you havenít already.
I have a strong personal view for new event Stewards - It is most beneficial if youíve helped out at one or two events that weíve run. This will help you gain a perspective on how things are done and why we do them, plus you gain a little experience. Even if itís just being the gatekeeper, or washing dishes, or setting up/taking down, it all adds up and you will benefit from the knowledge you gained from helping out.
The other thing you will benefit from is talking to people in the Canton who run events or have run events. I donít feel that you should be running an event until you have done both of these things. Trust me, you will thank me later.
Each event is unique, different things that occur during events make this so. Therefore, this information is just a guideline and should be treated as such.
Each event that is run in the Canton must be approved. Itís necessary once you have an idea for your event that you go to the next Canton Meeting and put your idea forward for the Cantonís approval (this shouldnít be a problem). At this point, you should be thinking about your crew, venue, what items you will need, how you will advertise and most importantly, budgeting and costs. Make sure the event is placed in the Cantonís calender. We also need to ensure that no Canton events clash with Baronial events and it's also nice if we can avoid clashing with close neighbours like Agaricus, Colles Ardorum and Dismal Fogs too, not always possible, but preferable to clashing.
You will need to tentatively book your venue and at this time, produce a budget and projected costs. This will need to be approved by both the Reeve and the Seneschal. The reason this is done serves a number of purposes, the Canton can help you float the event (or we can ask the Barony if itís a larger event, to help). The Reeve and Seneschal can help to make sure that your goals are realistic, achievable and acceptable to the general SCA and they may also be able to help by suggesting ways to help your budgeting and give you some ideas you may not have considered.
Sometimes, it is necessary that the Seneschal of the Canton then has to seek approval from the Seneschal/Baron/Baroness of the Barony. This is necessary when asking the parent group to sponsor the event, or to help float the event. This process may take time as the approval process has to reach their Seneschal and Reeve and probably also the B&B. Please be patient, these things cannot be done at the wave of a wand and you need to be organised enough to make sure you get information to the Canton Seneschal early enough.
This is of particular importance when you consider that you will need to advertise your event. In order for an event to be an Ďofficialí SCA event, it needs to be publicised in one of our publications. I prefer that people get their events into Pegasus (you will reach a wider audience) or Folia (for the Barony). There are some guidelines you should follow to make sure your event is adequately advertised. It is not up to the Seneschal to advertise your events, this is the Stewardís job. However, Seneschal is happy to help you if you haven't done this before, so you will know for next time.
For Pegasus, you will need to fill out an event information form. These can be found in Pegasus, or ask the Seneschal and you will be provided with one (if you donít get Pegasus). For Canton sponsored events, I can approve the information so it can be forwaded onto Pegasus. For Baronial sponsored events, I can't approve it and it must then go to the Baronial Seneschal (and I will forward it for you). The Baronial Seneschal will then approve it and either send it back to me or forward it onto the Pegasus Chronicler. Again, you need to be patient here.
With advertising, it is also advisable that you put your event on TMI (Too Much Information) which is an online newspaper for Lochac. If you donít have Ďnet access, I am happy to do this for you. Itís also advisable that you get onto the Rowanites, Stowegians, Agariacans lists and advertise your events there too. Plus, you will find it beneficial if you have a representative at the Rowany and Stow weekly gatherings who can take bookings for you (if you are unable to get to those gatherings) and provide information/flyers for people. Also, if you are at an event outside the local group leading up to your event, it is acceptable that you take some flyers with you (mind you, it is courteous to check with the Steward before handing out your flyers to people).
There are some deadlines you need to keep in mind as far as getting your event information to people goes. For Pegasus, you must get your event information (approved) to the Lochac Chronicler by the first of the month. For Folia, to the Baronial Chronicler by the fifteenth of the month. Note: These are not flexible and you need to be quite diligent with this.
Itís also nice to send some personal invitations to the Baron and Baroness of Rowany and to the King and Queen of Lochac. They often have busy schedules and may not be able to make it (or respond to your invitation), but itís nice to be invited (and you never know your luck in a big Canton). You should also be sending out flyers to neighbouring groups Seneschals or Chroniclers. These are Rowany, St. Ursula, St. Augustine, Agaricus, Dismal Fogs, Mordenvale and Politarchopolis. Often, if they are sent flyers and you ask them nicely, they will advertise your event in their newsletters for you and this will give you some extra coverage.
Another important part of organising your event is organising a crew of people to help you run it. You should consider:
Steward (probably you)
Cook (for a feast)
Marshal (for tournament)
Herald (for tournament/announcement maker/court)
Constable (for gate/door keeping & for event waivers)
Chirurgeon (a first aider on stand-by is always a good idea)
Aquisitor (for any equipment/decorations you might need and access to storage units/garage)
Set-up & Clean-up crew (people to help you before and after the event with the hall)
Servers (to help serve removes)
Kitchen crew (to help with preparation and cooking of food, dishwashing etc)
Hospitaller (are people coming who you know this will be their first event or will need help with garb/feasting gear, what if emergency gear is required, will this be available?)
Talk to the Canton Officers. It is a part of their job to assist you if you need people for different roles that are covered by the officers. They donít personally have to do the tasks and are not obligated to do so (after all, our officers volunteer to do this), but they might be able to help you find someone who can or will, though most of the time, you will find that people are very helpful around the Canton and you wonít have any problems getting help.
If everything is planned well in advance, your event should run smoothly. Be prepared for the odd couple of bumps (for example, longer than expected courts), but generally if you have a well prepared and organised crew and youíve done all the things you need to do to work up to your event, it should be fine. Remember to delegate to your helpers and try not to be super-Steward, most importantly breathe!
Cross your fingers, remember to breathe and run the event. Good luck!
How did you go? Did everyone have a good time? They more than likely did and you were probably so worried about people having a good time that you forgot to ask yourself if you were having a good time. Reflect on your event. Are you receiving feedback from people? Are people asking you when your next event is going to be and already booking? Youíve done good, kiddo!
Think about what worked and what didnít work, what you might do differently next time and write this all down!
Think you can relax now? Well, you can, but there is just one more important thing. We need a report.
In a report, there are a few required things
1) All the receipts from all the things youíve bought.
2) The receipt book from the bookings
3) A report with the following information:
ē People attending - how many booked, how many turned up. Out of the people that turned up how many were members, non-members and children?
ē How much you charged per head
ē Total money in break this down into what you received as float (and state whether barony, canton or self floated the event, make sure you can prove this) and total of money received from bookings.
ē Total money out - break this down into venue hire, any table hire or equipment hire, any refunds etc. Then provide a total.
ē Then show the difference, showing a loss, break even, or surplus.
ē Tell us about the event, give a quick run-down, talk about what worked, what didnít and what you would change. Provide any advice for the future Stewards.
ē Provide contact details for the venue. We may like to use this venue for another event down the track, so itís good if we know how to get a hold of them.
The report then is given at the next Canton meeting and a hardcopy given to the Seneschal, who may then be required to forward it to the Barony, who then reports to the Kingdom, who then reports to the BOD (board of directors). See why itís important to cover everything and make sure you get it all right? You donít want someone to decide to audit your event because ultimately, we are answerable to mundane law.
As I said before, all events are unique. What I have given you here is a guide to help you run an event within the Canton. If you have any questions or youíre unsure about something, you should always ask someone. If they donít know the answer, they will find someone who will. There are a multitude of different people you can talk to who have a wide range of skills and talents and youíll find that most people will want your event to be a good one and will go out of their way to help you make it so.
(And donít forget to make sure youíve got extra toilet paper!)