The Florida Festival & Events Association (FFEA) Convention

This past August, for the 2nd year in a row, I was able to attend one of the largest and most prestigious festival and event conferences in the country!  The FFEA or Florida Festival & Events Association produces this event where event managers, creators and workers all meet and learn from, the best minds in the industry.  There are dozens of production related businesses that are also there to talk about their business and how it could be of assistance.  On top of that are the full slates of classes.  This year, I attended a special pre-festival session on The Foundations of Planning a Festival.  To say that it was transformative is putting it mildly.  Many of you know that for most of my life, I’ve been involved in the many layers of producing live theater.  The great news?  A GREAT deal of those skills transfer easily to my current role of creating a festival from the ground up.  In fact, last year and this year, I was definitely the unicorn at these conferences being one of the only people to be in the creation process.  It’s interesting though, to be able to listen to the many speakers/instructors who share their knowledge openly and freely with anyone who will listen! The feel and vibe is all about creating the feeling of support from people who actually “get it” and know what you’re going through!

And, I must say this, is every class, seminar or meeting brilliant?  No. However, every singletime I sit down and take out my notebook…and listen…I learn.  Sometimes it can be a small ideathat is clarified, or large ‘Holy Cow” moments. Unlike most businesses…there is VERY little competitiveness!  The mood is that of support, understanding and that as a whole…we all WANT the others to succeed!  There is brilliance in our state, and I’m proud to be able to walk amongst these professionals…even though…I am the newbie in our field.  So, many have asked, well…what were some of your take aways from this year’s conference?

1. Safety and Security have become the number 1 item to plan early and effectively…

2. Murphy’s law is not a hoax.  Everything needs a backup plan…because nothing goes perfectly! .

3. Don’t be afraid of change!  

Some things you MAY not have considered?

1. Festivals reflect the community they serve.  We are in the SERVICE industry.  Which is why community involvement, governmental support and an open heart is vital in preparing for a festival type event.

2. Someone is ALWAYS going to have a problem with something you do.  Plan for the worst, and learn to ignore the naysayers…they just wish they were in YOUR shoes!

3. No one can present a festival on their own.  It takes a team.  So, roll up your sleeves and talk to me!