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Street Festivals: An Event Planners Strategic Approach

From fundraisers in Downtown metros to neighborhood block parties, City streets can provide a unique perspective for an event venue. If you are located in a region with dependable weather, or nicer weather months, these outdoor event formats fit nicely for community oriented themes but come with a unique set of variables to consider.

Every Community is Different.

If you’re asking to shut the streets of a neighborhood, get to know them first! Get familiar with the local community groups and the key business owners. Understand their perspectives and opinions so you are armed to mitigate any disgruntled merchants. If you work from a place of genuine kindness and commitment to the community, you can find creative solutions to make everyone feel comfortable, seen and heard. Ensure your event has components to drive local business revenue and celebrate the existing culture. Your dedication to the community’s success is what will make you successful.

Relationships Matter.

To close down public spaces, you will need to work through some degree of permissions, and likely formal permitting procedures. Develop relationships with government agencies and community organizations. You might even be required to present and community meetings and/or get signature proof from the community that they’ve been informed of your plan. Be respectful, upfront and detailed in the process from square one so these parties trust you for future enterprises.

Time is a Luxury You Don’t Have.

If you are utilizing public space, you will have limited time for set up and tear down. You will need to be detailed in your scheduling to ensure everyone’s time is used maximally. Consider all possible areas of delay down to the amount of trucks trying to move in and around the venue. Provide for ample staff on both ends of the event and ensure the importance of staying on track and on-time.

Events with limited time windows often end up being higher stress environments. Ensure the working environment is kind and upbeat as one mad stage manager can cause the whole ship to go down.

There is No Room for Mistakes.

With limited time for install, the detailed work of your pre-planning efforts is even more important. Don’t skip the crossing of any Ts or dotting any Is. Have emergency numbers readily available and back up plans for every possible scenario. A mistake that might be fixable at an event with a 2 day set up, could be a major fumble for an event with a 12 hour window.

You have to Work with You Got.

Street events don’t come with the amenities of a pre-furbished ballroom and also can’t be considered a blank canvas. You will need to plan to bring in your infrastructure and a variable amount of ambiance or décor pieces. You also might have to navigate challenging obstacles, like our nemesis parking lane bike share racks.

However, if you plan correctly, working with the existing landscape and neighborhood, can be a huge advantage to your event.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson

Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!


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