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Making Your Community Festivals Better. Vern Biaett, PhD, CFEE Faculty Associate School of Community Resources & Development. Who Are You …. and what do you do?. What Do You Want …. to make better at your community events?. Organize Your Thought Process.

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making your community festivals better
Making Your Community Festivals Better

Vern Biaett, PhD, CFEE

Faculty Associate

School of Community Resources & Development

who are you
Who Are You …

and what do you do?

what do you want
What Do You Want …

to make better at your community events?

the 1 st step in making things better
The 1st step in making things better …

knowing what you already have.

the 2 nd step in making things better is
The 2nd step in making things better is …

knowing what you are really trying to accomplish.

ok now that you have
OK, now that you have …

some basic structure to what you’re doing let’s talk about your stakeholders.

Who are they?

make things better by
Make things better by …

making things better for every one of your stakeholders.

make things better by being
Make things better by being …

a better communicator.

What is Marketing & Promotion?

What is your plan … do you even have a plan?


There are 5 basic forms of promotion

  • Advertising
  • Publicity
  • Sales Promotions
  • Selling/Personal Contact
  • Non-Media
one last thought on promotion
One last thought on Promotion

7 images

Less is better and more powerful

to make things better
To make things better …

you have to be better at financial things.

Revenue Generation


Financial Controls

“With money in your pocket, you are wise, you are handsome, and you sing well too.”

Old Jewish Proverb

what is the number one source
What is the number one source …

of revenue for festivals and events?

there is more than one
There is more than one …

type of admission fee.

there are 1 000 s of other ways
There are 1,000’s of other ways …

to generate revenue for a community event.



Day of

Year round


The old way of thinking




Basically just begging


New way of thinking … Asset Benefit Exchange


What can a sponsor give you?

What do you have that a sponsor wants?

Tangibles and Intangibles


And there is so much more



Values - IEG

Sales People

and on and on and on

bottom line to make sponsorship better
Bottom line – to make sponsorship better …

Have a plan

Know what you want / need

Know what you have to exchange

Sponsor > Partner > Friend

to make your events better
To make your events better …

understand what your financial goals are.

Make a Profit

Break Even

Lost Leader

to make your events better1
To make your events better …

Use a Cost – Revenue financial system

Revenues are highly unpredictable

Expenses must be controlled to maximize success

Budgets cannot be made in stone

to make your event better
To make your event better …

make your staff and volunteers better.


marketing check sponsorship check festivity what was that again
Marketing, check – Sponsorship, check Festivity … what was that again?

What is the most important thing you do for an event?

i would suggest that
I would suggest that …

the most important thing you should be doing is creating the BEST possible experience for each and everyone of your stakeholders

let s redirect our focus to
Let’s redirect our focus to …

creating great experiences for those stakeholders we call attendees, guests, participants, visitors

but you ask
But you ask …

what is the BEST possible experience?

How do I go about making that happen?

to begin to understand
To begin to understand …

let’s first use the word festivity to describe experiences that might take place at festivals and events and take a quick journey through history

the evolution of festivity
The Evolution of Festivity

From Paleolithic (20,000-8,000 BCE) hunter-gathers, through the Neolithic (8,000-4,000 BCE) first farmers, and into the first civilizations (4,000-800 BCE) festivity was ORGANIC

  • Communal
  • Spontaneous
  • Amalgamated with Mythos in celebrating celestial seasons and regeneration of life
  • A state of being meaningful only unto itself


  • Oldest religious structure in Turkey – predates Stonehenge
  • Roaming clans of hunter-gathers came together for festivity and cooperatively evolved into the first agricultural societies
the evolution of festivity1
The Evolution of Festivity

As civilization progressed through the Axial (800-200 BCE) and Post-Axial (200 BCE – 1500 CE)

  • Mythos and its deep emotional participation was surpassed by Logos
  • Festivity evolved into an activity with a sense of purpose and reason
  • and then …
the evolution of festivity2
The Evolution of Festivity

With the Enlightenment (1500 CE) festivity became

  • very spatially
  • very temporal
  • and culminated during the industrial revolution as a method to manage and control urban masses

Festivity became ORGANIZED

the evolution of festivity3
The Evolution of Festivity

Following World War II and for the past 6 decades with a general emphasis on public relations, materialism, and technology festivity morphed into mercantile activity with focus on

  • Financial gain
  • Efforts to gain public attention

Festivity became a COMMERCIAL ORGANISM

the evolution of festivity4
The Evolution of Festivity

Has the time come to return to a more organic form of festivity?

Is a more organic form of festivity the key to producing truly great experiences at today’s festivals and events?

Can festivals and events once again be about having fun for the sake of fun … like play?

so how do we now
So, how do we now …

go back to the ancient roots of festivity and create those BEST experiences for those who attend our festivals and events?

a key to ancient festivity
A Key to Ancient Festivity

Collaboratively Creative Social Activity

Loud music with deep bass and heavy drum beats

Performing arts … dance, drama

Visual arts … masks, costumes

Wild abandonment … joyfulness

so why do we want to do this
So, why do we want to do this?

Substantive Theory from research

Social capital bonding is strongly evident and easily recognizable within friend and family groups at community festivals. This heuristic phenomenological type of bonding spreads to peers with shared similarities outside the friend and family group as levels of festivity increase.

Social capital bridging exists between attendees at community festivals, but primarily as a sense of generic communitas at a subconscious hermeneutic phenomenological level which intensifies as levels of festivity increase.

Event manages possessing both the aspiration and knowledge to program quality festive experience have the ability to accentuate the development of both bonding and bridging social capital at community festivals.

or in simpler terms
Or, in simpler terms

Increased levels of festivity at events raises the sense of community among attendees

Now …

get ready to experience what a high level of festivity is really all about

Being a Spectator

Being Physical

Being Collaboratively Creative

want to have the best festivals
Want to have the best festivals?

NO Spectators

Oh, the places you go

let s recap what we talked about today
Let’s recap what we talked about today
  • You have got to know who you are and what you’re about
  • Create a basic plan to organize every event
  • Know your stakeholders and create a great experience for each and every one of them
  • Marketing & promotion requires a plan
  • 7 images is powerful
  • #1 reason events fail is financial reasons
  • Sponsorship is about Benefit-Asset exchange S-P-F
  • Use a Cost – Revenue financial system
  • Leadership requires visionaries and task masters
  • Understand what motivates staff and volunteers
and of course
And of course …

To build community you need to program activity with higher levels of Festivity


thank you
Thank You

Vern Biaett, PhD, CFEE