Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cool Historical Event Venues Around the World: Take Two

A couple of years ago I first posted a video about unique event venues around the world. This is the updated version with several additions. Most of these are historical venues that were used for some of the most spectacular special events the world has ever seen. Examples include Roman Triumphs through the Forum in ancient Rome, Mayan sacrifices on the temples at Copan, the Opet Festival in Luxor, Egypt during the New Kingdom period 1500 years ago, amazing shows at various Greek and Roman theaters throughout the Mediterranean, and much more.

This is only the start. There are literally hundreds more all over the world. 

Quite a few of the venues are still in use today for special events. You will notice staging, lighting, and audio systems set up in a number of locations. These are all my own photos with only two exceptions. Hope you enjoy.

Feel free to ask me questions about any of these venues and what went on in them.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot

I have been watching with interest the fallout from the June 15th riot in Vancouver. Lots of passing the blame but nobody seems to have looked at the event planning process that went into the creation of the live site.

From what I can tell there were two reasons for establishing the site. First, the city wanted to continue the success of the “open streets” that were prominent during the 2010 Winter Olympics that generated so much supposed communitas for the public. Second, they wanted to undo a reputation that the city had for several years of being a “no-fun” city. So intense was the pressure to have this live site that their planning was inadequate and they neglected to fully comprehend the nature of the crowd demographics, even though there was ample evidence from the past. In the end, the message that came across to attendees was that this was a chance to “party in the streets” supposedly with impunity. The resulting confusion between the reason for, and message of, the event gave birth to riots that caused over $5 million in damage and millions more to the city’s reputation.

Notice that I mentioned the message of the event. So often in our planning of events, we only discuss the reason or purpose of the event and overlook what message(s) we want to send to the attendees and to send to the world for posterity if it is a public event. This should always be part of the planning process. It is just not enough to say we want to create a zone where people can enjoy watching the hockey finals in an atmosphere of community and happiness. We must also decide if the message that the attendees will receive is going to be in their best interests rather than the best interests of the organizer/owner of the event: will attendees also feel safe, will they want to return for similar events in the future, will the event give them pride in their city and their fellow citizens, etc? It requires that a lot of questions be asked prior to the actual planning. It is then up to the planner to create an event that will both meet the objectives/purpose/reason for the event and also the needs of the attendees. The Vancouver live site event does not appear to have done this.

Speaking of planners, there has been no obvious evidence that there was a specific person or actual event manager in place at the event during the hours leading up to the game as well as during and after it. Who and where was this person? All indications so far seem to be pointing at the mayor but surely the city could not have been so naive as to assume he was in charge of the entire operation. If so, they have been GROSSLY negligent.

From my point of view, and without the details, it would appear at this point that blame lies squarely with the city planning department and nobody else, except of course, the mayor, where the buck must ultimately stop. Folks, if you are going to try to be in the event planning business, do it properly and professionally. For starters, at least read a few risk management books!!