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First steps

Here is all you need to know in order to create your event.

Essential first steps

  • Identify what the event is, where the event is and who needs to be involved
  • Carefully consider who is creating the event. Is it your business, your group, or you as an individual? Funders tend to favour constituted or formal groups over individuals
  • If you don’t own the land where the event is to take place, make sure that you get written consent from whoever owns the land, whether it’s private or a public space
  • Contact us, the National Park Authority, for advice about access rights and planning permissions. The requirements for these can vary across different areas of the Park
  • Contact the relevant local authority for advice about licensing, roads and cleansing
  • Read our guidance for organised events.
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Business Plan and Project Management

Now that you have developed your event concept, a business plan and project action plan are key to making it happen. A business plan, preferably as brief as possible, can be used to support funding applications and help you clearly set out what you are trying to achieve and to determine your overall budget needs. A project action plan will help you create a detailed timeline of tasks, dependencies and responsibilities, while flagging up risks.

Both of these tools can be used flexibly depending on the scale of your event. A smaller event for up to a hundred people may not need such detailed plans as a larger scale event, but you should apply the same principles to keep you focussed and to make the most of your efforts.

Business planning:
EventScotland have developed a business planning template for events in Scotland which includes a budgeting tool:

Event Business Plan Template 

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Event Management & Health and Safety

As you develop your event, you should be considering the health and safety considerations of every element. As event organiser, you are responsible for the safe delivery of your event and for ensuring no harm comes to staff, volunteers, performers, participants, the public, audiences and the environment. Consider traffic management, weather conditions, first aid provision, lost children, biosecurity, food hygiene, access for emergency services.


Festival 2018 – Event Safety Management Plan Example

Festival 2018 – Temporary Demountable Structures Checklist

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Marketing and Communication

Your approach to marketing will be specific to your event and who you want to attract. If you have a small budget, utilise social media to reach out to potential audiences. For bigger budgets, traditional marketing approaches still have an impact – posters, fliers and radio advertising. Event organisers should schedule announcements and stories to help keep momentum with promotion rather than release all details at once (think of music festivals that announce headline acts one at a time).

If your event includes local talent, your local newspapers may run a story about it (rather than paying for an advert).

Imagery is vital for any marketing campaign. For new events this can be tricky, so ask performers and participants for high quality images and permission to use them in publicity.  Prioritise having a professional photographer at your event to ensure you capture a strong selection of images or films for future marketing. It’s important that you brief your photographer about what you want to capture and give them a running order and event programme.

EventScotland has produced an Event Marketing Plan template and guidance:

Event Scotland Marketing Plan

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Event Evaluation

When you are in the midst of event planning and the date is approaching fast, event evaluation is often the last thing on your mind. But if you want to run the event again in the future or to draw down funds from a grant, the evaluation process is essential and perhaps the most valuable outcome from the day. Make sure you build in provision for surveying visitors during or immediately after the event. Volunteers can carry out surveys face to face or you can use free online survey tools to target your ticket sales database post event (if you have asked for their consent to contact them again at time of purchase).

Most funders will ask to see evidence of certain indicators from your event and will usually include this as part of your funding agreement. Beyond this though, a proper event evaluation will tell you:

  • Who came? Age, gender, group make up
  • Where did they come from?
  • How did they find out about the event (this will inform future marketing)
  • What went well, what did people like?
  • What could be improved?
  • What impact did your event have on the local area? Did they stay overnight? Spend money in shops and restaurants?

If you can demonstrate a high quality enjoyable experience and a strong economic impact in the local area you can use this information to impress funders and sponsors for the next event. If you received consistent positive or negative feedback about certain elements of your event you can respond to this and plan for next time.

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Contracts and Agreements

You may have a number of contracts and agreements to sign up to such as permission to use a piece of land, funding agreements and so on. It is worth remembering that you too will benefit from formalising certain agreements with those supporting or contributing to the event.

When it comes to hire companies and suppliers they will tend to have standard agreements for you to enter into with them, but what about performers and supporters where no money is changing hands? Local festivals and events often rely on talent from the community as part of their artistic programme and if they fail to show it can really damage your event.

Signing a simple agreement will help formalise arrangements and give you comfort that there is a commitment to attend and deliver.

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