Middle Eastern Dance Festival
So you want to
create a festival?
I use the
word create because this is a creative process. It is necessary
to combine your organizational and public relations skills with
your creativity. First, you must have your vision of what you
want to have happen. For example, do you want to focus on solo
dancers, troupes or a combination of both? Do you want to showcase
a particular style? Will your festival be intended for local
dancers or for bringing in talent from other areas, or both?
vision clearly is the first step to creating a successful event.
For Rose Productions events, my personal vision focuses on live
Middle Eastern music, troupe shows and introducing as many people
as possible to Middle Eastern music and dance.
Once you have
a picture in your mind of what your event will offer, it is time
to get to the logistics. In this article, I will cover the topics
of Location, Vendors and Setup.
best location for your event is a major hurdle to overcome. What
do you need to consider when searching for a location? The following
list will give you an idea:
1. Access by
car (from airports, buses, trains, etc.).
2. Proximity to lodgings (if necessary).
3. Parking area.
4. Vendor space.
5. Audience space.
6. Hospitality area.
7. Availability of dressing rooms and workshop areas.
8. Stage area and condition of the dance floor.
9. Atmosphere of the venue itself.
10. Decorating possibilities.
11. Rental cost of the venue.
12. Hidden costs.
event should be conveniently located close to major mass transit
sites and comfortable lodgings. Parking space availability should
be carefully evaluated.
There should be enough square-footage at the venue to accommodate the audience
and the vendors as well as a hospitality, food and beverage setup. Also, there
should be side rooms available for workshops (if you plan to have any) and
at least enough privacy for dancers to dress.
The stage area
should be able to accommodate the number of musicians you plan
to have. The dance floor should be evaluated for both size and
surface texture. If the surface is not appropriate for the performers,
can it be covered with carpet, rugs, etc.?
The atmosphere of the venue should be conducive to the event. If it is not,
consider whether you will be able to make it so by decorating.
The cost of
renting the venue should meet your predetermined budget. Be sure
to consider the hidden costs of renting tables and folding chairs.
Will these items be including in the cost of the venue rental,
or will you have to pay extra for them?
are a crucial part of your event. There are several things to consider
when choosing vendors and accommodating their wares:
- Cost of
booths, or tables and chairs.\
the cost per table.
up vendors' wares.
of vendors you select should fit easily into the space you have
rented. You will need to know whether you are responsible for
the cost of the vendors' display area (i.e. the booths or tables
and chairs used to accommodate the vendors and their inventory).
cost per table can be tricky. I try to figure the number of people
who will show up at the festival as paying customers. Then I
compare prices with other dance festivals, trying to be in the
right price bracket. If this is the first year of your festival,
you will want your vendor prices to be below average. Once your
reputation, and the reputation of the festival, has been established,
you can raise the price to what others are charging at comparable
It is best
to have as much variety as possible in your shopping bazaar.
When soliciting vendors, you can ask them to describe their wares
in detail and to send photos and references with their application
to your festival. Some festivals let everyone in who would like
to vend with no judging at all. Other producers use a first-paid
system. You can also judge the vendors by product to make sure
there will be enough variety.
Security is another issue that is of the utmost importance. Will the venue
you have chosen allow your vendors to leave displays setup overnight? Whether
your event is indoors or outside, you may need to hire security to guard the
vendors' products if they will be left unattended overnight.
is crucial to everything in your event. Make sure the venue you
have chosen allows your vendors to set up early enough. The morning
before an event is always hectic, so it is advised that you give
your vendors as much lead-time as possible.
the venue includes decorating, hanging stage backdrops, arranging
the tables and chairs, and all the other 101 little things that
need to be done. If you can do this the day or night before your
festival begins, it will alleviate a lot of stress and prevent
complications on the morning of your event when your vendors
come to set up.
Cruz, Rose Productions, is known as vendor, teacher, musician,
producer. She produces workshops, concerts, and the annual Festival
Fantasia held in Sonoma County in October. Festival Fantasia
is now in its seventh year. Ellen has been producing events since
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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other
- Would you like to see a review
of a recent festival / contest? Check out
Marathon: the Belly Dancer of the Millenium Contest!
- Or take a look at
the next article -
of Tribal Tales, an album by Mafufo Percussion Ensemble