Five essential questions you need to ask before producing your outdoor event this summer.

Photo by  Marvin Meyer  on  Unsplash

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Summertime is a perfect time to be outside for an event. Concerts, block parties, weddings, and festivals can make for a memorable season. However, these events don't just happen automatically, they are the culmination of months and weeks of planning! At Fastlane, we've learned a lot over the last 36 years about how to produce the best outdoor events and we think it all begins with asking the right questions. Here are five essential questions every planner needs to ask when planning their awesome outdoor event!

1. Do I know the weather patterns during the month of my event?

In Colorado, where Fastlane is based, we are familiar with dramatic changes in the weather (we've had snow on the ground in June before), so if you're planning an outdoor event, the weather is a significant variable. Typically, the best months for events in Denver are mid-June and August, but that indeed might be different for other parts of the country. Make sure you've written down your contingency plan, and talked to your vendors about what equipment is weather resistant and what is not.

2. Will the venue allow for set-up a day or days before the event?

If you're not able to access the space until the day of the event you might have a big problem. Most significant pieces like tents, staging, and generators need the proper permitting, preset time and advanced placement. You don't want to take the risk of having all your power shut down until an inspector arrives hours before you start.

3. Do I have a permit for that?

If you are hosting an event outside you will undoubtedly have to go through the process of applying for a permit depending on the specifics of your event. The best time to apply for a permit for your event is probably yesterday but the second best time to do it is as soon as possible. Here are just a few permits you might need:

•    Alcohol: Serving mixed drinks or just beer and wine? There's a permit for that.
•    Noise: How loud are you going to get? Have you spoken with your audio engineer about the decibel level? Either way, you need to look into a noise permit. A noise ordinance might shut down the party too soon if you haven't made this arrangement.
•    Tents: Most people want spaces that protect from the elements during the event. Tent companies will supply the tent, but you need to make sure you've got the permit to put that tent up!
•    Structural: Do you have a band playing? Dancers or other performers? They will probably need a stage. Structures that are both mobile and self-climbing need to be professionally assembled and have, you guessed it... a permit.
•    Electrical: This is often the most overlooked permit but is arguably the most critical. Electrical permitting is issued after the event CAD has been submitted to the city issuing the permit. Don't have a CAD or even know what a CAD is? Hold tight; we'll get to that later.
•    Special Event: On top of all the other permits I've described here so far, you still might need to apply for a special event permit which will give you the obvious, permission to have a special event in the city.

The biggest factor in permitting is time. Make sure you have given yourself plenty of margins to apply and processed the permit before your event. 

4. Do I have a “roadmap”?


Every event needs a "roadmap" by which I mean a blueprint or schematic of the event. In the event world, this is known as "CAD," or Computer Aided Design. During the planning stages of an event a CAD designer inputs all the dimensions of the venue into a computer program and builds a 2D and 3D models of the space and draws out where things such as tents, tables, and chairs, generators, stage, catering, and bars will come from along with where all the lights, screens, and stages should be placed. This drawing then is delivered to inspectors, decor companies, and caterers so that everyone has a detailed road-map of the space. Because the illustrations are drawn to scale, everyone can see exactly where everything should be placed before they arrive. Without the roadmap, it's much easier to get lost.

5. Do I have to be an expert at technical production before I plan an event?

Thankfully, no you do not. Fastlane is your single-source production partner. We've done thousands of events over our 36-year history, and we know how exciting, stressful and fun it can be to make an unforgettable event. We use the term "single-source" because we provide everything from audio, video, lighting, generators and specialized services as well as production design and CAD. 

We can't do what you do, you're one of a kind! We can certainly help you produce an elite, one of a kind event! Let's connect and work together to make your dream event of any size come true!

Doug Lane