November 26, 2023

Planning Tips for Unique Event Locations

Colorful lighting spans the inside top of a large white event tent. White chairs are set up for guest seating.

Event planners thrive on creativity, often exploring unique locations for events. Any location where you can gather a group of people has the potential to become an event site. In recent years, we’ve provided audiovisual production services for live and hybrid events at a range of places, including barns, a farm, boathouse, an aquarium, gyms, theaters, churches, parks, warehouses, streets, parking lots, and tents. Many tents. If you are considering an unconventional space for an upcoming event, keep these five tips in mind for hosting events at unique locations.

Power Source is Paramount

Ensure your potential site offers adequate and accessible power or plan for generator rentals. If you need to rent a generator, is there a good location to place it? Factor in all of your power needs for AV, catering, registration, and safety lighting, especially for night events.

Events in parking lots and and parks often require renting a generator.

The Necessity of Internet Access

If you are planning a hybrid event, internet access at your event site is a must. Even if you are not live streaming, you will want internet access for check-in, for downloading last-minute scripts, and for connecting with off-site team members.

Ease of Load-in and Load-out

Your vendors need an easy way to load in and load out their equipment, rentals, and supplies. During your site visit, review how vendor vehicles will reach the event location and where they will park after unloading. Is the area paved? Make note of any physical constraints at the location, such as inclines, narrow doorways, hallways, and stairs.

Be sure to coordinate the timing of street closures, tent set-up and vendor load-in to allow enough time and access for all teams, trucks and equipment.

Guest Accessibility and Comfort

In addition to evaluating access for your vendors, be sure to carefully consider event accessibility for all of your guests. How far away is the parking area? Are walkways paved and are there ramps for mobility devices? Are the restroom facilities ADA accessible and appropriate for the number of attendees? If you are outside, is the seating area level? Also consider the season and if you need cover for rain, warmers for cold, or misters for summer heat.

Resource: A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to People With Disabilities (ADA National Network)

Collaborative Site Visits

Engage trusted partners in preliminary site visits, especially if you are considering an unusual event site. Their experience and expertise will help you avoid issues later. They can alert you to additional expenses because of the location. For example, buildings that are not constructed for events may have very poor acoustics and lighting. Professional AV companies will identify those concerns as well as solutions such as bringing in pipe and drape to absorb echoes. They can also advise how lighting can be improved and if fixtures can be hung or not.

For outdoor locations, consideration should to be given to timing the program after sunset in order for projection to have greatest impact; gyms are great open spaces that require additional drapery and floor covering; churches may have limitations on where the tech table can be set up; additional lighting and drapery can create a festive atmosphere in an active warehouse space.

Hosting events at unusual locations presents both challenges and excitement. Success lies in careful planning, collaboration with vendors and partners, and ensuring additional time and resources.

Are you exploring an unusual event site? Contact us for tailored tips to ensure your event’s success.