PLOT TWIST! You can’t control the weather.

This is a tough pill to swallow for event planners. On show day, it is important to remember that you can only control certain variables, and weather is not one of those. I frequently tell my clients “control your controllables.”  What does that mean? Instead of worrying about things you cannot control, focus on preparing, discussing, planning, and having a detailed Plan B. We in the midwest (especially this spring) have learned all too well how to execute a Plan B.

Here are some tips for how to deal with unpredictable weather:

HAVE A RAIN SITE

No matter where your event is, if you are planning an outdoor event, I HIGHLY recommend having a rain site. If you don’t, you are exposing yourself to a lot of financial risk. Even in the middle of the desert, one torrential rainfall can result in the loss of a lot of money. It is up to you as the event planner to have the backup venue reserved and be ready to move your event indoors if conditions warrant. If you do not have a rain site and have to cancel your event (especially if the artist is already onsite) you still owe the artist their fee. Artists are strict about this in their contracts, as this is a preventable problem on the buyer’s side and they expect the buyer to have an indoor location available if needed.

IF NO RAIN SITE, GET WEATHER INSURANCE

It’s expensive, but much less expensive and damaging than having to pay everyone for an event that didn’t happen. Weather insurance will often cover all or most of your expenses should bad weather cause your entire event to cancel.

COVERED STAGES ARE NECESSARY

Even if you have a rain site, make sure you are using a covered stage to protect an artist from the elements – bright sun and rain are both difficult to perform in. Plus, you could avoid having to change the site just because of a chance of rain.

BAD WEATHER COMING?

Get on the phone and ask questions. If bad weather is coming and has the potential to cancel your event, get on the phone with your middle agent or agent and look at alternatives. Even if the event ends up occurring, it is good to have these conversations just in case. Think about possible dates to reschedule, ask the artists what their schedules look like, and ask what the consequences will be for moving your date. This way you can make educated decisions if the time comes to cancel your event. Ideally, if you are forced to cancel, you’d have a backup date to announce with the cancellation. That way you don’t lose many attendees or ticket sales and people can adjust their plans immediately to the new date.

ARTISTS CAN’T GET THERE? CANCELED FLIGHTS?

Again, get on the phone with the agent or your middle agent and ask questions. Ask for alternate date options and look at your alternate date options. If you are able to reschedule the artist before you announce the cancellation, you are less likely to lose attendees or ticket sales.

WHEN RESCHEDULING ISN’T POSSIBLE, GET CREATIVE!

Occasionally it is not possible to reschedule an artist, whether due to their schedule or yours. When that is the case, obviously it makes for a more difficult decision on whether to cancel. Get creative. Think about the timing of the event, location, circumstances, etc. Will moving the event by just a few hours help? Is moving to an alternate location possible? If the alternate location is odd or you don’t have time to re-construct your entire production, can the artist do an acoustic set? If nothing is possible, will the artist meet and take a photo with every single person that was supposed to attend? If your artist is already onsite, brainstorm with their team to come up with creative ideas. These creative ideas can often turn out way better than imagined!

Remember, Mother Nature can mess with you. You cannot control flights and weather, but you CAN control what your next move is. You can control how you react, and how you implement Plan B. Yes, cancellations can mean you are out more money (i.e. production company sets up twice, you may have some staffing or venue bills to pay twice), but the safety of the people involved has to take precedence.

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over a decade, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   [email protected]

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over a decade, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   [email protected]