Some preliminary notes on running a first event..

1) It’s exhausting.   I have several postloads of information to write about, but I have only just gotten my brain wound up enough to say these next few bits.  I know that a lot of it has to do with the sheer amount of nervous energy burned off in the run up to and the weekend, but there was a stupefying amount of carting boxes and bags and stuff about as well, and I climbed the stairs so often I feel cheated I didn’t get to wake up Monday with Buns of Steel, or whatever it was they used to promise stairmaster users.

2) Everything takes at least twice as long as you think it does.  I gave myself oodles of time because I wanted everything to go well. It still wasn’t nearly enough.  Friday dissappeared so fast I’m thinking of asking for a refund for faulty goods.

3) Allow for Murphy’s Law – since everything that can go wrong will do so, you may as well try to see the funny side of it while it’s happening.  My youngest locked us out of the car for a couple of hours as I was midway through event feast shopping.  Thankfully I had nothing frozen/cold to worry about at the time.

4) Have all the backup plans – the event tokens I gave out were my plan B because the ones I ordered a month in advance and wanted for the event arrived the day after it was over.   I wasn’t so wise about my thrown weapons target, I had arranged to have some brought in, that fell through and my unfortunate marshal had to help me out with an alternate –  I’m still feeling a bit crap about it.

5) Write a list in big letters of things that you’ve realised need to get sorted RIGHT NOW that you can’t get to *right now* because you’re in the home stretch to people arriving and you can’t actually leave to sort them out.  Put that list somewhere where people you trust can spot it so that you don’t have to rely on your panic stricken memory.  Gratefully accept when they offer to sort that out for you.

6) Have awesome friends who get stuck in and do the stuff that needs doing.  There really is no substitute.  Thank you awesome friends.  Also having these awesome friends be truly talented people who like to share their interests?  Recipe for awesomeness.

7) I really, really enjoyed posting stuff to the event group in the run up to the event, to try and get people interested and enthusiastic.  Like little letters to your guests to keep them posted.   I think this paid off most with the bardic performances – I put out an announcement that I was looking for first time performers, that I would check with them on the night to see how they felt, if they wanted to throw their hat in the ring or hang back to another time.  As performers entertained us I checked with my “preregistered” first timers  and we worked everyone in on the night –  I was really pleased with how that worked, especially when two of my first timers went on to tie as the winners on the night.

8) As calm as you think you might be at some point panic will render you … less than competent.  I don’t know if this will also happen if I run another event, but certainly for a first event – there’s a sudden moment of “OH CRAP!!” and rational thought shuts down.  This was my Friday evening.  I was bitterly dissappointed in such a stupid reaction but there you go.   The world did not end however and people seemed to have a good time despite me feeling it was all so awful I should run away and never been seen by SCAdians again.

9) People who have run events before may do cool things like give you a box of chocolate muffins as a survival kit.  This is a wonderful thing.

10) Don’t cook on the same day that you are autocrating – no, not even traveller’s fare.  See point 2 above.  Pre cooked stuff you just need to heat up is probably fine, cooking from scratch, all bad.

11) Try to believe people when they tell you they had a great weekend – just because you have the great big list of things you didn’t get to do/forgot to do doesn’t mean everyone else has too.

12) See point 1 – but it’s totally worth it.

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