Festivals and Big Events Organizing

This Playbook covers general events, like Earth Day festivals and fairs, that are not restricted to one topic. The great thing about such “general events” is that there can be many things, and even “something for everyone”. They can reach many people, but are often a lot of work to organize. Hopefully this Playbook can make that work easier.

We collected stories about three types of general/festival events in towns in Massachusetts: 

  • Big Tent, where a large event is consolidated in one locations.
  • All Over Town, spread throughout the town among several “hosts”.
  • Hybrids, with qualities of both centralized and decentralized events rolled into one. 

This Playbook offers

  • Best practices gleaned from case studies.
  • Case studies: stories of Earth Day events planned by Concord, Natick, Wayland, Newton, and Lexington. We collected information from the organizers through interviews, post-event reports, and planning timelines. Structurally, Concord and Newton’s events were Big Tents, Natick was completely decentralized, and Wayland was a hybrid. 
  • Critiques of those case studies. Each event came with its own strengths and weaknesses. These are also discussed. The hope is that by analyzing what went right, what went wrong, and what the planners of these events would change if they could redo the planning retroactively, you will be able to learn and plan the best possible event for your community.

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