After an event, my team and I get deluged with thoughts from attendees. And the thoughts come down to things like “There was too much to do! ..but don’t get rid of anything, we want to do it! Also, we want a bigger space for X, Y, and Z, but we also want to keep all the classes and programming that you used the other ballroom space for. Also, please don’t schedule any stuff that people don’t want to do, because what are we paying for? At the same time, please stop scheduling things people like at the same time so we don’t have th choose, okay?”
For my team, we have a culture best described by the Steve Earle song “I Ain’t Never Satisfied”. We will not stop, we will not rest, until we find everything that didn’t work and try to improve it, and find everything that did work and try to do more of it, and then we try to reach into the future to find out what will be great a year from now.
Are these things contradictory? Impossible? No! Because all they’re doing is illustrating that a good event is basically like a TARDIS.
A good event will transport you across time and space with minimal effort. “Where does the time go??” “I don’t get it, one minute I was in the ballpit, now I’m on the other side of the hotel, seeing a show or having a drink or in a conversation; what just happened?”
That’s because a great event – no matter what its theme, no matter who runs it – is a TARDIS. It is bigger on the inside than on the outside, or, more specifically, a great kink event is much, much larger than thesum of its parts.
The programming matters. The classes matter, the socialization matters, the vendors matter, the performance matters – all of these things are critical. But they’re also quantifiable. The Great Secret of running events – which many of you know, and which I will share with the rest of you for free – is this:
Great events create a haven for the people who attend, an entire worldwhich belongs to them and only them, and in that world, normal rulesdon’t even BEGIN to apply. If done right, a fandom event is a magical portal away from all the junk in our everyday lives, but it’s not a portal into an imaginary world where people are nice to each other and we live out fantasies and dreams – it’s a portal to a place that alwaysexists. Because we always have the power to make our kink dreams a reality; we always have the power to be excellent to each other; wealways have the power to create, not a bunch of people running arounda hotel in search of kink, but a community, hell, a fucking NATION of united people who take care of each other, learn together, have experiences together, and build something far, far greater than the sum of its parts*.
A great event is like a TARDIS. And no, that doesn’t make an event promoter like me into someone fancy, like the Doctor. I’m just the fellow with a wrench who hangs out, trying to make sure that, if something goes wrong, we fix it, and if I see a way to make it better, I make it better. Attendees are Timelords, altering the world around them, going where they choose, changing lives; I’m the TARDIS technician, making sure the damn thing doesn’t explode when you decide to hit some kind of weird overload.
It’s not just that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; it’s that the whole is greater than just about anything. I spend 12 months trying to make 3 days go well, and it’s the best use of a year I could possibly imagine.