I wrote about festival last week that takes advantage of a performing arts center’s outside space for events. The festival is surely one of the more successful ones and a good role model for future, community-based functions. But getting people off the lawn and into the venue itself can be a challenge.
“In our community, we find that sometimes people are afraid to go to an arts event—maybe because it is a new type of event, or maybe they are not sure what to wear,” said Wendy Riggs, director of the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in Alabama. “We have found that holding an event out in our lawn really breaks the ice for the newcomer to our events, so people get used to the building and to the staff. We market our events inside and have seen a great increase in attendance.”
Riggs, an IAVM member, will facilitate a session titled “Pigeons, Tornadoes, and Technology…Oh My!” at the upcoming Performing Arts Managers Conference (PAMC) in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 22-25. The session will focus on challenges faced with outdoor events and how you can use them to help patrons “break the wall” and enter a venue. The discussion will center on building new audiences, making good decisions when faced with obstacles, and sharing helpful tools.
One way to encourage patrons to move from outside to inside it to combine events.
“This year, at our seasonal ice rink we decided to combine our event with a ticket that got then skating and sliding outside and to visit our museum exhibit inside,” Riggs said. “We also added our Story Time with Santa inside the museum. The results were that hundreds of people who had never entered the museum crossed our doors this season. We feel we earned a lot of new patrons who will join us for future exhibits and events.”
Riggs’ session is just one of many great educational offerings at this year’s PAMC. Please visit the website for more information and to register.