Excerpt from the Schedule chapter, “Operationally Speaking,” An Event Operations Guide.

Back into the schedule or timeline based upon when the event is supposed to start.

Once the facilities are placed on the map and major vendors selected, installation of temporary roads and communications cable can start well in advance of the event.

The vendor who will set the pace will be the décor and tent vendor. They will need to work backwards based upon the completion deadlines of corporate tents. If the tent vendor can keep the pace, then life is good. Everyone follows the tent vendor. The tents need to be complete with side wall and ceiling liners. Tent installation is followed by the air conditioning and subsequently by electrical vendors who begin in the completed tents.

There will be times the tent vendor is ahead of schedule so it would be wise to have thought about other areas where they can move to keep them ahead of schedule.

During this time the floors are marked in exact locations for power outlets, television and phone cable locations. Then the carpet is laid in the tent. The carpet is cut in the prescribed locations and the cables are pulled through.

Once all of these things have been accomplished, the décor company comes in and adds the upgrades the client has ordered. This could be as little as a built-in bar or as large as hard wall constructed around the entire interior of the tent. The types and levels of upgrades are too numerous to mention.

When the décor has been completed, then the landscaping is placed around the tent and the tables and chairs are placed inside. The televisions and phone sets are added at this time. The caterer then takes over and sets up the food prep tent areas with refrigerated coolers, ice merchandisers, work tables, buffets and table linen. You are now ready to go.

Now this sounds simple and in a perfect world it would be, but there are thousands of things that can go wrong and hundreds of things that do. Trucks don’t show up on time so certain things cannot be accomplished; rain causes delays because the site can’t be accessed due to the ground being too soft. Tents have an infestation of a rare variety of the gypsy moth. All these things eat up the schedule.When you started the day you were ahead by two days and by the time the day finished, you were three days behind. It can happen that quickly.

This book contains information about what it takes to operate a major event. The information may be applied to any event, as all events contain the same elements. However, you may need to reduce the number of people in different areas for a small event such as security and parking personnel.