Thoughts from the Road – Events and Inclement Weather

We’re heading into Spring now, and with it comes the beginning of “outdoor events season.” Whether it’s a tented event, under a pavilion, or out in the open air, weather is always a major variable. It’s usually the one thing nobody wants to talk about leading up to an outdoor event, as if the weather will hear you and spite your event. On the AV side, we always joke that we only bring tarps with us so that it doesn’t rain, because it only rains when you forget them.

The reality is that it’s always a possibility, and you really just need to have a plan in place. Obviously cancellation is never a great option, but when it becomes unavoidable, your best bet is to make the call sooner than later. With AV providers, caterers, decorators, and most other event-based industries, by the time they’ve arrived onsite, they’ve already incurred most if not all of their costs. Have the conversation beforehand about what happens if the event cancels, and then just plan accordingly. You may even be able to negotiate a more favorable outcome.

Of course, weather related cancellations can cause problems any time of year. Over the winter, we were travelling down to Atlanta for a week-long corporate program. A snowstorm caused some chaos, and after hours of delays, we ended up with all flights getting cancelled just less than 12 hours before our load in was scheduled to start. Panic mode.

Thankfully, our truck left a couple of days early and had made it there already with some of the equipment along with a few of the crew members. However myself and most of the key roles on our team ended up driving (crawling) through the snow up to Hartford, staying the night, and catching the first flight out in the morning. Thankfully, we made it with time to spare for a successful, highly caffeinated load-in, but it’s just never a position you want to be in.

TIP: Try to avoid booking the earliest available flight out for a travel event. Even if the weather isn’t catastrophic, minor delays could lead to a cancellation, and you’ll end up out of luck until the next morning. At least if your earlier flight cancels, you might still have same-day options.