Event Production 101: What it Takes to Pull Off a Large Event
A lot of work goes into hosting a great event no matter what size it is, but larger events require bigger venues and more of everything. And more almost always means more complicated, especially when you’re talking about audio-visual requirements. So, what goes into AV setup for a large-scale event?
Like everything else in life, “large” comes in shades of gray. Will your large event encompass an audience of several hundred or nearly 1,500? The scale may change, but the basic considerations do not. They just expand, based on your type of event, the location, etc.
Here’s what to expect for AV if you’re hosting a large event of 600–1,500 attendees.
A memorable large-scale event doesn’t come cheap. You’ll want to allow $75,000 to $150,000-plus for large event AV. If you’re wondering where all that money goes, the largest expense within your AV budget will typically be labor. Other key costs are power distribution, moving light setups for a band or a party, projectors or LED walls, and costs related to union and/or venue rules.
The larger your event, the more likely you’ll be including flashier, snazzier components, which of course add cost. For example, if you want your venue to look and feel like a theatre (we call that a “hard” set), we’ll need more time and equipment to build that.
It takes lots of people to accomplish AV setup safely and efficiently. We may need 25 people to set up a large event, with 12 staying to run the event itself.
Labor costs are not only based on body count, however. Your team needs breaks and fuel to function well (and meet legal requirements), but taking traditional breaks and lunch hours can be problematic. If you increase your labor budget to include on-site snacks and beverages for your crew, they will love you dearly and they will be able to work more effectively.
It takes a lot of gear to produce spot-on audio, video, and sound. Exactly what equipment we’ll need depends on your venue and seating arrangement. Aside from rigging, a large event could require two main screens, 1-2 delay screens, and 1-2 extra audio clusters around the room.
It will take your production company a day or two to set up a large event. But the smartest thing you can do as an event planner is to budget additional time for rehearsal — maybe a full day. You don’t want any glitches when you go live, and neither do your presenters, entertainers, or AV team!
You Never Have to Guess
Want to avoid hassle and headache in the middle of event planning? Include your AV team in the event planning process. That way you’ll know exactly what your AV team requires for setup. And your AV team can help design lighting, visuals, and sound that will deliver maximum creative impact in the most streamlined way.
Now, whether your event is 600 or 1,500 people, you know what to expect and can plan a flawlessly executed event that all your attendees will be talking about for weeks to come.