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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 4314
Age Group: Adult
Posted: May 26th. 2002
Duties, Care & Feeding of Guest Speakers & Artists
by Patricia Telesco
In keeping with the overall theme of our Festival series, this article is directed to both the guest speakers/artists and festival coordinators. Putting together a GOOD gathering isn't easy, and you need "names" to put on your advertising. Nonetheless, it's not always easy to find the right speakers and artists, nor know exactly what to expect from these individuals. Likewise, guests don't always know what to expect from a gather!
The most important thing to remember in the Festival Equation is that there is a partnership of trust between a festival coordinator and a presenter or artist. It's very important that everyone do their "jobs" and remain responsible to the community. For example, presenters and artists need to start and finish talks or performances on time (professionalism does not allow for Pagan Standard Time, and remember that other people may be waiting to use your space). They need to be available to the community to share, teach, and interact on an intimate level (you cannot teach or provide guidance if you're not present and atttentive to the community). Third, they need to be mindful that festival staff members are NOT there to be personal servants (common sense and courtesy still goes a long way). It doesn't matter how "famous" you are - among family putting on airs isn't appreciated. Bear in mind that high maintenance presenters don't typically get invited back very often.
Similarly, festival coordinators need to keep a presenter or artist aware of anything that could effect him or her throughout the weekend. Don't assume information has reached him or her. Second, make sure any *special* needs have been attended to (for example, if the temperature's droped get the extra blanket over to their tent before dark). Third, don't just wander off and leave a guest to fend for themselves if they've never been to this site! I'm very independent, but like to know how to find showers and other facilities! Also, in your scheduling process try to give them some time to "play" - speakers and artists need spiritual feeding too! Working all weekend, no matter how spiritual the atmosphere, just doesn't provide real soul food. As the saying goes, those that serve need service.
To ease the Gathering preparation process, I've made a list of questions typically asked by a Festival Coordinator when interviewing potential speakers, as well as information they can provide. Note, however, that speakers and artists can ASK for this information if it isn't provided in the initial contacts. I also highly recommend that speakers and artists offer this information on a public website (it will save a lot of time).
What is your standard fee (honorarium) for a ____ day event (fill in the blank for the number of days you need the speaker to be on site)?
What type of transportation do you require?
Do you have any allergies or other physical condiditions of which we should be aware in our planning (back problems, for example, might require a real bed over camping options).
Dietary and lodging requirements?
Do you have a list of your lectures that we can review? If so, please provide.
Do you need a table for vending (and covering for same)? If so how much space do you require? Do you need electricity?
How will you get your goods to the event (if applicable)
Do you use a standard contract for events? If so, once we agree on the specifics, please send it to us.
How can you help us network and advertise for this event (and how can we help you do the same)?
Do you have references (other festival coordinators with whom you've worked) that we can contact?
Can you provide a brief biography and a picture for advertising and promotion purposes?
Are you willing to run a ritual (or other special event) or minimally help with some other community-oriented happening?
What efforts do you make to remain available and accessible to the community when you're at an event?
Will you need anything special for your lecture, workshop or entertainment (microphone, dry wipe board, etc)?
How can we reach you quickly between now and the event (note this information is kept private)?
What to expect on site (facilities like showers, cabins, telephones, etc.)
How many lectures or performances he or she is required to provide (and how long they should last)
If you would like them to participate in other community activities and if so which ones, and to what extent (many of these things require prep work!).
How transportation will be handled and by who (this typically comes up when someone is flying into an airport). Guests will need a contact phone number (and a back up phone number) in case of delays or other problems
On site contact numbers, address etc. This is especially helpful to speakers with families who may need to contact them for emergencies etc.
Schedule of lectures and other events for the duration of the speaker's stay
Menu (if applicable) in case of dietary issues
What type of weather to expect so guests can pack accordingly
If there will be a specific point person to whom they should direct questions (for example, if you have a guest liason or a merchant coordinator)
If they will need a permit to merchant, and if so how to obtain one
If there is the option of using a credit card service (and any associated fees)
If there is someone who can run interferance for problematic situations (an overly needy "fan" for example).
Who a presenter/artist should go to with problems outside their normal scope of influence such as a theft or improper behavior at the ritual fire (security? the festival coordinator?)
By keeping the words Honor, Respect, and Gratitude as part of our working vocabulary, we can make every festival a positive experience for guests, attendees, and the Coordinators. Honor each other's needs, path, and knowledge. Respect each other's space and responsibilities. Be thankful that we have this incredible opportunity to gather together and celebrate our faith.
The Witches' Voice
May 27th., 2002
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Location: Amherst, New York
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