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Day One Guide for Event Staff
Helpful tips and tricks for event staff as they navigate their first day on the job
Congratulations! You just got scheduled to work your first event with XYZ Event Staffing and will be working gate security for the music festival happening in the park downtown. Dozens of performers are set to play some of your favorite songs all day, and you’re getting paid to be there! You’re thinking that there is no better place to be.
Who else gets paid to listen to a music festival all day long?
All of a sudden, your eagerness is overcome with anxiety! 😨
- Where do I go?
- What if I forget something?
- What if my phone dies?
- I don’t know anyone there!
Being new to a job and industry can be intimidating. Whether you are the person guiding traffic or the director of the event, you want to be set up for success and do well. Although I don’t have the magic sauce to guarantee success, here are a few things you’ll want to consider for smooth sailing.
- Know you are there to work, not play
- Don't be afraid to ask questions
- Pack smarter, not harder
- Appreciate the pros, acknowledge the cons
- People make events memorable
You're there to work, not play
As awesome as it is to be part of the festival and hear everyone have fun, you do have a job to do. Show up already in uniform. Your supervisor will respect you more for showing up ready to do your part.
Be coachable! You’ll have to learn about certain protocols if something out-of-the-normal happens, or step-up to fill a different role if there is a lack of staff.
Respect your employer’s request. If your employer asks you to stay at your spot from 10am-6pm, don’t run off to go watch your favorite singer at 5pm. Do your job and do it well. There’s honor in what you’re doing.
I’ve always been told, “There’s never been good consequences for not doing what you’re supposed to.”
Don't be afraid to ask questions
If you are unsure or don’t know where to go, are unclear about instructions, or are just clueless on what you need to do, speak up! Talk to someone. I promise you this, it’s a thousand times better to ask for help and be in the know, versus not and getting into trouble.
How can you help others if you can’t help yourself? Your employer and the event managers there want to help prepare you for success! Without you, they’d be a team member down. Your role is important. Know it and own it!
Pack smarter, not harder
When working at an event that is going to last all day, it is wise to pack some items with you that you can carry along that you might need.
Being on your feet for more than 8 hours might mean you get tired or get on your phone to see what’s happening in the festival on Twitter. Here are our top suggestions to bring to any event you work
- Water bottle (voted best of the best)
- Phone charger
- ID & Cash/Card (consolidate wallet)
- Comfy shoes (crew voted & approved)
- Hand sanitizer
9 times out of 10, the pros of working event staff at any event outweigh the cons every time. However, just like everything in life, there are both good things and bad things about working an event. My advice is to embrace the good and acknowledge, but don’t sulk, in the bad.
Some venue sites have staff-only areas for you to take your breaks and use the private staff-only restrooms! Speaking from personal experience, it is a luxury to have a private bathroom versus a loud, smelly, and hot public restroom.
Employer-provided meals are another (possible) perk that I’ve heard of from across the industry. That’s $15+ you don’t have to spend on a meal!
You also get to network with a ton of people, hearing about their stories and passions. Talking with attendees might be a bit more difficult depending on your position at the event, but bonding with your co-workers during events can help you build your network for future opportunities and will also help the time go by faster.
If you do happen to get a less than ideal shift, or have to deal with some drunk jerks, remind yourself of the overall experience you’re getting by working as an event staff. You’re getting paid to be somewhere other people are paying to be!
The people are what makes an event memorable
You can argue all day long that you’d remember your favorite performer play your favorite song and how you saw the drummer of the band walk past you. But what makes an event so special are the people that help make the event happen.
You directed people in-line to the nearest bathroom after they had waited all day to get inside. You saw someone overheating and told your supervisor to check on them. They’re able to watch their favorite performer with their friends because of you.
You talked to a group of fans that asked about your favorite singer, and they asked for a picture with you. They’ll share that picture later with their friends on social media saying, “We love Kevin!”
You also got to meet a ton of really cool people that worked with you! Your manager appreciated you coming early, in uniform, and staying at your assigned post throughout the event. She asks you to work again tomorrow and mentioned she’d put you closer to the action!
Your co-worker is big into music and is trying to make it in the music industry, and you both exchanged numbers in hopes to help each other out with gigs in the future.
The live events industry can be complicated. Some describe it as “organized chaos.” I hope these tips are useful to apply at your first event! If I missed any that you feel should be included, please let me know! We’d love to hear YOUR advice for people entering the event staffing/crowd management world.
If you enjoyed this article, check out this podcast episode 👇