[Noisebridge-discuss] general event checklist

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Tue Mar 12 01:52:38 UTC 2013

Here's all the stuff that came to mind when James was talking about
holding a performance-based event at Noisebridge.

This will go on the wiki.  Please do comment, add, discuss.


1. How many people do you expect at the event?  How big of a space
does it require?

2. Within the required space, do you have to move furniture out of the
way?  Where will it go?

3. Is any furniture required by the event (e.g. merch table, "bar",
entrance table?)

4. Does the event require a fee?  If so, how much?  How will you
approach those who were at NB ahead of the event that day if they
don't want to be at the event and/or don't believe they should have to
pay the fee?

5. If the event calls for a donation rather than a required fee, is
there some piece-of-swag you can hand to donators to make them feel
good and create "conspicuous consumption" to encourage more people to
donate?  (Examples: assembled LED badges, very simple musical
instruments, stickers, buttons, etc)

6. Should the event be considered a de facto introduction to
Noisebridge itself?  If so, perhaps designate 2 or 3 "staff" to give
people tours in small groups as needed.

7. Since Noisebridge's ethos revolves around hands-on experiences, is
there a way the event can provide some small microcosm of that
experience to event-goers?

8. Is it possible that the event will push people away from their
projects? Make sure you have thought through some reasonable
suggestions for where people might move. "Visualize" the conversations
you might have with hackers who have just as much a right to the space
as you do, regardless of how far ahead you put your stuff on the

9. What kind of A/V equipment do you need?  Do you plan to livestream
the event to the internet?  If so, make sure you connect with someone
who has the password to the noisebridge livestream account.  (Or set
up your own account.)  Plan to broadcast the link to the livestream
via social media channels like Twitter, FB, etc.  No point in
livestreaming if nobody has the link.

10. Does the event require a "green room" and/or "backstage" for
performers?  If so, where will that space be? How will it be segmented
off (made apparent that it's not part of the event for the audience)?
How much "stuff" will your performers and volunteers have that needs
to be kept apart from the audience?

11. Which spaces will be explicitly *not* part of the event?  (I would
suggest that at least 2 spaces, one classroom and the machine shop,
always be available to non-event-goers.)  How will you corral
event-goers away from these spaces?  (This is sort of a question of
your level of trust in your audience.)  Keep in mind that the presence
of alcohol makes people a little more likely to break social contracts
and cross implied barriers, so in many cases, a physical barrier might
be a good idea.

12. All of the equipment currently sitting in the space that you want
to use for the event needs to be handled with respect.  Make contact
with as many stake-holders as possible to see if there are any special
concerns or considerations regarding moving/handling the equipment.
Try emailing to the list first, then perhaps leaving notes on top of
stuff with instructions on how to contact you.

K WEEKS OUT (where K = as many as you have, b/c it's never too early
to plan well):

1. Make fliers and/or a poster that can be left on the table at the
front of Noisebridge.   Include as much detail as necessary (and no

* Event NAME

* Event STYLE that lets people understand what type of experience to expect.
   ** (e.g. "a lecture on subatomic particle physics", "hands-on
experiments in phospholuminescent DNA tagging", "lolcats: the

* Sublocation within Noisebridge, e.g. "Turing classroom"
* Time of Day
* Day of the Week
* Calendar Date (including year)
* Contact person and/or website

2. Put your event on the noisebridge.net wiki among the Upcoming
Events.  Keep it updated by checking the page every few days or at
least once a week.

3. Spread the word.


1. Post to the NB-discuss list that the event will happen that week.

2. If machine-shop noise would disrupt the event, post a separate
message to NB-discuss with a title like, "ABC Event this week, kindly
do machining before N pm" (where N=time that event will start, or time
during event during which machine noise would disrupt proceedings.)

3. Line up all A/V equipment needed.  Do a dry run of camera and PA
operations.  Make sure you have all the cables you need for
microphones and guitars and whatnot.

4. If livestreaming, make sure it's going to work.  It's OK to test by
using the real livestream. Try the recording function. Watch it to see
if the camera angles and lighting are going to be good enough for your

5. Rally your people. Volunteers are variably punctual, so if you can,
arrange lots of overlap amongst duties, shifts, and quantities of
"staff".  Tell most volunteers to get there about an hour before you
actually need them.

6. If you need a separate box to take fees or donations, make sure you have one.

7. Think through all of the "day of event" planning.  Envision the
amount of "stuff" that will be involved in the event and where it
needs to go.

8. Acquire booze, snacks, and other provisions.  Make sure volunteers
can keep their energy and spirits up. Remember to ask them if they
have dietary restrictions or preferences. Take allergies seriously.
(If you need some perspective on which foods are life-threatening for
some people even to be in the presence of, like peanuts, and which you
should simply remember to label, like gluten and dairy, ask Naomi.)

9. Think about how many waste receptacles will be needed, what kind
(recycling, compost, etc) and in how many places.  Stock up on trash

10. Bathroom supplies: get LOTS of toilet paper.  Might want to also
keep a stack of clean dry towels handy in case of leaks and overflows.


1. Early in the day, make sure you write on the whiteboard what's
going to happen later that day.  Make it big, bold, and legible.

2. How early are event-attenders likely to show up?  Should they be
given a tour of Noisebridge?

3. Set up food, booze, etc.  Think through the likely walking patterns
and noise profiles of the event.  Typically it's best to set up a
"bar" near the kitchen when the event is at the front.  If the event
is going to be rather large, keep in mind that areas near the "bar"
will get pretty noisy.

4. At what time do you need to start setting up?  You'll have to tell
the people who are using the area that it's about to be used for a
special purpose.

5. Cordon off event-space and non-event-space as needed.

6. Make a map of where any stuff you had to move out of the way used
to be, so that it's easy to get it all back to its original places.


1. Monitor the waste receptacles well.  When a trash bin starts to
overflow, a recycling bin will start acquiring regular waste, even if
a waste bin further away is nearly empty.

2. Make sure there's a knowledgable person near to the door at all
times to help people understand what's happening and make them feel
welcome.  Hackers just looking for a place to hack should be informed
of where they can do that.

3. Keep tabs on the bathrooms.  Hopefully you don't run out of TP or
require a plumber, but these things happen.


1. Clean, clean, and double-clean.  Food waste especially needs to be
dealt with swiftly, lest we continue breeding Rats of Unusual Size.

2. If PGE trash bins are overflowing, something will need to be done
about that.  (Find a dumpster? I'm not sure what people do in these

3. Put everything back the way it was.

4. If anything important/expensive/dangerous got broken, make a note
of it and send it to the NB-discuss list, or send an email directly to
the concerned parties.

Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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