Your Checklist for a Successful Technology Festival!

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This last weekend, we kicked of the first Music, Marketing & Tech Midwest Event (#MTMW) – an event here in Indianapolis to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of my Dad who we lost last year. This is the first event that I’ve ever put on so it was quite terrifying. However, it went off without a hitch and I want to provide insight to others as to why it was so successful.

We decided to do a technology festival rather than the average, boring conference so that folks could unwind and be social with one another rather than being bored to tears by the next bad Powerpoint. Attendees could still have one on one time with sponsors to evaluate their offerings… but without the speeches.

  • Charity – regardless of your event, you can do well by ensuring some proceeds from the event go to a specific charity. In our case, we donated 100% of the proceeds to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. We even had attendees start their own money-raising initiatives that combined with ours! Thanks #run4doug
  • Sponsors – having a charity enabled us to go out and find sponsors for signage, gift cards, staff, food, and music. We worked with sponsors to see how we could keep packages at a low cost by trading efforts with them – and it worked!
  • Venue – the right venue is critical. We selected the Rathskeller in Indianapolis – a fantastic centerpiece of a trendy section of town with access from everywhere – it had a beer garden, a bar and a ball room – all with stages and sound to run music. The staff were there to make it a success and exceeded all expectations.
  • Public RelationsDittoe PRworked tirelessly for months to connect with local television, radio, newspaper and online media outlets to promote the event. The event was a massive success thanks to their efforts!
  • Social Media – we posted almost every day on our site and throughout social media channels to continue enticing people into coming. We also advertised on Facebook and Twitter to drive more awareness. We worked with Site Strategics, local search experts who promoted the event socially and on our marketing radio show.
  • Music – A diverse array of music… from Blues to Bluegrass and Folk to Jazz was present. We even ran a high-definition virtual concert in our technology hall from Atmosphere.
  • Event Management – Steve Gerardi is a local event promoter and knew everything that needed planned and executed down to every detail. He was nothing short of amazing throughout the planning and execution of the event.
  • Online Registration – Attendees could pay online and we had a visitor list at the gate, along with an iPad where they could pay by credit card. Instead of tickets, we distributed color-coded wrist bands where the sponsors, adults, children and bands all had their own color for easy identification.
  • Signage – We needed promotional items, maps, a red carpet backdrop for photos, banners and flyers… and partnered with an incredible company PERQ to get those done.
  • PrizesPERQ programmed their FATWIN kiosks at the event where every attendee could register and win prizes. This increased foot traffic to our technology hall and our attendees all went home with a prize!
  • Sound – I can’t stress how important the sound was. With the right balance of music and people, everyone was having a blast at the event without it being too loud. People were able to have conversations and still hear the amazing talent playing in the background. The technology hall was down a notch so that sponsors would get more attention. Pyramid Sound Works led by Mike Ottinger led the sound and it was amazing!
  • T-ShirtsThe Art Press designed a commemorative T-Shirt for the festival that sold out (but you can still order them online here until May 10th). Staff had t-shirts with STAFF printed on the back. The Art Press also set up a merchandise table that accepted credit cards and even built the online ordering site so folks could buy a shirt later!
  • Food & Drink – to contrast the amazing German menu, we also enlisted an amazing local New York Pizzeria to park their food truck at the gate to the event. Both venues said they did fantastic sales throughout… and the crowd was hungry! While part of the venue was a bar, we also had the ball room available if folks weren’t comfortable around the drinking.
  • Charging Stations – Everyone has a phone and they all need charged. Thankfully for us, Powerqube delivered a pallet of their amazing smart chargers and everyone was able to take photos and share them throughout the day! Dead batteries mean there’s no sharing!!!
  • Video and Photos – we brought in the best event photographer in the state, Paul D’Andrea. And we had Isaac Daniel, an accomplished videographer who specializes in storytelling come with a team, a collection of cameras and GoPros, and non-stop energy. (Videos are getting download and mixed as I write this).


What Did We Miss?

While it was a great event, I believe we missed a couple items:

  1. Programs – A mini-program would have been great welcoming people, providing important links, descriptions of sponsors, and a schedule for them!
  2. Sponsor Visits – I think a Bingo-style card where folks had to get a stamp from each sponsor in order to play FATWIN would have driven more traffic to each technology booth.

Just a note – I was nominated for the Man & Woman of the Year campaign and you can still donate through May 10th!

What do you think?

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