Essential equipment for the contemporary event manager

Books can tell you a lot about event management. What they don’t tend to tell you is the kind of equipment you may find yourself in desperate need of when you arrive. I have compiled a list of what I feel are essential items. I may add to this list over time, but this currently consists of items I seem to find myself using at almost every event I have run or helped out at.

1) Notepad and Pen

Ahh… the obvious one. Seriously, if you haven’t got these 2 items when you go to manage an event then you probably shouldn’t be running it in the first place. What some people will over look however is how absolutely vital it is to carry these 2 items EVERYWHERE. Leaving them on your make shift desk/in your bag/on the floor of the portaloo is a big mistake, because there is always something that needs to be written down, and you don’t want to look like the amateur who has to fumble around asking for a scrap of paper and some eyeliner whilst Jimmy Rockstar or Sir Henry Pompousgit reel off their ridiculous demands.

2) Sharpie Pens

Not just 1 either, a whole pack, or 10 whole packs. Because these are like gold dust. They write on most surfaces, and everyone will want to use yours at some point. I carry at least 8 with me to events. I tend to leave with a lot less due to the ludicrous need by all members of production crew for a pen that will write on the side of the tent/someones lost child/Barry the sound technicians forehead after he has passed out drunk at 5am.

3) High-Vis Vest

Stewart Noise poses in his vest whilst on gate duty.

There is never enough to go round, and at outdoor events especially, you are guaranteed to need it at some point. Get your own one and ensure your name is on it, because when it comes to helping out the stewards, manning the car park attendant role, or simply trying to look important and official, you don’t want to be the one who gets barged out of the way by anyone who has simply mistaken you for an arrogant punter.

4) Duct Tape

So it’s 5:30 am, and Barry the sound technician is still snoring away in the corner, the word “TWAT” is written in bold on his forehead and there appears to be some sort of phallus scribbled on his cheek. But the production crew are still bored, so it is time to tape as many objects as you can to poor Barry’s sweaty body. Duct Tape is the answer! Apart from becoming the hero of the after party when you pull this out and begin fastening 50 empty beer cans to Barry’s beer bloated torso, owning your own role of tape comes in handy for attaching signs to doors, fixing leaks, tidying cables and attaching lost children to their rather useless parents.

Note: An alternative / addition would be cable ties, they are neater for attaching things and easier to cut… as long as you have something to cut them with (See item 7).

5) High power PMR Radio

If you are running an event you will probably rent these. They will most likely either be made by Kenwood or Motorola. I have bought my own one, because it tends to be that everyone wants a radio, and even if they have no idea how to use it, simply by having it clipped to their belt makes them feel more important than Superman and Sir Alan Sugar combined. This usually leads to me no longer having a radio because every other person and their dog have grabbed them and are now on the airwaves broadcasting nonsense about Eastenders to each other. You can pick up a fairly decent one new for £130 or so, or alternatively buy second hand as these things are built to last.

6) Business Cards

With your name and contact details on them preferably. You’ll want to get these out to anyone who you haven’t met already. Networking is essential and getting contacts is what your job as an event manager relies on. Think of it like those football stickers you used to trade at school (well, I used to, you may have traded Spice Girl postcards or trading cards with cutesy cartoon animals on them with names like ‘Jigglytits’). The idea here is to get rid of all of your cards, and collect shiny new ones off of everyone else. Simple right?

7) Leatherman Tool

An essential, especially if you are a cable tie user. Sound/Lighting technicians and stage managers everywhere usually always come attached to one, and I recommend cable tying one to your hand to make for a useful 6th digit. Its uses are fairly obvious, my favourite being for threatening to pull the toenails off of merchants who refuse to pay for using their stall space after a festival. The only down side: everybody will pester you once they find out you are carrying one. You may end up turning your radio off or throwing it in the nearest body of water due to the constant high demand for your tool. Cutting the rope where the production team have tried to hang themselves due to stress is one of the more common needs for a Leatherman.

So there you have it, 6 7 items you shouldn’t go to an event without. I even suggest taking them if you aren’t running the event, as you will probably be able to go where you please, and you’ll know when the security are having a fag break so you can sneak back stage and meet Jimmy Rockstar himself. He is a dick though, so consider yourself warned.

Can I borrow your Leatherman now?

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