David Brayshaw column: Meet the professional events co-ordinator

David Brayshaw.
David Brayshaw.
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The night was deathly quiet, nothing stirred. The only noise was the clock quietly ticking in the hall, oh and the dog snoring.

The peace was suddenly interrupted by a high pitched scream: “£21,000? How can a simple carnival cost £21,000 to stage? More importantly, how can I possibly raise £21,000.”

Now back-track two weeks, when I decided to revive the Morecambe Carnival, scheduled for May 4 2014. The provisional route had been planned: the old RNLI station to the Battery, turn in the car park and back to the Dome Arena. After a few hiccups, the plan was coming together, or so I thought.

Now enter stage left, the Professional Event Co-ordinator.

I know that to make the Carnival a reality I need to persuade Lancaster City Council that I am serious about the idea and that I am capable of organising such an event. A friend suggests that I speak to a professional events co-ordinator.

Secretly I scoffed, that’s a made up job if I’ve ever heard one. I run my own business, what can an events co-ordinator know that I don’t?

Anyway, I set up the meetintg, expecting that I might pick up a few pointers before we part and I never see him again.

When he heard about my plans he said: “Great idea.”

Hah! I knew it, he’ll just sit there and nod and agree that I’ve done so well in my planning.

“But what are your plans for stewards? And security guards? First aid? And toilets?”

My mind is swirling, so many questions. I struggle to come up with answers, trying desperately to appear that I’ve at least considered some of these points. I fail miserably; too many questions. I realise that my wife is right, men can’t multi-task.

We sit there, opposite ends of the table, staring at each other. The steam from my coffee slowly rising, swirling into the air, as realisation dawns on me. The silence is deafening.

Finally I look at him and I can see that he has been here before. “I don’t know”, I muttered. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead”.

“Don’t worry” he says. “It’s my job to think of these things. I can help you with all of this and lots of other issues that you haven’t even thought of yet.”

And so, to the costs. Until now I’d allowed £500 for pre-event advertising and about £50 for drinks at the bar after the event. Now I’ve got 100 stewards, 20 to 30 security guards, high-vis tops, a stage, artists and a professional events co-ordinator to pay for. The total is £21,000 and that’s before my drinks!

Then, a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Morecambe Town Council has an annual pot of money to help fund Morecambe festivals.

Great news! The return of Morecambe Carnival is after all, a huge event for Morecambe in 2014. Isn’t it?