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Special Events

Creating the 3 Ultimate Event Checklist

Although keeping tabs on every aspect of a special event can be daunting, event producer Clare Sullivan Jackson, CSEP, has a simple solution: create a master checklist.

Jackson, president of Houston-based Sullivan Group, led more than 140 participants in the workshop "Check It Off! The Design and Implementation of a Master Checklist" at The Special Event '99 in Orlando, Fla.

"In the workshop, we were trying to come up with a master list that could be used by everybody in the business to provide an understanding of every event element," Jackson says. "Com-bining different aspects of the profession brought things to light that I never would have thought of."

Jackson created and distributed a checklist outline for the participants to flesh out. Each group (e.g., rentals, lighting) was assigned a team leader for guidance. "Then we came together to share our lists and give the whole room an opportunity to add to them," she says. "The real value of it was getting input from more than 140 event professionals from various disciplines.

"Going into an event with this type of checklist leaves very little to chance," Jackson says. "If more people would manage their businesses this way, we could raise the level of professionalism in our industry."

Below is the checklist outline Jackson provided in her workshop. See page 84 for the items the workshop teams suggested for the Facility-Indoor section.

General Event Categories:

Facility-Indoor 1. Usable square footage

2. Location of loading dock and hours

3. Lighting controls/power availability/supplemental power

Facility-Outdoor 1. Water source

2. Power supply

3. Type and sizes of tents

Security 1. Type of security



2. Number of security checkpoints/roaming

3. Consumption of alcoholic beverages

Parking 1. Define parking for staff, rigs, trailers

2. Define parking for guests

3. Define traffic pattern

Transportation 1. Type and number of vehicles

2. Driver instructions/exact routes

3. Signage

Restroom Facilities 1. Permanent or convenience

2. Location and number of units

3. Supplies

Lighting for Load In/Load Out 1. Existing or temporary

2. Location

3. Power needed

Emergency Risk Management 1. First aid/EMS/fire marshal on-site

2. Fire extinguishers, type and quantity; chain-of-command

3. Flame-resistant materials only

Permits and Licenses 1. Off-premise beverage license

2. Sound permits/special effects permits

3. Parking permits

Insurance 1. Proof of liability insurance

2. Proof of workers' compensation

3. Proof of liquor liability

Overall Power Requirements 1. Functional lighting/decorative lighting

2. Caterer requirements-oven, coffeemaker, etc.

3. Entertainment

Equipment List-Rentals and Purchases 1. Tables/chairs

2. Stage-type, size, height

3. Tenting-type, size, color

4. Miscellaneous

Decor 1. Entrance

2. Ceiling

3. Stage

Site Plan 1. Conceptual

2. CAD drawing of tables, staging, etc.

3. CAD drawing of lighting and technical plan

Audiovisual 1. Sound requirements

2. Screens-type of projection, size, quantities

3. Lighting-functional/ambient

Entertainment 1. Dressing rooms for talent

2. Performance schedule

3. Hair/makeup/costuming requirements

Food and Beverage 1. Guest ratio for buffets and bars

2. Walk-up bars or cocktail service

3. Define traffic flow

Staff 1. Hosts/hostesses

2. Directions

3. Registration

Signage 1. Alpha signs for registration

2. No smoking

3. Restrooms

Special Services 1. Special trash pickup

2. Lift operators

3. Disabled needs

Contingency Plan 1. Rain/flooding

2. Loss of power

3. Speaker/emcee/entertainer cancels

how did you do?

During the "Check It Off" workshop, more than 140 participants named 34 elements for the first category, Facility-Indoor. Here are their suggestions:

Facility-Indoor 1. Usable square footage

2. Location of loading dock and hours

3. Lighting controls/power availability/supplemental power

4. Facility contact

5. Space capacity

6. Floor plan/room dimensions, ceiling height, HVAC system, smoking/nonsmoking, exits, entrances

7. Water source available

8. On-/off-site catering

9. Kosher facility

10. Disability access

11. Green room

12. Kitchen facility-available equipment, location, size

13. Available storage

14. Available staging

15. Lost and found-items, children

16. Signage-traffic control

17. Decor rental available

18. Adult-to-child ratio

19. Liquor licenses

20. Trash disposal-dumpsters, recycle, portable restrooms

21. Ingress and egress

22. Union house

23. Dressing rooms

24. Parking-size, location (guest), location (staff)

25. Valet service

26. Coat-check service

27. Overnight accommodations

28. Room dividers

29. In-house support

30. Decor restrictions

31. Setup/breakdown hours

32. Contract development-deposit requirement, contract, raid date

33. Pre-convention meeting

34. In-house audiovisual equipment list

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