Midwest Festival Guild Philosophy
By Doc Archer
“Dedicated To Community Prosperity Through Community Events”
Years ago I made a living as a community event designer. The public event involves considerable time, money and effort to present a first year production. Most small communities avoid financially successful productions because they consider their budgets are too small to waste on frivolous activities. Yet it is the fun of fundraising that draws the revenues from out of town visitor resources. Most especially on the holidays, folks are looking to congregate, celebrate and vacate. The best time to leave town and blow off steam are the holidays. But where does one go without a place to go?
Let’s take an example… If only taverns and restaurants celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the region’s income doesn’t effectively change from its ordinary weekend revenues to support community projects. However, when the whole region offers a Saint Paddy’s Grand Parade, Celtic Games, Irish music, dancing, clothes, arts and gifts, the entire region provides out of town revenues to their cities… Motels, restaurants and gas stations fill… Musicians, artisans and vendors make revenues as well.
It requires definitive event plans that responsible community leaders, merchants and cultural associations are pleased to endorse. The proposal includes a business plan similar in context to what real estate developers, architects and contractors must consider.
A regional festival is, in its full reality, a five-county fairgrounds that is advertising numerous activities happening within 125 miles from ground zero. If the State Capitol is ground zero, the revenue target is the State Capitol. Yet the event also helps generate funds to the taxpayers and non-profit associations throughout the region at the same time.
Are there Irish-Celtic Associations in America and Ireland that wish to support their heritage? Of course. Are there Celtic Games Asociations that needs to promote rugby? Most certainly.
Every world culture lives in America. Every culture on Earth needs to celebrate their heritage. Cultural pride is the antithesis of war. And every event of cultural significance will be financially successful when structured with a sensible business plan.
History tells us through mythology, in the year 776 BC, the Early Greek Empire inspired a foot-race on the Olympia. The winner was a swift lad named Koibos, but for the sake of the Heraclean legends, Heracles, son of the god Zeus was gifted the honor of winning the race of the first Olympics Festival.
Beyond the legends, the learned Council of Athens, the intellectual and business-minded leaders of the Greek Empire, saw an opportunity to allow the Mediterranean world to bring their merchant ships to Greece to sell their products & services throughout the nations of Africa and Europe. Greece would then become Mediterranean’s Trade Center.
Without doubt it was a wise move to draw the Mediterranean traders to the Greek Islands! A brilliant strategy to invte friends and enemies to a safeground from war for the sake of world trade! In those prehistoric times, when most of the world residents lived in shacks, lean-tos and mountain caves,
Greece devised a month of peace and abundance for the merchants of their world. What bold and extremely wise human concocted such a humane enterprise? We don’t know.
This momentous event called the Olympics was most logically staged in early autumn… That would be the time when the first harvests, new wines and brews were available. Also it was the season when the weather was neither beastly hot nor rainy… Late September, perhaps. Four weeks of autumn concentrated to food & beverages, sports competitions, music, plays, slave auctions and debauchery. In those days it required four years to establish and continue this brief season of peaceful international trade.
The food and wine merchants most likely came foreward to the Hellenic Olympic Commitee. They explained that when the festival was repeated in autumn, both the visiting and local people would need bounteous supplies of foods and beverages… Grains and fruits were being harvested. Autumn wines and brews were available. Merchant investors were on the heels of the food sellers. Llivestock, prostitutes, slaves, ships, wagons, iron and bronze hardwares could be traded on the blocks.
The next group that came foreward reminded the Committee the Olympics was a Sport Competition. Sports were gambling competitions, which inspired huge revenues. The next group were the Artisan Guilds who wished to trade tools & techniques with other guildsmen of the world. Finally, Cultural Entertainment was added to the event list. Music, poetry, plays and philosophic seminars were staged in the Acropolis of Athens. The ancient Greek elders would have known they would make revenues, by bringing other traders to the Islands. But how could they overcome mankind’s natural urge to commit war? There had to be an annual truce with all nations bordering the Mediterrean Seas. How could such a truce be enacted with countries committed to war with their neighbors?
History doesn’t tell us who created the Olympics, but we do know the festival began in the 8th Century BC and lasted until Emperor Theodocious banned the Olympic Games, the Hellenistic pagan practices and the Vestal Virgins in 393 AD. So began the Christian Holy Wars. It was also the beginning of the Dark Middle Ages, fraught with regional wars, ignorance, diseases and claims of witchcraft against non-Christians.
In the late 16th century, Marco Polo, his father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo made the epic trek across Eastern Europe, from Venice, Italy to Emperor Kublai Kahn’s palace in Xanadu, China. Thanks to Explorer Polo, the “Merchant of Venice,” his home city became the capital of finance and trade throughout Europe from the beginning of the 14th century through the 17th century. Venice is also remembered as the city that spawned “The Renaissance.” The Age of Enlightenment encouraged the studies of science, arts, inventions, philosophy and medicines. With the passing of the Dark Ages, the Trading Festivals returned. If these are the facts of ancient history, can such events be presented in a region of Central Missouri? Yes.
Learn how an event in your region could be effectively staged by reading “The Art of Staging the Five Star Festival” at this Website.