If there is an important lesson that I learned this year from being a quasi dance organizer is to accept that shit will always hit the fan. Once you accept this fact, it really is quite endearing – like a really bad joke that you haven’t heard in while being used an exactly the right moment that it’s instantly hilarious again.
Here is a really great quote by Carl Beuchner that I have been using for inspiration for the last few months for the Toronto Blues Dances, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This year I really worked on not worrying about things that doesn’t effect the overall awesomeness of your dance. Obviously you always want to learn from those mistakes but it’s not the end of the world if it does happen. What I did work on however is making sure that everybody who comes through the door feels welcomed (and that it’s great to see them again!), the volunteers who help out know they are making the event possible and are actually appreciated instead of being looked on as FREELOADERS, and that the DJs and the musicians who entertain the dancers get positive feedback throughout the night from community.
You would be surprised by how something as easy as telling your friends that if they really liked the music that night to let the people responsible know, can have a profound impact on the rest of the night. Second and third sets immediately have that much more OOMPH to it. Your DJs suddenly feel like they are doing more than just hitting play on their laptop and your musicians really start feeding off the energy of the room.
The same thing goes for your door shift volunteers. Some dances that I have door-shifted for have made me feel like I should be grateful that I’m coming to the dance for free and therefore I should be indebted until my shift is over. That is totally the wrong way to approach any volunteers because they are your first point of contact with dancers coming into your venue. They are the ones who are greeting new dancers to your community, the new dancers who will hopefully continue to come to your venue for years to come. Why treat your most enthusiastic and fanatic community members like a cheap work force?
An event you organize is really an extension of who you are as a person. If you genuinely are passionate about dancing and really care about your community, it will shine through at your dance. You might not open the venue on time and have everyone waiting outside in the freezing cold but I promise you they will walk away telling their friends what a great place it is to dance.
Working as an customer advocate for one of the most customer-service conscience companies in the world (FreshBooks wut!) day in and day out, I am always blown away when companies these days try to get away with just piss poor decisions.
A couple of weeks ago I was surfing the Facebooks and saw this:
Upon reading this message, I actually felt angry for Meschiya Lake and her band and embarrassed for our music scene. Here she was coming all the way to the great white north (Canadia land) and getting screwed over by the Zoofest music promoters. The business of live music, to me, should be fairly straight forward – party A provides a service that party B pays for. If we want to get more kick ass musicians to play for our scenes, whether they are local talent or imported from the States, our cities can’t be known for screwing over the musicians.
What ended up happening was that the Montreal swing dance scene pretty much bombarded the Zoofest Facebook Fan Page with comments requesting that they do the right thing and pay up!
In the end, everything worked out well as Zoofest did pay up, but it always makes me wonder why they weren’t just honest and straight up with the situation in the first place.