What if it rains?
If heavy rain/cold is in the forecast, there is no charge to cancel or postpone your event to another day. Alternately, if you stick with your date, we have a “Performer Tips” sheet in our How-To kit that gives performers ideas on how to prepare for rain. The upshot of sudden weather is to let the performers who can carry on do so – e.g. if they have partial cover from a garage, or a little rain won’t hurt them, then the key is for the organizer to coordinate in real-time through cell contact with performers and on social media to the public. That way, the organizer can share on social media when various performers drop out, or are still going. We usually give a nice shout out to the “last act standing” when there is rain.
Do I need a City Event Permit?
NOTE: This is not an event on city land… it is an “entertainment series” – a volunteer group of people entertaining around a community, on their own properties and in nearby greenspaces. There are no tickets sold, and there is no guarantee of attendance. So this is why we don’t fall under normal City permit requirements. In 2020 we were supported by both our MLA and City bylaw officers. We have run successfully without violating social distancing and maximum attendee numbers (even when they were just 50 attendee maximums). The food trucks, if they attend, choose locations they know are permissible, and just need to be invited to attend. We have not closed any roads. Any traffic generated is mostly walkers and cyclists around the neighbourhood.
How do I stay within COVID restrictions?
There will likely be outdoor gathering limits. We have a waiver in our participation form that has performers agree to watch the sizes of their audience. If the audience gets close to the maximum limit, the performers agree to take a break, and/or ask some of the spectators to move along to the next performer. We also provide “social distancing” signage with crowd-size limits to organizers to post at each performance location. An Isobreaker can be successfully and safely run with outdoor gathering limits of at least 30 people.
How do I build a team of returning performers and volunteers?
We started a chat group on Facebook for the “Pioneers” who first volunteered in my community, which included all the folks who jumped on to participate in the first couple events. This makes it easier to float new ideas and get feedback.
How may performers do you need to do an event?
About 5 – 10 performers is a good start. You could solicit participants and THEN set the date when you have enough if you want to be cautious.
When do you recommend we hold an Isobreaker?
Summer afternoons (choose a 2 – 3 hour window, longer if you have more performers) are great because lots of families are out on bicycles and this reduces car traffic. Two or three hours is recommended. But you can also create other small experiences year round; we have facilitated Christmas carolling in the winter, a scavenger hunt in the fall, and evening outdoor jams any time the weather permitted.
What equipment will I need?
In the How-to kit, we provide either templates to make your own signs, or a the signs/banners themselves (depending on which kit set-up you buy or rent); there are also some game instructions.
Some young or inexperienced performers may need to borrow a microphone or a PA. I encourage you to facilitate these things, since no one stops to listen most musical acts unless someone has at least a small PA! Tell the performers at least go and pick them up and set them up themselves if you can. Anything you may need can usually be borrowed – just make a post on a community page: “We have a couple young singers for the Stompede who need a PA/microphones. Would anyone be willing to lend equipment to them?” Same goes with generators. Alternately Long and McQuade can rent a performer a mic/stand/guitar amp setup for about $15 a weekend.
What if we have a well-known band?
If you have a popular band in your neighbourhood, we suggest you put them in a green space instead of a front lawn, and schedule their show with breaks so the other performers also share in the foot traffic. You might need to help them track down a generator. But this is easy to borrow from within the community if you just post about it on a community Facebook group page, and tell them what you need it for. Also, the owners of the generators may be willing to gas them up, and if so, thank them online for this!
Do you want food trucks?
There are a lot of food trucks looking for business. Don’t do too many – and keep them well spaced since they do attract crowds. They will come for no charge if its likely to be worth their while (enough people buying food around), and they love working with us. We can provide contacts here for you to inquire. It’s good to put some kind of entertainment near them, but not too close to avoid too much crowding. Two trucks in one area is a good limit for crowd control – and we recommend by 50 meters or so along a green space.
Should businesses be involved?
If businesses want to participate and promote themselves, negotiate a modest sponsorship from them if you can. There are guidelines on this in the How-to kit. We have no issue with individuals (artists, musicians etc.) promoting their work, however, and do not normally request a sponsorship from them. Most people understand that this is an opportunity for fun, not so much profit.
Should we pay professional musicians?
We do not recommend this – if professionals are brought in and paid, then it reinforces the message that the home-grown talent from within the community isn’t good enough. (Professional musicians certainly can perform if they are willing to volunteer. As per the above, they are okay to sell CD’s, but we do not want “tip jars” or busking, as it puts financial pressure on spectators.) What will surprise you is how much real talent and variety there is in every community – and even if it’s just in development, it still has huge entertainment value. People need only watch part of a show, and move onto the next entertainer…remembers, they haven’t paid for tickets, so they are always surprised and delighted to discover what exists right beside them – this is EXACTLY what builds the community pride and bonding!
What about those who can’t get out?
In Lake Bonavista, we have added a few more things, based on requests. 1) Something in the morning for parents with young kids, since the wee-ones nap in the afternoon 2) Something to entertain people who can’t come out of their homes, i.e. are elderly or ill…so we made a little mobile entertainment team that visits them, concurrent with the Isobreaker timeframe. If you’d like to do this, we’ll can give you a templates for that too (guidelines and a schedule methodology we made). Simply contact us.