For the second consecutive year, Shiftgig partnered with THD Experiential to staff the Dark Lord Day event at Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Ind. The one-day event is a chance for beer enthusiasts around the country to share their collections, purchase Dark Lord stout, and enjoy a festival-like atmosphere with bands, food trucks, and fun.
2017 was Shiftgig’s first year serving as the sole provider of staff for the event. With more than 80 Specialists deployed to Munster for the day, it was a large order, with many shifts beginning as early as 6 a.m.
Zhelka Adelmann, who has worked as a a Shiftgig Specialist for more than two and a half years, helped supervise and manage the event alongside THD. This was Zhelka’s third year working the event, and helping to ensure the more than 8,000 festival goers had a seamless — and more importantly fun — experience.
Here, we talk to Zhelka about how this year’s Dark Lord Day festival went, how the event has changed from years past, and running a successful event with complex logistics and a large workforce.
Be prepared for things to change.
Despite having worked this event for a few years now, they change things up a bit each time. For instance, this year there was only one gate entrance, and one large stage for registration and band distribution instead of two. So from a staffing perspective, we have to be prepared for those changes and set crowd expectations because of them. But when you’re on the fly, you figure it out and trooper through it.
Full-day festivals are exhausting.
In my history as an staffing supervisor and working with Shiftgig, I’ve worked with a lot of people. At an event like this one, since the staffing order is so large, you sometimes get a few “newbies” who are working their first festival and don’t know what to expect. You just do your best to prepare them for the day ahead, and hope that they catch on quickly. There are a lot of people — like me — who love the festival environment, and will work events like this rain or shine. But either way, your first time working a full-day event like Dark Lord Day can be eye opening experience, but I also think a lot of them will come back next year because they had such a great time.
Communication is key.
Consistent and clear communication with both the workers and the client is obviously incredibly important when we’re working a large festival. In this case, THD Experiential has a few years of experience under their belt organizing this particular festival. Because it was their second year using Shiftgig, their communication up front meant that we were able to organize and plan in advance to make the event successful for our Specialists.
A group of the Specialists and I met early that morning to take a bus to Munster from Chicago, which gave me a chance to talk with them, get them energized for the event, and review all of the rules for the day, as well as go over what we needed to do to make sure everything ran smoothly. That early communication and bus ride definitely helped us all get on the same page right from the start.
Keep your energy up.
The 2016 event that I worked had terrible weather — it was raining and freezing. But the festival carried on with 100 percent attendance, so we had to be prepped and ready to do our jobs so we could keep the client happy. It can be difficult to stay positive when you’re out in the elements all day, but we did our best to keep up morale.
Ultimately, I love this work — I love festivals, managing large events like conferences, and being on-site, so the day goes by quickly. Having a positive attitude and keeping your energy level high helps ensure that everyone enjoys themselves — rain or shine!
Know your needs.
Dark Lord Day is a huge event each year and continues to grow, so it’s important to know who you’re going to be dealing with from a crowd perspective. Working with a client like THD is an ideal scenario because I’ve worked with them before and know how they like to operate — they are extremely organized, and put in the appropriately-sized order for Shiftgig Specialists.
For example, we had floaters so we could seamlessly cover staff breaks, and it definitely made the day run more smoothly. At the end of the day, our priorities are to hit a 100% fill rate, and have happy attendees, which means a happy client. I think we did that at this year’s Dark Lord Day, and had a blast while we were at it!
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