Section 1

Scoping your Event

Whether you are planning to create or launch a new event, or you are a seasoned event professional, planning your event is the key to success. There are a number of important considerations and decisions to make up front, and a focus on detail in the planning stages can save you a lot of time, stress and money down the track.

The purpose of this Event Guide is to help guide you through different stages of planning your event. Below are some key considerations you will need to make in deciding whether or not to run an event:

Event Purpose

People run events for a variety of reasons and it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you plan to achieve by putting on your event. Before you commit to running an event you need to do your research. Look at whether other similar events have been run before in similar regions and where possible talk to people who have run similar events and if you can, get along to see the event in action.

Why are you running this event?

  • Raise money for charity
  • As a Business Enterprise to turn a Profit.
  • Create a Community Celebration.
  • Promote something you love to community.
  • Other

How you answer the above question may influence how you plan for your event.


Choosing an appropriate time of year to run your event will be crucial to its success.

Some things worth considering include:

  • Get to know the event calendar in the region, and learn about the busy periods and quieter times.
  • Even if other events don’t directly compete with your event, people only have so much available time and disposable income to spend on events, so you may be better suited to run your event when there is less on.
  • Other events can detract from your event in terms of competing for patrons and media coverage etc.
  • Depending on the type of event they can also compliment your event. For example a number of Food events being held at the same time could provide the opportunity to co-promote and attract a greater number of patrons.
  • Large events that run over multiple days will occupy a lot of accommodation in the area, so if you plan to attract visitors from outside the region to your event, avoid running at the same time as other major events.
  • Identify who your core audience is, if children or families are a target market, does school holidays help or hinder your event.
  • Weather plays a factor in many events so make sure you have a good understanding of the regions annual weather patterns.
  • Duration of your event, How many hours or days will it run? The length of your event will have a direct correlation to your budget, the longer the event, typically the more resources and costs will be associated. Don’t forget to factor your Event Set up and Pack down days, most venues will still charge venue rental on these days.

To view the current calendar of events, check out our What’s On page or phone the Stadium and Major Events team at Council for further information on (02) 6648 4950

Management Model

There are a number of management models for events, they can be run by business, not-for-profits, individuals, sporting groups, or even a combination of these, to name just a few. One key consideration in what Management Model you adopt will directly relate to the legal entity you will be required to set up, and the appropriate insurances to cover your activities.

Council will require a minimum of $20 million Public Liability Insurance in place to cover your event (see Section 7: Risk Management for more information on Insurance). Seek expert advice when deciding on a management model and be sure you consider and understand the financial and non-financial obligations that come with managing events.

Identifying an event team is an important decision to be made early. There are many different areas of an event to organise and depending on the size of your event, having assigned responsibilities to different team members will avoid things becoming too overwhelming for one person. Below is a helpful list of key roles that will help structure your event team:

  • Event Manager – Responsible for overseeing all areas of the event, mentoring the event team, and ensuring compliance of key matters such as insurances, risk assessments, and all planning activities.
  • Sponsorship Coordinator – Responsible for securing sponsors and generating revenue, or in-kind services, and ensuring sponsorship deliverables are met.
  • Vendor Coordinator – Responsible for coordinating all food vendors, stalls etc.
  • Marketing and Promotions Coordinator – Responsible for advertising and promoting the event to visitors, and supporting the sponsorship and vendor coordinators with collateral.
  • Programming Coordinator – Responsible for coordinating the live music, visual displays, competitions, attractions and the like.
  • Treasurer – Responsible for reconciling the event budget; including ensuring that invoices are paid, sponsors and vendors are invoiced and all income is accounted for. This is often the Event Manager.
  • Site Manager – Is the GO-TO person onsite, any queries, issues, incidents are directed through the Site Manager to delegate action and ensure the event is delivered as planned. This may often be the Event Manager as well.
  • Administrational Support – Provides support to the event team in administrational duties such as invoicing, producing confirmation letters / agreements, chasing up insurances, taking minutes at meetings etc.

Choosing a Venue

You will most likely have an idea of the preferred venue or location for your event before you start planning, however before you book your venue, a little bit of research now can help avoid potential challenges further down the track.

In selecting a venue, you should have a good feel for the venue itself, the overall location (including the ‘lay of the land’) and how this will suit your event, and make sure you’re aware of how things like weekend visitation and whether neighbouring residents will impact on your venue choice.

Some key things you should consider include;

  • Venue / Location Capacity: will the venue accommodate your anticipated crowd numbers?
  • Land Type: different land types may require different approval or consent processes
  • Access / Egress: is the venue suitable for everyone including people with a disability?
  • Parking: is there adequate parking or will you need to consider other option?
  • Power and Lighting*: is there adequate provision for your event?
  • Rubbish and Waste*: is there adequate provision for your event?
  • Toilets*: is there adequate provision for your event?
  • Other Amenities and Services: Consider all other services you may need, and review the venue for suitability.

*If the venue doesn’t have adequate services, hiring in additional services can contribute significantly to the overall event costs so the availability of these at a venue should be well considered.

TIP: As you read through this Events Guide, take note of other considerations that will help determine the most appropriate venue.

Public Venues

Coffs Harbour City Council oversee a number of venues and spaces that are suitable for hosting events including Community Halls & Buildings, Sporting Facilities, and public owned land including parks and roads. See the Venue Directory for more information.

Private Venues

There are a number of private venues in the region that are suitable for running events. These include local resorts, pubs and clubs, educational facilities, retail outlets and tourist facilities to name a few. When using private venues you should ensure that it has the appropriate zoning for events. See the Venue Directory for more information.

Event Management Plan

Creating an Event Management Plan for your event will help you fully scope your event and most importantly keep you focused on what you set out to achieve, to ensure your event is a success.

This Event Guide will walk you through most key considerations in planning an event, however it is only a guide and there may be additional information or requirements that are not necessarily included here.

An Event Management Plan should includes key sections such as:

  • Introduction: background and history, and overview of your event including goals and objectives
  • Event Details: dates, times, key contacts (stakeholders, suppliers, staff)
  • Venue Information: including site plan and services
  • Event Requirements: facilities, services, production, signage
  • Marketing and Promotions: including ticketing information, publicity and advertising plans
  • Financial Management: Budgets, forecasts, actuals, and contingencies
  • Risk & Insurance: insurances, Risk Assessments, action plans and contingencies

Getting Help

Coffs Harbour City Council’s Stadium and Major Events Team is responsible for overseeing Council’s Events Strategy and the Implementation of Council’s events support processes. If you’d like to discuss your event with the team contact them on (02) 6648 4950