Outdoor Event Risks

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As summer approaches, we are all getting ready to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. If you live on the East Coast (as EventRebels does!) or cooler regions of the country, you know that we need to take in all the fresh air we can! So we look forward to the time of parks, hiking trails, ball games and outdoor weddings and events. For the planner, staging an outdoor event is a thrilling experience, but can also be one that can be fraught with peril.

Here are some potential problems that can turn your dream outdoor event into a nightmare. Please consider these carefully and consider appropriate steps you can take to mitigate.

  • Thunderstorms. This is the most frequent way an outdoor event can be literally “taken out.” A summer rainstorm cannot not only soak your guests, but can destroy your rental equipment. Just think about your tents and chairs flying across a field! Hopefully you will have a abode nearby where you can retreat if necessary.
  • Pool Accidents. If there is a pool nearby there is a potential for accidents – even if it is not formally part of your event.  Even if there is no pool, a body of water nearby can pose problems – especially if there is children or liquor!
  • Unseasonable Weather. For events in the cooler regions discussed earlier, you should not forget to take into consideration those times when summer quickly turns into winter. For example, it can snow in April on the East Coast or become too chilly in September.  Keep those space heaters in mind for events near the change of seasons!
  • Roughhousing Accidents. When people are outside they tend to be a bit more rowdy than inside.  Keep in mind any programming that could lead to people getting too wild (especially if there is liquor!) Even a simple tug-of-war contest can get out of control.
  • Missing Children. As any adult knows, children love exploring the outdoors. Even if the adults are responsible for watching their children, do not assume they will.  Clear entry and exit areas will tend to take care of this issue.
  • Outside intervention. Outdoor events lend themselves to intruders. Even if you have entry/exit procedures for attendees, you should also think about other possibilities such as traffic accidents and crazy outsiders (probably intoxicated!)

These are just some of the more common things that can go wrong. It does not matter if it is your fault – if an accident occurs at your event it will be considered your problem.  Even basic things like a misplaced rock could cause someone to fall. Of course, all these risks are increased substantially if your programming has any physical activity. Regardless of your programming, make sure you have good insurance policies in place and strong contracts. Of course, never forget a force majeure clause. As always, talk to your lawyer when it comes to contracts!

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