Air Conditioning, Leopards and Jennifer Lawrence: How to avoid disaster when planning an event

Attending a poorly executed concert, conference, party or what have you is the worst. But there is one thing that is even worst…er. The worstiest. It is the pre-original sin, and a stupendous act of depravity. And that thing is organizing a bad event.

Throwing a lame event might waste thousands of man/woman hours if the guests don’t enjoy themselves, and the lingering guilt has a half life of like 4 million years. So it’s best to just do the preparative legwork, cover all your bases, and organize a well-run event by avoiding the following at literally all costs:

1. Running out of drinks

Obtaining sufficient beverage, alcoholic or not, should be undertaken very seriously. If booze run dry, there is no faster way to get people to leave your party (possibly no. 3, but even then…). And running out of liquid altogether of course leads to dehydration and engenders not a very good time at all.

So the best formula for buying drinks, as I’ve heard it from planning professionals, is:

1.85x X aª/5 – c + ac

where x is the number of people at your party, a is the ability of your guests to hold their alcohol on a scale from 1 to 10, and c is children (with ac being children who are allowed to drink).

2. Fire alarm

The above formula actually works for the number of fire alarms you should have at your event if all of the values are 0. Otherwise, if people will actually be attending the event, you’ll want to take care to minimize the chance that an alarm will sound. You can start by handing out e-cigarettes for party favors (and e-joints if the event is in Colorado) and making sure that there’s sufficient ventilation if you’ll be making steak or burning books. In the past I’ve also tried desensitizing my smoke alarms before a party by burning milk jugs, which just purely anecdotally seems to work fine.

3. Fire

Of course, you’ll have to weigh the benefits of desensitizing your smoke alarm if you fear for actual fire and the safety of your guests. Along with running out of drinks, a real bonafide fire is indeed the quickest way to send guests in a frenzied scurry out the door. If fire danger is high, opening up the fire escape to partiers is a good idea to maximize the number of survivors; if low, well, you’ll want to allocate more time preparing for…


Say what you want about the probability of a leopard scare at your event, but just don’t say that it can’t happen to you. Because that was a very common, often-stated belief in Meerut, India, then look what happened:

For a list of all the leopards you should know before commencing your event, study up on the Leopardus genus Wikipedia page.

5. A bad playlist

If you’re going to make your own playlist, you best be a DJ or like a music journalist. This is because of the very strange and very lame phenomenon in which hosts make party playlists for themselves, rather than their guests. So this blog would recommend either sticking with Pandora, which provides for a handy scapegoat when Duran Duran “inexplicably” comes on, or letting the guests themselves add to the queue, jukebox style.

6. Jennifer Lawrence

Though you might think the opposite, you do not want Jennifer Lawrence bobbling around your event. She’ll completely draw attention away from whatever it is that’s the main attraction, and then—even in the extremely rare scenario where guests get tired of Jennifer Lawrence—her loud, goofily piercing laugh will distract everyone all over again. Add to those reasons the well-documented observation that her odor is somewhere oddly between a very high-end petting zoo and a Chinese bakery, and you just do not want Jennifer Lawrence at your event.

Jennifer Lawrence smells

7. Ticket fees

Ticket fees are arguably scarier than a half-leopard, half-Jennifer Lawrence hybrid monstrosity rampaging willy nilly around, setting fire to your event. Ticket fees put a foul taste in the mouths of your attendees before the event even begins. Ticket fees for non-Peatix sites range from 6%–criminal. Research a ticketing site’s fee structure thoroughly; there are often hidden costs that might fool even a seasoned organizer.

8. Stingy air conditioning

For an event on a hot day, keep in mind that your attendees haven’t been luxuriating all day in air conditioned splendor waiting for the event to start. Some may have travelled a very long, very hot distance, and maintaining the thermostat at a courteous temperature is like social pre-lubricant for an event.


Taking that first sip of uncold Diet Coke or orange juice or anything that isn’t coffee or hot cider is disheartening in the same way global warming is disheartening: the problem was created by us, something could definitely be done to mitigate it, all we have to do is make more ice, yet no one takes the initiative. If you don’t think you’ll be able to chill your drinks, you might want to take a good, long look at why you want to hold an event in the first place.

I would like to see someone follow all of these tips and still put on a mediocre event. It just isn’t going to happen. Just remember the mnemonic ROODFAFALABPJLTF SACRTD and you’ll never hold a lame event again!