Hanabi Festival

Announced nearly two months prior the event date, the festival’s initial venue was at Liwasang Bayan ng Cainta. The appeal of the event drew in a considerable amount of attendees (almost two thousand), that it pushed the organizers to move the venue to the open grounds at Club Manila East, next to the municipal hall.

Early morning of the event day (11/29/2014), the organizers announced that the sponsors who would be providing the fireworks were not able to make it. Consequently, the starting time was moved to 1400H. To many people it was understandable, as the sponsors backing out was beyond their control. Others took it as a sign that the event would be a failure.

At 1400H, the sound system and stage were still being set up

The booths and shops weren’t at the field, but at the covered area beside the venue. We decided to wait for an hour and have a small shoot and picnic at the sidewalk. At that time, two of the organizers were approaching and apologizing to people for the delay. It was the least they could do.

"Eehh....? What's happening?"
“Eehh….? Where’s the candied apple booth? And the mask booth? And the food booths??”

Soon enough, clear weather turned into moderate rain, which placed organizers in a pinch. The municipal hall was not able to provide enough tents for the shop owners, so they had to relocate to the hall itself.

Wonder if that disrupted any office work
Wonder if that disrupted any office work

The organizers then announced that the event itself would occur inside the hall, but cancelled that shortly afterwards, since the sound system would have to be moved for that to happen. Some more tents were set up at the field, and the event finally began at almost 1800H. The emcees tried their best to keep the audience entertained, with varying levels of success. Raffles for three Hanabi Festival shirts took place, followed up by the karaoke contest, live bands, and ended with a few fireworks which the organizers managed to scrounge up.

There are lessons to be learned from that day.

The event looked promising, being advertised as the “first in the Philippines”. The release of venue concept art (credit: AGCF) surely fired everyone up. However, having euphoric expectations will only disappoint us when shot down. We can only lower our often grandiose assumptions, and hope that in case they aren’t met, at least we won’t feel as bad.

Organizers should always think of the worst case situation, which in this event was the backing out of the sponsors, and to an extent, the rain.Worst case scenarios deal critical blows to events unless a back-up plan was formulated. The spirit and morale of the attendees worsen as the organizers become increasingly fazed. Instead of sulking however, they were able to communicate with the attendees their difficulties, resulting in some goers offering to assist in setting up the venue.

Lastly, as cliche as it may sound, we should appreciate the efforts of the organizers even if we think it was for naught. They did everything in their power to make sure the event started and finished. While they lacked the foresight to hold the event during summer, or contingency plans in cases of emergency, they were able to put at least 10% of the hanabi in “Hanabi Festival”.

Were you at the event? How was it? We would like to hear your thoughts.

(it definitely wasn’t as bad as DashCon)


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