Keep Calm and Carry On
Is the official mantra for the TET Team at the moment.
With only a month to go before the event takes off, the atmosphere amongst all our team members is the same feeling that all universities student feel before semester exams.
High-Key Panic, but matched with Low-Key Trust in our experience.
So we're more or less feeling like those third-year university students. Cramming, but with a purpose and not the blind panic overloading of a first-year.
There are a thousand things that we need to do at the moment.
Off the top of my head there's ...
1. Ordering freezers for our dessert stall.
8. Releasing a package from customs for our activities team.
144. Researching engineering equipment for our decorations.
377. Juggling where food stalls go without causing chaos.
610. Checking the budget for our fireworks display.
987. Writing blog posts so people feel like they want to go to our festival ....
Maybe that last one is a bit too meta.
Like all volunteers, we've got actual work we need to do as well.
I work 2 jobs, and am looking to be a volunteer firefighter after this event is over.
A lot of my team are working full-time and spend hours crafting designs, writing, thinking and agonising over the smallest details in their portfolio, when they could be watching the latest shows on Netflix or finishing a quest in Red Dead Redemption 2.
I myself, am not entirely sure what drives them all to sacrifice so much time and effort for this event, but I consider myself extremely lucky and grateful I have such dedicated workers and friends who will support our collective vision for this festival.
A festival is defined by 10 key aspects.
7. Organising Team
10. All of the above put together.
The thing about a festival, is that it has to be diverse enough in its entertainment, while connected by a theme or motif. Things can't be disparate and random. Everything needs to feed into one another.
A typical audience member at our event might spend 4 hours there.
Doing all of this:
You get some food and watch the stage. Once you've finished being enthralled by the vocals, you get up and try to get a glitter tattoo.
After the glue dries, you figure, its time to examine bonsais and marvel at the miniature landscapes.
Soon the moss loses its lustre, so you pay respect to your ancestors and hope for a brilliant new year.
After you finish your resolutions, you change up the pace and figure its time to scream loudly next to a stranger and share the bond of a new-death experience, 10 metres high in the sky at 50km/h with nothing but a safety bar between you and the ground.
Finally, you figure its time to calm down with a ice-cold sugar cane drink, and watch those pretty explosions in the sky light up the night.
That cycle .... is why number 10 is so important.
Its not that you can just slam food, stage and decor together and expect a great turn-out. You have to back it up with great marketing. People have to want to go to your event. They got to be aware of your brand.
Of course, how good your brand is, then affects the type of people you draw. No event is for all. At its core, an event has to target a special someone.
At TET, we pride ourselves on how family-friendly our event is. We want the entire family to have a good time. TET is about family. About reconnecting your familial ties.
And maybe reuniting with an old/current flame.
Our favourite feedback we ever recieved, was from a young kid in grade 5, who when asked what was the one thing he looked forwards to every year, answered: TET Festival at Sandown.
He ignored Christmas. He forgot Easter. He wasn't aware of AFL Grand Final Day. And he never attended Melbourne Cup Day .... BUT when asked to choose, he chose our festival.
And THAT is why I volunteer so much of my time into this event. Because out there, I know there is some kid who wants our event to succeed and wow them every time. I know there is a family out there, wanting to bond, wanting to have a good time together.
Its why our children activities get bigger, better and hopefully more fun every year.
Its why we fork out a lot of money for the biggest fireworks and international and local singers for our main stage.
Its why we choose to have a lion dance at night and light the firecrackers ourselves, surrounded by a packed crowd.
Its why we want the biggest, craziest and scariest carnival rides.
Its why we want our audience to laugh and cheer for each other in our twisted competitions at the second stage.
and its why this TET Team is so hard working, so focused and driven to deliver the best entertainment package you'll find this Lunar New Year, in 2020, on the first weekend of February.
Cos at the end of the day, if you're having a good time .... so are we.
Lead Co-Ordinator TET 2020 Vietnamese Community of Australia - VIC Chapter