Knowing your target audience and catering directly for their needs is one of the keys of organising any event. If you are able to create an atmosphere to the requirements and expectations of the public, then your event will go swimmingly. If, on the other hand, you fail to hit the right spot and miss what your audience are expecting, then you are in for a disaster. One such disaster happened a few weeks ago.
A classic example of bad organisation and not thinking ahead. Basically you wouldn’t organise a children’s party and invite a stripper to perform. It’s all in the planning. "Failing to plan is planning to fail," I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said that. My old boss back in London had another term, he called it the five P’s – proper planning prevents poor performance.
So my wife, mother-in-law and a few lady friends had decided to go on a night out to watch the concert by the “Četiri tenora” in Dubrovnik. The concert was held in the Revelin Fortress, or as anyone under 25 calls it, Culture Club. I always thought it was strange that the club was named after a gay band from the 1980’s, and yes I am often asked if it is a gay club. So music being performed in a night club, nothing ground-breaking there, what could go wrong. Well pretty much everything.
What would the demographic be for a classical concert featuring four tenors? I hate to generalise but it isn’t really going to be the same crowd you’d get for a normal night of techno music at the club. Surely any fool would realise that. Apparently not.
My group of four ladies made their way into the club and were surprised to be stopped at the door by some kind of quasi security and asked to open their bags. “I’m not flying anyway,” joked my mother-in-law. But open their bags they did. “You can’t take that in here,” said the guard pointing at a bottle of water in her bag. Rather shocked and not wishing to ruin the mood of the night my wife handed in her “smuggled” bottle of water. Imagine all the other ladies, for the concert was mostly full of ladies, who were forced to hand over water. And imagine going to a concert by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra or a performance in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and not being allowed to take water in with you. Of course I realise that the club was trying to make some extra money from selling drinks but a classical concert probably was not the right occasion.
So already slightly annoyed, and they weren’t the only ones, my group continued into the nightclub. And to their horror it was exactly like a nightclub. Instead of setting up the interior for a classical concert it was set up, well as a nightclub. “Maybe they will have forgot to put out the chairs,” said my mother-in-law. They hadn’t. They just hadn’t planned ahead. So as the other slightly older audience flowed into the fortress they were just as shocked as my group. “I can’t believe it, how can we stand for the whole concert,” commented one elderly lady who had probably just had her water pulled from her bag as well. Any places to rest legs and sit somehow where soon taken and the four tenors were probably just as surprised as the audience when they walked out onto the stage.
Now just to get some more context, this concert was organised as part of the St. Blaise festivities, actually on his special day, and started at 8.00pm. So you’d hardly expect young ravers at this concert. Anyone with half a brain could predict that the demographic of the audience would be locals and slightly older. So why hadn’t they put any chairs out, would you stand to watch the ballet? Not only had the organisers failed to respect the older guests but they had failed to respect local citizens. If only St. Blaise were watching, he would have been just as shocked!
Of course for the next week or so all I heard, not just from my wife, was how great the singers were but who terrible the venue was. On the one day of the year when the city is supposed to come together and unite and celebrate this nightclub had shown they couldn’t care less about the local citizens. The Mayor’s project of “Respect the City” clearly hasn’t filtered through the heavy stone walls of Revelin yet.