TSE Entertainment likes to work with organizations who are new to putting on live entertainment events. Whether it’s full festival development and production, booking entertainment, promotion or even sponsorship, it allows TSE to bring its full expertise and experience to bear to help them. That’s because they realize they are a novice, and they take advice on how best to do it. It’s sometimes easier to take their vision and make it happen because they have no past to inhibit their thinking.
A great case study in such a relationship between a client and TSE is the development, production and promotion and sponsorship of the Kerrville River Festival by the Kerrville, Texas Parks and Recreation Department. Kerrville, Texas is a beautiful town of just under 25,000 people located in the Texas Hill Country about an hour’s drive from San Antonio and two hours drive from Austin. They have great parks and recreation facilities operated by the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department. In early 2019 the Parks and Recreation Department approached TSE about helping them put on a major live entertainment event in Louise Hays Park which is located next to the Guadeloupe River that runs through downtown Kerrville. TSE agreed to work with the Parks and Recreation Department and their Special Events Coordinator to produce and market the festival working from a fixed budget.
Kerrville River Festival Development
While the department had a permanent stage in the park, its design and location were for smaller events featuring local bands on weekends during the summer. These local concerts were their only experience in hosting live entertainment events. Their vision was to create and grow a festival that would attract people to come to Kerrville as well as engaging the citizens and businesses of Kerrville. The festival would celebrate the city’s 130th Anniversary of incorporation.
Hosting a larger concert event would mean using a less developed” portion of Louise Hays Park which meant no available utilities for the event staging area. The first festival was scheduled for September 7, 2019. By the time an Agreement was in place for TSE Entertainment to produce the now named Kerrville River Festival there was a few short months to make things happen.
Kerrville River Festival Production
Because of their experience and budget allowance, the parties agreed that the initial festival would be a family event to celebrate the Kerrville’s 130th Anniversary of its incorporation. The festival would feature live concerts, kids’ activities, and vendors, followed by a fireworks celebration. TSE worked with the parks department on all the concert and festival production needs, including permitting, securing vendors, booking the entertainment, handling the staging, lighting and sound systems needed, securing an RV as a Green Room, fencing, designing signage, portable latrines, tents, generators, waste bins, etc. TSE provided graphic design and event marketing services in conjunction with the Parks department. Schreiner University helped the event by providing sponsorship, volunteers, photographer, design services and various other needs required for the festival.
While TSE worked closely with the team at the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department to assure that all bases were covered, the parks department worked on securing local sponsors for the event to help offset costs.
TSE provided a layout of the various components on a site map so that everyone would know where the specific elements of the event would be placed on the site. TSE sent a “grounds” team in advance to mark, using grass paint, where stages, fencing, FOH, vendor tents, etc. would go to allow for crowd movement and stage views. This group also brought the RV to use as the Green Room and was there to hook up generators, assist with stage, FOH, banner placement and other set up needs required.
TSE provided a “Hospitality” team to deal with artists green room and catering needs; artist transportation between their hotels and the festival as well as working with vendors on getting them set up and operational.
TSE’s “Stage” team was there to assist with load in, sound check, run of show, load out, etc. They managed the stage and any technical issues required by the performers.
TSE also provided video and drone video production for the event. As you can see, TSE was all in to see that the festival would go off smoothly. With the planning we did and with 9 people on site as much as two days before the event, the day went off without a hitch other than it turned out to be a very hot day. The mayor, city council, park’s staff and the crowd were very happy with the event. Everyone agreed that the event went extremely well.
The Encore: 2020
Now that the first event was under their belt, the Parks and Recreation Department sought to make the 2020 festival bigger and better. They moved the event to mid-October and merged the event with their Get Outdoors Day event normally held in June. They contracted with TSE again to produce the second iteration of the Kerrville River Festival. We all know what happened next….Covid-19 and the 2020 event was cancelled. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule to 2021 the complete entertainment lineup consisting of Jerrod Niemann, Austin Meade, Cirque Akrobat, Willow City and the Ryan Ross band.
The Sequel: 2021
Kerrville River Festival Sponsorship Proposal
Because of the cancellation of the 2020 Kerrville River Festival, the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department had additional funds to invest in the 2021 Kerrville River Festival. TSE had been lobbying the department to get professional help in developing sponsors for the event, even to the point of doing due diligence of people and agencies qualified to do it for them. Unfortunately, all these people and agencies ultimately declined to help Kerrville, thinking that the event would not attract national brands because of its age and size.
As we always do with our clients, TSE stepped into the void and added sponsorship development to its list of services contracted by the parks department to TSE. While timing for sponsorship development was short, TSE dedicated resources to it and has generated approximately $30,000 in additional sponsorships at the time of this writing. TSE will also start a campaign next month to start getting potential sponsors for 2022 so that companies have time to budget for such sponsorships. This will be easier now that TSE Entertainment has added a complete service for developing corporate partnerships and sponsorships.
As the planning for 2021 got underway, the key person responsible for the Kerrville River Festival at the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department took a leave of absence, that has continued until this day. Because the person is on leave, the department doesn’t want to replace the person, so another person was asked to take on the festival in addition to her current duties with the department.
The new contact person wasn’t privy to the two years of back-and-forth planning with the person on leave. In addition, this new person is now handling the festival on top of her other duties, so she doesn’t have the time to devote to the festival as the park department’s special events person out on leave.
The result was that TSE needed to step up and take the lead in developing the festival to the vision of the park’s department. While meaning additional effort, it also allowed TSE to have a greater hand in developing the festival’s components, making it more of a community event. In addition to more than 25 community exhibitors, the festival will now feature 10 to 15 minute “mini” performances by organizations in the community to showcase their efforts in Kerrville. Mini performances scheduled at this time include a non-profit that helps artists, a local dance studio and a university chorus. TSE was able to get Jamm Broadcasting to do a radio remote from the festival and a simulcast of their 3 different radio stations. If it goes well this year, next year will feature even more local community organization’s performances and involvement with the festival.
The Kids Zone at this year’s festival will have more activities for the families who bring their children out for the event. With bungy jumping, bounce houses, rock wall, trackless train, balloon artists and other activities, the Kids Zone is a free activity thanks to sponsors and the parks department.
Kerrville River Festival Promotion Activities
This year’s budget allows for a bigger marketing budget for the festival. TSE’s promotion team designed a promotion plan and is implementing it. TSE designed and published a website as a first step: www.kerrvilleriverfestival.org
The marketing plan includes both paid and earned media, featuring online advertising, social media posts, radio advertising, PR and print articles submitted for publication to local publications that highlight events in the Texas Hill Country. TSE has done all the design work for the posters, signage and other needs of the event.
The 2021 Kerrville River Festival will take place on October 16, 2021. While we are still 10 weeks out from the festival, the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department and TSE are excited about the 2021 Kerrville River Festival. It will be decidedly bigger and better than the initial one held in 2019 which was a big success.
We are already thinking about the 2022 Kerrville River Festival and enhancing it over the one planned for 2021. It’s great to work with a partner like the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department that recognizes the help that TSE can provide for their events.
Producing a Festival: Preparation and People Are Key
Beyond Festival Entertainment Booking: A Customized Experience