#TBT Stingy Event Details

Back in 2013 we examined the trend of orchestras to include scant information about an event on the corresponding single event pages at their website.

Since then, not much has changed. Spend a little bit of time going through orchestra websites and odds are, you’ll find very little information about the works listeners can expect to hear.

Budget size doesn’t seem to have impact. Even some mega-budget groups routinely provide no more than one or two sentence long program descriptions. Here’s one that manages to begin the two-sentence description with the B-Word. Sentence #2 starts off only slightly better.

While you shouldn’t be expected to put something as lengthy as the full program notes, designing event descriptions from an empathetic perspective can help break out of the micro-description conundrum. For example, Wichita Symphony includes a “What’s interesting about these concerts?” section in many of their single event pages.

You can also swing by the article from 2013. Pretty much everything there is applicable today as it was then.

Why So Stingy With Event Details?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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