RustBridge is an interactive event and your space should allow for that. That means you should have space for people to walk around and people to comfortably sit in groups.
Learning works better when having a little space and it’s not too noisy.
Don’t stress out about venue details too much, people are great at working around flaws, as long as you and the attendees are aware. It’s the learning experience that counts.
A venue is a relationship
Be aware that venues are run by people and you want to be on good terms with them. If you want to run multiple events and you are happy with a venue, you totally want to leave a lasting impression. This will make searching for the next time easier.
If you want to run regular workshops, make sure you build a couple of contacts.
Qualities of a good venue
RustBridge is a flexible program, so you are also flexible in a venue.
A venue for RustBridge should fulfill the following requirements:
- You don’t have to pay for it
- Usually, there’s some trade involved, for example you promoting the company owning the venue
- Space for at least 20 people to comfortably sit around tables
- Have a screen or a projector to present things
- This is a must. Unless you have a very small group or there’s no other option available, don’t take venues without.
- Provides power sockets that can be arranged at the tables
- Check accessibility, especially if access to the venue is step-free
- Long events mean that people have to make pauses and step out, see that there is space to retreat.
- Open a little before and after the workshop
- A bare room with rearrangable furniture is preferred
- avoid row seating, but take it if you have nothing else
- Good internet connection, Rust installation is bandwidth-intensive
Additional things to look out for:
- Have good, warm lighting. Bright light is stressfuland screens work a little better in not too bright lights.
All these aren’t make or break. You can only have a space for 10? Make a smaller event. Even some of the strong requirements can be hacked around.
Finding a good venue
Prefer having a venue with issues over having nothing. If you are in a place with a notable tech scene, companies often have larger meeting rooms they give for free to projects. Co-working spaces also often have event rooms. Universities are also great place, especially technical universities usually have a good setup. A local youth centre is also good place to approach. Cities often have public rooms that are available at reasonable rates.
Do visit the venue before. It doesn’t have to be a long visit, but check all the things above. Don’t just walk through the door, walk through the whole event. Where you want people to come in, where you want people to set up, how people should interact. Where do people work, where do they hang out? Are there steps?
Ask if the venue has run that style of events before. If not, take their information about things like internet with a grain of salt: what works for one computer doesn’t necessarily work for 20.
If you are doing this for the first time, make a check list before, so that you don’t forget anything.
A common mistake is feeling like you are only in a position of asking, but you are also providing something to the owner of the venue. You are entitled to all questions.
Two days before the event
Send an email to your contact on site with your plan for the venue, so that they can arrange things and know that you care.
Setting up the venue
Be at the venue early. 30 minutes is fine, at least an hour is best. This allows you to fix all issues that might pop up and prepare without stress. You really don’t want to be rearranging the chairs while also handling people coming in.
If you got the venue for free, make sure you leave it in an A+ state. Get trash from the tables, clean up dirt, collect the bottles, rearrange all furniture as it was before.
If you are running an event, there’s probably a space manager from the venue on site. They are there for solving any of your problems, so feel free to reach out to them with any questions. Be friendly, but assertive.
If you want to leave a lasting impression with the manager, be out by the time you committed to. Unless the space manager says they are going to close after you, there should be someone sticking around until the venue is in order again.
It’s good practice to thank them for their work and if you want, bring a small present.