If you've never hosted a kendama event before, it can be both stressful and overwhelming. There is a lot to take care of, but if you break it down into simple steps, it becomes pretty easy. As a matter of fact, it really isn't that much different from events you may have planned before, such as a birthday party or even a get-together for friends. Let's break it down into five questions: Who? What? When? Where? How?
You want as many people as you can to come to your event, because the more the merrier! Kendama is a community, and if you want to make more friends and have a good time, you want as many people to join as you can. In order to find kendama players near you that could be interested in your event, try going through Instagram or Facebook and looking for friends of friends. You can look for profiles that are tagged in your friends' pictures and find new people! I'd recommend making a list of names and their social media handles so you can reach them in the future. Another option is checking to see if there are kendama communities for your state or city. Two examples are the “Indiana Kendama Community” or “Kentucky Kendama Players” communities on Facebook. These would be great resources to contact players near you. In addition to finding attendees, you will need to let them know of your event. Once you have all of the details, I recommend posting in these groups, and sending personal messages or direct messages to each person from your list. Not everyone will be able to make it, which is another reason why you want to over-invite.
Sol Summer Tour Stop: Marietta, GA!
Your kendama event can look many different ways; it can be a regular “jam session,” a structured event, a series of mini games, or anything you can dream! To help you decide, you can usually relate this decision to how long you want the event to be. If you want to shoot for a two hour event on a Saturday, then maybe its best just to get the group together to hang out and socialize. If an eight hour kendama fest sounds fun, then you will want to have structure. By structure, I mean a series of activities that will happen over the course of the day. You can start off with mini-games, then follow up with a K.E.N. Tournament, then finish with a freestyle event. The advantages of structure is that you control the flow and attention of your event, it will last longer, people have more fun, and it is easier to get prizes.
Planning your event mostly depends on your attendees. If every person you invites is busy on a Tuesday night, don't plan your event for a Tuesday night! The weekends are usually the easiest for everyone, so that may be a good starting point. As for a time, you can kind of feel it out and ask others what they think. You might also need to be concerned about getting kicked out of the park past a certain time. Be aware of where you play and what is expected of you in terms of time!
Where you host your event might be the hardest component of hosting an event. If the weather will be good, it is almost always a good idea to host your event at a park or outdoor location. Something like that is very beneficial because it is free. If the weather won't be good, then you will have to look to have your event in a venue. This makes things a little more complicated. You can try to squeeze into someone's garage, or maybe inside of a city meeting area, or even rent a venue. If you rent a venue, do not feel guilty about charging money at the door to cover that cost.
For example, if a venue costs you $200 for a few hours, and you can have twenty people come, then charge $10 per person to come and hang out. Nobody will mind, and it reduces the stress of hosting an event.
In addition to considering where, you need to think about how far of a drive it will be for everyone to meet there. If it is too far, you might scare off some people from going to the event. Usually kendama players are willing to make the drive, however. Battle at the Border, our flagship annual event, hosted kendama players from over 21 states on January 7th 2017!
Battle at the Border 2015 Prize Sponsors
Try to plan best you can. If you're doing a tournament or speed ladder, come up with tricks relevant to the difficulty and type of tournament. Try to keep it well rounded and fair. Remember: it is all for fun! A nice addition to any event is prizes. It might surprise you, but many companies like sponsoring events. We have sponsored probably one hundred events, groups, clubs, etc. It helps small companies get the word out about what they do, who they are, and what they sell, and it helps large companies promote products and support the kendama ecosystem. When you have covered the other four questions, you can compile the details and send an email to each company you can find and ask them to send prizes. Some will send one kendama, some will send a few. Out of respect for the companies, do not keep any prizes for yourself. It is generally frowned upon to win prizes from your own event as well. If you end up having left over kendamas from your event, pass them on to beginners or someone who has never played kendama before.
Be sure to take pictures and make an edit of your event! It will make it even easier to promote, get more players interested, and convince more companies to send you prizes in the future. Remember to encourage good sportsmanship and to have an even better time.