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Planning a convention

If anyone's planning on hosting a future convention, be prepared for a little bit of work. This is some of the things we did for ours...


- Got semi-drunk and accepted the convention challenge

- Discussed and searched a possible venue

- Discussed & calculated budget

- Discussed entertainment

- Discussed ideas for a day trip

- Explored the idea of a rail ale trail in Bury. (later found out our dates clashed with a Thomas the tank Engine Convention.)

- Drove to Preston to investigate another possible Railway Trip. (The surrounding area had nothing else to do.) End of that idea!

- Drove to Chorley to investigate a possible canal barge trip. (Again, there was nothing else to do in the area.) Abandoned that idea too!

- Considered the idea of a trip to Wigan, which would have included a brass band perform in the park, a film show in a local venue and pubs!

- Contacted Wigan council. They wanted a ridiculous amount of money. Idea scrapped!

- Had a few brandies

- Internet search revealed tours of the BBC studios took place at media city.

- Booked tickets and tried the tour. 

- Explored the rest of media city to see if it was suitable. Success!

- Contacted Chonkinfeckle for quote

- Received quote, made preliminary booking

- Negotiated with Lucky Dog Theatre Productions

- Discussed possible goody bag contents and cost of items

- Internet searched hotels in the area

- Discovered most hotels weren't suitable (one was in Leigh. Not Wigan)

- Arranged a meeting at Holiday Inn

- Attended meeting at Holiday Inn

- Haggled with the events manager and got her ridiculous original high fee reduced

- Signed contract with hotel (Gulp!)

- Opened a convention bank account

- Contacted some bus companies for quotes

- Another visit to the hotel to take photos and filming for a promo video

- Produced a 7 minute promo film

- More brandy

- Established a convention email address

- Ordered a few preview convention t-shirts

- Went to the Norwich convention & had a swell time

- Put in a bid, presented the promo film

- Distributed registration forms (after bid was accepted


- A week of madness!

- Endless amount of online forms received

- Quite a few forms arrived in the post

- Had to announce there weren't many places left

- Sold out!

- Updated the email contacts with all registered conventioneers

- Created a whatsapp group for those who requested to join it

- Posted relevant updates on all our social media areas


- Designed a convention logo

- Designed a convention website

- Designed an electronic registration form

- Designed a paper registration form

- Designed information sheet

- Created a convention facebook page

- Designed & purchased a convention banner

- Designed box cover for chemistry set

- Designed contents sheet for chemistry set

- Designed & printed soot labels

- Designed & printed Rio Hondo postcards

- Designed & printed certificates

- Designed and purchased a convention banner

- Designed & purchased 16 page programme

- Wrote & designed 130 quotes for party crackers

- Produced & distributed 1st newsletter

- Produced & distributed 2nd newsletter

- Produced & distributed 3rd newsletter

- Produced & distributed 4th newsletter


- Purchased 120 convention mugs

- Purchased 120 lanyards & holders

- Purchased 120 key ring bottle openers

- Purchased 130 badges (for a good price)

- Purchased lots of pens

- Purchased crackers & contents

- Purchased boxes for chemistry sets

- Purchased numerous cables to upgrade sound system

- Purchased new set of microphones

- Purchased some microphone stands

- Purchased eye droppers, small bottles & test tubes

- Purchased small bags for soot

- Purchased garlands

- Purchased goody bag bags

- Purchased plastic bowler hats

- Purchased printer ink

- Paid hotel deposit

- Paid bus deposit

- Purchased 'tree in a test tube' alcohol

- Purchased lunch bags

- Purchased raffle tickets

- Purchased balloons & helium

- Purchased sweets & pineapple bags

- Purchased bouncy balls

- Purchased red noses

- Purchased Uncle Joe's mint balls

- Purchased lunch box biscuits

- Acquired some soot


- Another visit to the hotel to take photos and filming for a promo video

- Produced a 7 minute promo film

- Went to ashton to film pubs

- Produced short film on ashton's pubs

- Wrote initial storyboard for documentary

- Filmed my great nephew watching Brats

- Edited a teaser trailer for documentary

- Filmed documentary interviews at Ulverston

- Drove to newcastle under Lyme to do more documentary filming with Ant

- Also recorded Joanne's narrative

- Edited 'Two Thousand Strong' 

- Edited Welcome to Wigan film

- Compiled the Wiganese power point


3rd - 6th MAY

- Transported everything needed for convention to hotel (5 car trips)

- Had a swell time

- Went to the mountains

- Slept

Gary Winstanley was in charge of this year's very successful Sons of the Desert UK Convention, hosted by the Dirty Work Tent of Wigan. He offers advice for anyone attempting a similar feat.