If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve event this year, you already know what I’m about to say: there’s a whole lot more than just the countdown. From drinks and bites to security and lists, you don’t just throw together a rad NYE event – you’ve been thinking about the details since last year’s event!
As a Field Operations Manager at Eventbrite, I see first hand how the biggest Eventbrite events are set-up and torn down; as an event organizer myself, I can share lessons from events of many sizes – from the biggest NYE party in your city to the one you host at home. Here are some of my tips for managing your event the night of, stress-free.
Don’t Wait Until the Countdown

Chances are, a NYE event is one of the biggest, if not the only, event an organizer will host all year. But with the holidays, store closings, and so many people taking vacation time, it’s also the hardest time of year to gather all of the tools and people you need to pull it off.

Be sure to hire or recruit your staff and volunteers as early as possible. Think about the materials you need, too. Need party supplies? Don’t leave it for the last day! (But seek out those post-Christmas sales!)

Get Set Up Ahead of Set-Up

Your event may be in a space that you’re familiar with, with friends and staff you’ve worked with before. But who isn’t a bit more sluggish on the last day of the year?

When you can, start setting up the day before NYE (or earlier). This will be huge when you’re crunched for time on the big night. The more you can get done in advance, the more time you’ll have to focus on the small details the day of.

Do the Heavy Lifting Early

Get as much heavy lifting done as possible ahead of time! “Stage” big things, like barricades, near where they will be if you can’t put them in place until right before the event. Make sure you have all the trash and recycling cans you think you’ll need and extra trash bags (and a plan for when to clean them out when they start spilling over).

All these heavy-lifting tasks can cause chaos when there’s a line waiting to get in. Putting all the pieces in place as early as possible turns that chaos a relaxing lead up.


The author, Ben, has a thing or two to teach you about scanning tickets, behind the back, or not.

Get Them In

If there’s one thing no one wants to do, it’s wait. And in these winter months, on the biggest night of the year, you don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold. Make sure you have enough room and staff to get people in and in quickly – get those ropes and lines in place hours before anyone arrives, and read up on our entry management tips ahead of time!

Do you have a plan for someone in a wheelchair entering your event? When do you expect the biggest rush of people? Consider “drawing down” your staff as midnight gets closer and most attendees have arrived. Allocate those people to other areas, like passing out champagne, doing pre-cleans or turning an entrance into an exit. Eventbrite can help you out when you utilize our Entry Manager app for iPhone and Android to validate tickets and get people into the party quickly, while eliminating bulky clipboards using the built-in attendee list.

Who It’s All About: The Attendees

The countdown is only a short time. How long do you expect your guests to arrive beforehand? How long do they stay after? Communicating when to show up and when to expect to ship out can save many hassles.

For an event in your home, it can avoid the awkward conversation of getting that one friend to stop dancing and take a cab home. For events with thousands of attendees, it cuts down on your security cost expectations and is a nice thing to know for those that want to plan early evening (or early morning) plans around your event.

Clean Up

Besides the normal discarded trash you’ll find on the floor at the end of any event, there’s confetti, noise makers and surely some spilled drinks on New Year’s Eve. Having a plan of action for when you and your cleaning team hit the ground running is key to successful event completion.

If you’re enlisting friends, be sure they know exactly when you expect them to be ready and how long they should expect to be working. If you’re hiring staff, be sure that you’ve coordinated with any security or venue staff so they know when to begin their work – no one wants to pay for folks to stand around while you try to corral all of those attendees out of the event.

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Hosting an event in 2012? Check out Eventbrite and see how easy it can be to plan, promote, and collect payments.