To Our IFEA Industry Friends:
  • Begin with a trust that the medical and health professionals directly dealing with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have no more desire to see our economy or events devastated than we do. While we may not yet see beyond our flu comparisons, they know the full and potential fallout that could occur if we do not take the actions taken now. The health and well-being of our world, communities, attendees, volunteers, staff, et al. is always going to be our primary priority.

  • Should the virus continue to spread and grow, our options will likely be a short list (as noted in our previous communications) with not much middle ground: to proceed as normal, with messaging regarding prevention steps (as against the flu) to your attendees; or, to cancel/postpone. Obviously, the latter may/will be devastating financially to most everyone in our industry, but if you are planning for your response or revisiting your risk management plans, that is the primary conversation that you should be having with your Boards and key stakeholders and city/community leadership.
  • If you are able to hold your events as normal, remember that our industry/events provide a unique opportunity to educate large numbers of attendees about the current state of the virus and how to maintain healthy lifestyles to prevent/limit the further spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) in your own community.

  • If you have questions or need information about considerations to cancel or not; about refund policies; about how to remain financially sustainable; about how to talk with your staff and volunteers; about how to work with entertainers, artists, vendors, city officials, participants, et al.; about how to best communicate with and include your many stakeholders; please actively use your access to the IFEA global network of peers and professionals. Reach out and share ideas and resources and maybe vent (a little) with others who can directly relate; and remember to reciprocally help out others who may reach out to you. The IFEA staff team can help direct you to topically-targeted members and active Affinity Groups, if you do not have a trusted, professional contact-base already.

  • Talk with your insurance carriers, just to clarify if and what coverage you may have against any potential need for mandatory cancellation under these unique circumstances.

  • Brainstorm with staff and other stakeholders (sponsors, banking partners, city officials, key vendors and suppliers, Boards, et al.), sooner-than-later, to create your own multi-step plan to keep your event(s) healthy and everyone as financially whole as possible.

  • If you have already had to cancel all, or parts of, your events, look to others in your community/market who are in the same position and brainstorm creative new ideas how you might help each other to survive the challenges together, looking forward, by pooling resources.

  • Communicate clearly with your attendees all that you are doing to deal with the realities of the current situation and that you may need their help to keep your own event and related stakeholders whole and sustainable moving forward. Perhaps create some new benefit programs and levels for those who who can help keep you financially sustainable through this challenging time in our global history.

  • Reach out and include the media in coverage of positive community partnerships vs. only coverage of the negative fallout from the pandemic response. They, too, want to see everyone come out of this whole and healthy.

Rest assured that the IFEA will continue to closely monitor the changing landscape of this pandemic on our global industry and to keep you informed and supported in the timeliest fashion possible. Please continue to use and access the resources in the sidebar of this communication.
Wishing you all safe, healthy and successful events.
Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE
President & CEO
International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) World Headquarters
About the IFEA: The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) is The Premier Association Supporting and Enabling Festival & Event Professionals Worldwide. With a target audience that includes all those who produce and support quality celebrations for the benefit of their respective "communities," the IFEA's primary focus is identifying and providing access to the professional resources and networks that will inspire and enable those in our industry to realize their dreams, build community and sustain success through celebration. For more information on the IFEA, go to: or contact Beth Petersen, Director of Member Services at [email protected] or +1-208-433-0950 ext: *8160.