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Why no bids?

So here’s an interesting question that a comment on the maunche list got me thinking about.  Yet again, the various lists are getting "begging" notes from the royals for the big events, because groups aren’t offering to host the kingdom-level events. Yet I remember that when I started, groups actually *competed* with each other to host things like Coronation, 12th Night, or Crown – or at least that was my perception. Now, if the crown can get one viable bid, they’re thrilled. So what happened?

    • Do we expect more from these events than we did when I started, therefore making them more complex, more labor-intensive, and therefore more burdensome on the hosting group? My newbie memories are so ignorant and shiny that I don’t know how things compare.
    • Are there just so many more kingdom level events that group-burnout has accelerated, and now here we lay in a state of exhaustion? Flopping like a landed fish... Every time someone decides that in order to make our monarchy more inclusive we need to add another pair of champions, we also add another major event to the rotation. If I read kingdom law correctly, there are currently twelve kingdom-level events every year. Even if you assume that things are rotating evenly among the regions (which they are not), that would require each region to host three kingdom level events Every Damn Year. Northern Shores is generally so far away that it scares royals, so that’s a greater load on the territorial US groups.
    • Is it just another facet of the much-hashed-over problem of membership? Groups are smaller because they’re losing membership and not attracting replacements, and therefore don’t feel up to running a large event?
    • Is it that we are no longer raising our new members in a culture of service? When I started it was "come help in the kitchen – it’s fun, and I’ll introduce you." Now many new people seem to only want to rub elbows with the shiny belts and hats, and the existing membership seems afraid to suggest that if they want the group to function, everyone has to chip in. They want to GO to Coronation, not work at it, and we’re so desperate to keep membership that no one wants to scare them off by handing them a broom or a dishtowel.

    Is it all of these things? None of them? Some insidious combination?

    More to the point, how do we fix it?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
My *opinion* is that it's #1: we expect more from these events. I wouldn't want to bid on Twelfth Night without a place that'll seat 500 for court, have a separate hall for merchants/feast, plus several breakout rooms for vigils, order meetings, guild meetings, A&S display, and the like. Plus changing space. And parking. And sites like Golden Hill in Bridgeport, or that place where Griffyth was crowned in Bergental, come along once in a group if we're lucky.

With a little dash of #2. If I had such a site, and a group of usual suspects to be on my staff, there are lots and lots of events I might choose to offer for, up to the point where I could easily burn out the rental facility and my staff in no time flat. (Yes, I'm of the opinion that we have too many mandatory champions and championship events.)

Oct. 18th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm a lousy event steward, but I do okay as support staff, and it's easy to burn out a crew. I've seen it in a lot of groups - there's a core of people who work and work and work and work and drop. Then the people who want the event, but also need to get home in time for their show or to let the dog out want to know why they say "bid" and the workers cringe...

Sites are hard, and these days sites are expensive. Combine that with people not wanting to pay what it costs to put on an event, and it's another quandry.
Oct. 18th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
I agree with msmemory with a healthy side dose of a dearth of large enough usable sites that we haven't burned our bridges with for one reason or another.
Oct. 18th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
And that we can afford. Have you priced a school lately?
Oct. 18th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
I think it is all of the above. Kingdom events are so large it is hard to find the sites to hold them. We tried very hard to find a coronation site for TRM (as they reside in our barony) and could not find one big enough that we could afford that also met their requirements for "atmosphere." Sites in general have gotten more expensive -- churches are all renting out to make money that they need to maintain their facilities and their rates are no longer token amounts, schools are more touchy about liability, and other big venues cater to weddings and charge those kinds of prices. We used to have a lovely, large gothic church facility like the one in Bergental, and they turned it into condos :(.

And there are too many kingdom events -- I was not happy about the change to 6 month rotations for Heavy champions. It puts an even greater burden on groups to come up with these.

And yes, membership is overall declining, and yes, people are less service oriented and more entertainment oriented. It's part of the larger culture that we live in.

I worry that this is a sign of a number of issues that have been at work slowly over a long time suddenly reaching a critical threshold and sending everything careening over the edge...
Oct. 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
"could not find one big enough that we could afford that also met their requirements for "atmosphere.""

Perhaps this begs another question: have the royalty become accustomed to asking for "too much," and insisting on getting it? I remember one Coronation site request that caused me to burst out laughing at the lack of reality. I remember that there was a time when the people who sat the thrones were *also* the people who did the grunt work the rest of the time. They understood what had to happen in order for those events to occur, and acted accordingly. I can't say for certain because I don't know all the players recently, but I can say with certainty that an awful lot of them wouldn't be caught dead on the wrong end of a mop in their "down time" between reigns.

Perhaps part of the answer is fewer kingdom events - could it be feasible to roll any of them together? I know a lot of people would get in a snit about sharing their "special day," but if the choice is half a loaf or none...
Oct. 19th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Of course the problem *could* be *this* (from a mailing list I'm on):

It turns out that the bid never made it to TRM - which is why we
were not hearing anything back. Apparently there is some sort of bug
in the online bid submission process because we're being told that this
is not the first such bid that didn't get where it was supposed to go.
Anyhow, TRM have it now and we should have a decision very shortly.

Oct. 19th, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
That definitely doesn't help. But this has been ongoing for a while. If multiple groups were putting in bids that weren't getting through, we'd be hearing the grumbling about it. This seems to be a very recent development.

Generally what I see when the royals start with "we haven't received any bids for..." or "we're looking for bids for..." is a lot of people trying to fade stage left in the desperate hope that they won't be asked directly. Somewhere along the line there was a sea change from "let's try to win the bid for [insert kingdom event here]" to "oh God, I hope they don't ask us - duck!"

I think that the problem is many layered. Sites are more difficult to find, more expensive, and more booked up. Royals are becoming pickier - we've all developed a taste for pagentry. At my first event, court was held in the barn. You knew who the king was because he was the guy who got a hay bale to sit on. I'm not making this up. These days NO ONE would like that. I think there are too many kingdom-level events for an organization with a recognized recruitment/retention problem to support.

What I don't know is what the first step to fixing it is.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )