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What is a special event?

Here is one definition:

A special event is a gathering of human beings, generally lasting from a few hours to a few days, designed to celebrate, honor, discuss, sell, teach about, encourage, observe, or influence human endeavors.
[Doug Matthews, Special Event Production (2016)]

To flesh this out a bit more, these characteristics are what turn an ordinary event in a "special event:"

  • Must be of limited and fixed duration, typically hours or days at most.
  • Must be a one-off or infrequent occurrence, typically monthly or annually at most.
  • If part of a regular series, they must be an unusual component of the series.
  • Must be unique.
  • Must require one or more organizers.
  • Execution must be planned and controlled.
  • Must conform to the definition of a special event.
  • Must be a live audience other than the organizers present at the physical event location.