Annie Lowney

How to Find a Venue for An Event (Without Losing It Completely)

Paul (and even more so Doc) were especially keen to host our inaugural conference in Chicago. The central location of the city was definitely a draw, however it was the ethos of the locals that resonated with us the most; approachable, hardworking, down to earth, and friendly.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Basecamp at this point. Their business philosophy is something that Tito identifies strongly with and they are based in Chicago, so naturally they were a cornerstone of how we became enamoured with the windy city.

Last month, Doc and I went to Chicago to visit several venues. Doc had never been to Chicago, but immediately felt an affinity for the city. The neighbourhood feel of the low rise buildings gives it a relaxed vibe. Downtown, with its mix of different architectural styles, demonstrates how the city has been a production and innovation powerhouse through the ages.

I wanted a raw space, which is very hard to find in Dublin, but that wasn’t the case in Chicago. In fact, there were so many options that, during the five days I was there, I had back-to-back venue viewings all day. Anyone who's been through the process of trying to find a venue for an event before will know how exhausting a calendar of visits like that can be. A raw space suits what we are trying to produce because we can put our own style and conference design on it more, but it does make it that bit more complicated and expensive.

Looking at a space is like going on a date, you either feel the connection immediately or you don’t.

But then sometimes you need a few more dates because, even though they didn’t have the initial "wow" factor, their refurbished loft has great potential. The main reason I decided against going with certain venues was size; they were either too big or too small. The others were usually too raw for our budget. That is, you’d have to rent chairs, tables, podiums, etc to host a conference there. 

The majority of the spaces that we looked at used to be production lines in factories. From furniture, to cars, to meat, to knitting needles. We chose knitting needles in the end! Our chosen venue is called Artifact Events and it’s a beautiful space. Currently it operates as an antique store as well as a venue. I love the history of the space, the feel of it, and of course the venue manager filled me with confidence.

We opted against having the conference downtown. Artifact Events is located in a quiet neighbourhood. Not corpse-quiet I hasten to add. It has an American small town feel. The transport links are terrific. Furthermore, the neighbourhood itself has a good selection of bars, cafés and restaurants, perfect for a bustling conference contingent. 

It takes a lot of work and careful planning to find a venue for an event, and it took a lot of work to find the venue for Admission. But, ultimately, our choice encapsulates everything we at Tito love about the city of Chicago, which is great. Now to fill those (non-rental) seats with your behinds!

For full details on Admission, click here:Admission, a conference by Tito