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IFEA Live Webinar - An Ethical Conundrum: The Estimation of Attendance

Date: Feb 28, 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019
An Ethical Conundrum: The Estimation of Attendance
Vern Biaett, PhD, CFEE
Assistant Professor of Event Management
High Point University
High Point, NC


Attendance numbers for festivals are significant quantifiers of accomplishment, the calculation of sponsorship benefits, publicly funded support, and economic impact assessment. Event managers to often report attendance figures that are exaggerated marketing numbers conveyed for purposes of influencing and gaining attention. The logic behind this embellishment is based on the situational ethics of, ‘I’m only doing what everyone else is doing.’ This ethical conundrum exists because people do not understand large numbers or crowd dynamics, estimates tend to be driven by personal agendas, and there are no established estimation methods. This seminar reviews past attendance controversies, research on possible estimation methods, and provides suggestions to solve this ethical dilemma.

Following 20 years of festival and event production for the cities of Phoenix and Glendale, Arizona, in 2006 Vern became a faculty associate at Arizona State University where he taught event management courses in a certificate program, he co-created. In 2013 he completed his PhD in Community Development and Resources and in 2014 joined High Point University in North Carolina as an Assistant Professor of Events Management where he has created a Bachelor of Arts in Event Management. Dr. Biaett is a lifetime CFEE, a member of the North Carolina Association of Festivals & Events, was a founding member of the Arizona Festivals & Events Association, serves on the IFEA President’s Council, and is a past board member of the IFEA Foundation.
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