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What is an event? Surprising Secrets….

Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Mark Norman

Events unite people and foster shared experiences.

Whether they be sports games, music festivals, wedding ceremonies, or birthday parties.

What is an event, and why is it taking place?

I’ve been an event manager and educator for 25 years.

I have delivered thousands of successful events across a range of events.

FIA Formula E – London E Prix in 2022

There is no such thing as a predictable event; they are all different, so finding a standard definition of an event can often be tricky.

In this article, we will explore what an event is as it impacts our everyday lives more frequently than we think; something is always happening!

We will define an event, highlight the different types of events, discuss their importance, and offer some tips on planning and executing an event.

What is an Event?

An event can be defined as a planned or organized occurrence that takes place at a specified time and place. It can be a one-time occurrence or a recurring event that happens at regular intervals.

Events can be social, cultural, religious, educational, or commercial in nature. They can be small and intimate, like a dinner party, or large and elaborate, like a global summit.

The critical thing is that these events are not considered as having an unexpected occurrence pattern, and we define them by purposeful planning and execution. 

What is the definition of an event?

The concept of an event is an essential part of various academic disciplines, including sociology, psychology, tourism, and computer science. In general, academics define an event as a happening, incident or occurrence that is significant, noteworthy, or distinctive in some way and that has an impact on individuals or society as a whole.

One of the most cited academic authors is Donald Getz; he provides this event definition:

“An event is an organized social occasion or gathering, held in a specific location, for a particular purpose, with specific activities and entertainment.” (Getz, 2005)

Sheffield Half Marathon Start
Sheffield Half Marathon Start Line

What is an event: different types

Events can be classified into various types based on their nature, purpose, and audience. Some of the common types of events are:

Social Events: A social event is one that brings people together for socializing, sports, networking, and entertainment, mainly when there is something important happening. Some examples include things like birthday parties, weddings, reunions, and music concerts.

Cultural Events: These are events that celebrate a specific culture, tradition, or heritage. Examples include festivals, parades, and cultural shows.

Religious Events: These are events that are organized for religious purposes and can be a crucial point in one’s life, such as worship, pilgrimage, or festivals. Examples include Eid, Christmas, Diwali, and Hajj.

Educational Events: These are events that aim to educate and inform people about a specific topic or subject. Examples include workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Commercial Events: These are events that are organized for business or marketing purposes. Examples include product launches, trade shows, and corporate events.

Political Events:  Politics affect everyday life, and there are many events associated with it. Examples include inaugurations, the opening of parliament, state visits and many more. 

Corporate Events: These are typically business-led events. Often they are fully funded by a business for something like an annual general meeting. They can also be ticketed events such as a Gala Dinner. 

Fundraising or Charity Events: Many charities rely on events to help raise the money they need to continue providing their respective service. These events often include

Historical Events: These types of events often celebrate how life was in the past. They can include activities like reenactments or guided tours.

If you would like to know more about the different types of events, I’ve written a complete post on this here.

Importance of Events:

Events play a crucial role in our lives and society. They bring people together, foster social connections, and create shared experiences. Here are some of the reasons why events are significant:

  1. Community Building: Events help to develop a sense of community by bringing people together for a common purpose. They provide a platform for people to connect, network, and socialize.
  2. Cultural Preservation: Events celebrate our cultural heritage and traditions, helping to preserve them for future generations.
  3. Personal Milestones: Events like weddings, birthdays, and graduations mark significant milestones in our personal lives and provide an opportunity for celebration and reflection.
  4. Economic Impact: Events can have a significant economic impact by attracting tourists, generating revenue for businesses, and creating job opportunities.

What is an event: planning?

Events planning is the process that you go through in order to deliver whatever event that you are planning; sadly, they do not just happen!

Events are treated like projects and include detailed processes that people go through.

  1. Define Your Event Objectives
  2. Set an Event Budget
  3. Choose a Venue
  4. Create an Event Timeline
  5. Promote Your Event

What is an event: Planning vs Management?

Exhibition Construction
A keen eye on the construction of an exhibition stand in 2022

Many people have different definitions of event management.

Event management can be applied to small gatherings right through to major events like the Olympic games.

It is often confused with the term events planning as mentioned above. Now depending on who you ask, you may get different responses.

In my experience of being in events for over 25 years, I define event planning as the process of designing the event and event management, the process of delivering that creative process to a final outcome.

What is a Major Event?

Major events are typically those that are considered to have large attendances and enormous economic appeal through tourism. Some good examples of major events include the Olympic games, FIFA world cups and major sports or related events.

Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022
Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

These events often only happen every few years, hence making their occurrence regarded as major.

Major events can mean big business for large cities and countries that often bid for them in order to boost visitor numbers. In this case, the focus is on economic income, and social impacts are a usually minor importance (sadly!)


Finally, events are an important part of our lives and society. They bring people together, build social bonds, and provide opportunities for shared experiences.

Knowing events and their significance can help us appreciate the role they play in people’s lives.

You can organise and execute a great event that makes a lasting impact on guests if you follow the advice in this article.

So, next time you attend an event or design one, remember the importance of creating a memorable experience for everyone involved. If you’re interested in reading about how to design events, click on my post here.

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