Amy's Dos and Don'ts for Surviving One Spark | Photos and Tips

4/12/2014

I finally made it out to the "Worlds Crowdfunding Festival" One Spark this year and boy did I learn a lot. Last year was the inaugural year and it was also kind of rainy. I was also right in the middle of production of my TV show for an episode on the Florida Theatre and I really didn't have the time I wanted to explore.

With the absolute perfect weather you could ask for seducing me outside, we packed up the whole family and headed downtown.

We had an amazing time, but I did determine a few of my:





Dos and Don'ts for Attending One Spark


Do - Download the One Spark App.
1. Create a Sign in
2. Under Edit Profile all you need to enter is your phone number. You will need to verify a code they will text you.
3. You must check in via the app once you enter the event, before you can vote.
4. You can vote on the app, or you can simply text the creator numbers each booth provides. (text to the same number they verified your phone number through) 904-647-2955


Don't - Take the Skyway if you want to get anywhere quickly.

I was super excited to take munchkin on the skyway for the first time. I didn't count on the lines being so long and only one Skyway track being operational. With 7 minutes between trains people were cramming in that little car like sardines. If there was a/c we didn't feel it, and after two brief unscheduled stops it was getting quite suffocating. If you are claustrophobic this would have been your worst nightmare. Additionally for those with strollers or wheelchairs, there was no obvious handicapped access to get through the turnstiles, meaning we had to heft the big thing over. We ended up just walking back and taking the Main St. Bridge. There are also the water taxis if you decide to park over the river.



The Skyway is not the Quick way


Do - Plan to Attend More than One Day.
There is so much to see and do. This year is so much busier than last year thanks to festival planning improvements and amazing weather. Take each venue as it comes and enjoy them. I realized why this event is 5 days. There is no way you can take everything in on one day.



Don't - Expect it to be easy if you bring kids. 
The foot traffic was huge, and there were plenty of kids (I brought my own), but it is not an easy place to have your kids. With so much to see and do it's easy for you to lose track of them. We had a stroller which was great but its a little tricky to navigate on some of the roads, up and down stairs, and in between the large crowds.


Do - Dress light.
With so many people pressing in on every side, and the Florida sun beating down it started to get a little stuffy. I was grateful for the light skirt and airy top I decided to wear. After walking all the way from Hemming Plaza back across the Main St Bridge though, I was second guessing my choice in footwear.

They are super comfy.... but after 3 miles...ummmm
Don't- Get Impatient
Props to these hard working folk. Brittany has been
 in the top 3 every night for votes in music.
She handed out more than 5,000 cards already
by the time I attended the event.
One Spark is up til late. Be nice to everyone you see because most of the people working the event have been there all day, all week. I was so impressed with the amount of talent and innovation on all levels. Make sure to give them all a pat on the back.


Do - Visit the Food Village and get a glass of wine first thing. 
If you get a little nervous in crowds like I do you might want to plan to take the edge off with a little celebratory happy hour. I mean you should celebrate all the creators success right? Make sure to bring plenty of cash for vendors who don't take cards.

Cheers!
Don't - Don't bring a huge entourage if you really want to learn and explore in depth. 
Every few feet there is something
screaming for your attention.
I loved attending with family, but I'm a curious and inquisitive mind. My party was getting a little bored with my interview each booth and take pictures technique so it definitely made me rethink my strategy for the future to include at least one day of solo discovery so I can go where I please when I please. Another solution would be to divide and conquer allowing all members of the group to go explore and them meeting back up for food, drinks, and great music.

Do - Vote as many times as you want.
After checking in I caught on that the best way to save time would be to gather all the cards of the creators I liked and then text in my votes at the end of the day. The great news is that you can vote for as many creators as you like. In fact if you want to take home the One Spark guide, you could go through every creator and vote for them if you wanted... or at least find your favorites that stuck out to you.


Don't - Be shy.
This is a great event to interact and have fun! Such a great atmosphere and incredible energy. On Day 3 of the event 65,000 people were reported to attend. The spectacles and people you see will grab you attention and engage your mind. Ask questions, get up and dance, try that sample, and most importantly show your encouragement for these innovators going out on a limb for what they believe in.
Go ahead! Pet the alligator!
Do - Check out the schedule online.
Take the extra time to graze over the schedule and see if there are any speakers you want to go out of your way to hear on the pitch deck. The Plaza was set up perfectly to hang out and absorb all these creators and speakers had to share. It's worth your while to take a listen especially to those who may have a field you really relate to. Who knows where some of these guys will end up. They might be the next big thing!


Stay tuned for a recap of some of my favorite creators. 

Until then....

Enjoy the Journey!

xo- Amy West


Bonus!!
Since writing this I received a few more tips:
Don't forget your sunscreen and hand sanitizer!
To avoid the largest crowds go on a a Thursday or Friday during the day. 



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