Posted on 16/04/2018 by siteadmin

Organising a hafla?

Group at local hafla

Kay Taylor posted before about ‘hafla etiquette’ which attracted a lot of comments.  Thinking about the subject, she thought it might be useful for newer organisers to have a checklist of things to consider when planning a hafla.  ‘There are probably things I have missed – but it is a good starting point.’ explained Kay.

Finding the right Venue

  • Venue – is it easy to get to?  Public transport / parking etc
  • Room – How many does it hold?  Is it big enough? How many people do you anticipate coming?
  • Room –  Does it have a stage / performance area?
  • Room – Does it have lights / sound system (or do you need to hire these?  You may decide against lights but you definitely need a good sound system)
  • Room – Does it have changing facilities – or are the toilets big enough?  Sometimes it isn’t ideal!!
  • Room – cost – is it within your budget?
  • Room – Is there a bar?  Or do people bring their own drinks?
  • Ticket Price – how much does the venue cost + any other expenses, divide by the amount of people you expect.  Then, if you need to make a profit, add your profit margin on top.


  • Give your hafla a name ……. It will help attract people to it.
  • Are you having a ‘theme’, is it a fundraising hafla – you can use these elements in your promotion.
  • Plan the date well in advance & get it out to all your local contacts.
  • Invite local teachers and encourage them to bring their classes to perform.
  • Question:  Do you give teachers / performers discounts?  To think about.
  • Make effective use of social media, email lists & personal contacts.
  • Advertise on other websites to spread the word – like the JWAAD one for teachers who have trained with JWAAD: Click here to see.

Selling tickets

  • At your classes
  • Give other local teachers tickets to sell
  • On line – through eventbrite or something similar.
  • On the night – do you have a cheaper price if bought in advance?
  • Make your own tickets and print them off – or pay for a book of tickets to be made up?  Or do it all through on line confirmation.  I find having physical tickets to sell works best.


  • Do you want a souk?  Who should you invite?  Most haflas get enough people to make it worthwhile 1 trader going, not more.
  • How many performances do you want?
  • How many groups, how many solos?
  • How much boogie time do you want?  You need to decide on the balance.
  • Are you having food?  If so, build in time for this.
  • If you are running a fund raising hafla and having stalls to raise money, allow time for folks to browse round the stalls.

In Advance

  • Ask people to send their music to you – you can be far better organised if you do this in advance.  Otherwise it is one more job to do on the night.
  • Ask performers for details of music / style.  This will help you get a good balance in your running order.
  • Set your running order – and make sure teachers know roughly when their classes are on – particularly if they are on early or late to ensure all their girls will be there.  If you have a ‘guest’ dancer you might want to consult where they want to be in the programme – and how they want to be introduced.
  • Type up and print a programme – I tend to include all the teachers names and contact numbers who have brought groups to support the event.
  • Check the technology will be compatible with yours – ipod, cd etc
  • If you haven’t asked people for their music in advance, make sure they know what format to bring it in.

On the night

  • Do you have people to:
  • Be on the door
  • Set up the room
  • A stage manager – to make sure the performers are where they need to be.  Find out if people start on or off stage and liaise with sound person.
  • Someone to manage the music / sound – 2 people if they are collecting music on the night as well.  1 person if you have compiled it in advance.  Check the sound equipment will play all ipod / cds etc.
  • Someone to compere the evening and introduce the performers.
  • If you have to put the room back after or clear up food etc – helpers for that.
  • Are helpers getting paid?  You need to balance this in your finances if so – or are they helping in exchange for a free ticket?
  • Make sure you have printed off running orders to put in changing rooms, toilets etc.  Do you need any other signs to direct people?

Remember – you are not superwoman.  The more help you arrange in advance, the more time you will have to ‘host’ the evening, talk to your attendees, and remember your own group dances etc.  You are in overall control but a good team of helpers is irreplaceable – your hafla will run much more smoothly with the right people involved.  Delegation is an art … and a great skill to develop.

I hope this is of some use.  I have been organising haflas for 20 years – and you learn by your mistakes …. hopefully this will give you a good base to start from.  I am still learning – particularly when it comes to new technology.  Sometimes you get it wrong …. but that is how you learn.

I find the better organised an event, the more relaxed it can feel.  Everything flows smoothly and allows people to enjoy themselves, socialise, be at their best to perform …. and, of course, support the other performers.

By Kay Taylor of Farida Dance, Farida Adventures & JWAAD Teacher.

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