It's no accident when a benefit raises $100 million, or when a music festival dominates social media feeds coast to coast. These results are the culmination of hard work over a long period of time—work that we recognize through our list of the top 100 events in the United States and the top 100 events in Canada.
The events on the lists consistently execute at the highest level through their own combination of the right speakers, venues, sponsors, attendees, technology, and a host of other logistics considered by the thoughtful planners behind them. They succeed because planners understand the powerful process that occurs when people come together through a common interest, whether something as basic as food or as complex as the global economy. And success comes in all shapes and sizes; this is not a list of the highest-grossing fund-raisers or the largest trade shows by square footage. Rather, it's the mix of several factors—from economic impact to influence within a specific industry—that determines the rankings in the Top 100.
The lists feature several new entries this year as newer events build up track records of success and some older events come to an end. But even with 200 events featured, many worthy gatherings did not make the cut. That's why this year's lists includes several “Ones to Watch,” events that failed to crack the Top 100—at least this year—but still deserve attention.
As with all lists, these are subjective. To choose and rank the annual events, we look at several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event’s prominence within the communities it intends to serve. We also vetted selections with industry insiders.