Think you can get away with assembling a conference panel that includes no people of color? Or stage an award show that excludes female solo performers? Or continue to ignore an art-show director accused of harassment?
In 2018, that's not going to cut it. Attendees, sponsors, and speakers feel empowered to call out event organizers to demand change, and the industry is responding.
Food festivals where once-ubiquitous celebrity chefs hosted marquee events have moved on to new talent. Music festivals and trade shows have adopted codes of conduct. And media coverage at award shows has shifted from the “mani-cam” to interviews of greater substance.
These are the issues in the zeitgeist as we release the 2018 list of the Top 100 Events in the United States and the Top 100 Events in Canada.
Organizers of top events have to be as thoughtful, inclusive, and forward-thinking as possible. It's a recognition that events are a powerful platform for social change, and that change is happening in the wider culture and events need to reflect that.
With that in mind, we have chosen 200 events—100 in the U.S. and 100 in Canada—that represent the best of their kind, year after year:
By recognizing successful events, these lists highlight industry leaders as well as start discussions about what others feel is a “top event.” We invite you to share your opinion with us on Twitter @BizBash.
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.