The first unofficial event at the Cross Insurance Center, Bangor, Maine’s sparkling new arena, is a mere couple weeks away, with Bangor High’s graduation ceremony.
It will be the first of thousands of events at the city’s new crown jewel on the corner of Buck and Dutton Streets. Hopefully down the road one of them will be a Les Mills quarterly workshop.
That dream was touched on in a previous post. We – and by we I mean Les Mills East Coast and clubs in the Bangor area who showcase their programs – certainly have the power to make this dream come true. But it’s going to take a lot of work.
With that being said, here is what I think needs to happen in order to make this dream become a reality.
1. Sell, sell, sell. Likely the most important aspect of bringing any big-time event to a small city. You not only have to sell your event. You have to sell your market as well.
Think of what Bangor has to offer: Outdoor concerts that have attracted the likes of Journey, Motley Crewe and will bring Lil Wayne and Ke$ha to town later this summer. We’re only 45 miles from the only national park northeast of New York City. Plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants to keep visitors’ bellies full, including a casino across the street from the prospective fitness venue. If you don’t sell your market, participants won’t come.
2. Timing is everything. Let’s face it. Who would want to come to Maine in the middle of winter? Les Mills instructors are passionate about the programs and the workshops, but nobody would want to come up here in the dead of winter.
Late summer, ideally early September when clubs are starting to prepare for fall launches, would be an ideal date for a mega workshop. In a small market, you don’t want to have too many things going on at once, or that can create a lodging nightmare. Portland learned that the hard way in August with Mumford and Sons and the Beach to Beacon 10K happening the same weekend, and there wasn’t a free hotel room within 80 miles of Maine’s largest city.
In other words: We can’t have a Mega Q the same weekend of the Senior League World Series or the American Folk Festival.
3. International flavor. This one is a no-brainer. When Les Mills plans mega workshops, international presents are always on the menu. The crew heading to Orlando in August includes Mid Thomas, Matt Thraxton, Bevan Eyles, Carla Fitzsimons, Fred Andersson and Dr Dave McKenzie. That is quite a lineup.
If presents with the caliber of Mid Thomas, Matt Thraxton or Susan Renata were scheduled to present in the Queen City, instructors would come from near and far.
4. Make a weekend out of it. Almost every workshop I’ve gone to has included side events, such as AIMs and after-parties.
In order to bring a workshop to Maine, we need to have side events as well. This would easily give Bangor-area and Maine instructors a chance to enhance their teaching without having to travel outside their home state. My initial training was in Lewiston, about an hour and a half south of Bangor. There’s no reason we can’t have at least an AIM I after a Super Q in a city such as Bangor. Instructors who choose to stay an extra day for an AIM will spend more money in our hotels and restaurants as well. Can’t lose there, can we?
5. Reach out to the members. The biggest reason our classes are so successful? Our members. Do they ever get to experience these types of workshops? No. They’re reserved for instructors.
Folks in Las Vegas made a good call in inviting their club members to take part in the workshop. With three gyms with Les Mills programs in the Bangor area, there’s no reason why we can’t reserve maybe 75-100 tickets for members who want to take part in the workshops. It’s an experience they will never forget, and it’s one they should be a part of.
We still have a long ways to go to make this happen. But my club owner and I think we can. If we can come together and make this happen, the reward will outweigh the risk!