February 14, 2020

Tisch Center Course Spotlight: Festivals and Social Events, Professor Rosenberger

Professor Peter Rosenberger teaches the Festivals and Social Events course in the MS Event Management. In this post, he tells us more about his background and the objectives of the course.

What is your background?

In broad strokes, I'm a New York native and U.S. Air Force Veteran who came back to NYC to become a working actor/comedian/writer. I was going to be on SNL one day! The long days and nights of bartending and waiting tables eventually became a career as the dream of performing slowly faded. From the Smith & Wollensky stable to Madison Square Garden's Club Bar & Grill, things progressed quickly to  becoming Maitre' D, then Manager, and then Special Events Sales at MSG. It was then that one of my clients, ESPN The Magazine, called me to come work for them as their Event Planner. Two years later came the promotion to Head of Events at ESPN, which continued for several more great years. At this point I'm 15 years into my career and joined a small agency with big ambitions while confronted by a struggling economy, which was rough. After a brief stint back in the corporate world as a VP of Guest Experience for Premiere Global Sports, I ventured out on my own to create ClusterFest Events in 2014 and have been an independent business owner ever since.

At the Tisch Center, you teach the Festivals and Social Events course. What are the objectives of the course? 

Candidly, we have several objectives. The first is to discuss and determine the myriad of details in planning a large-scale festival, for example Bonnaroo in Tennessee or Oktoberfest in Munich. Second, we must look at variables and the factors that lead to the viability of any given project. For example: community support, the local events calendar, infrastructure and venues, etc. Third (for now) is size and scope - how large or small is the event we are building and what might be the best location(s) for it? Once we are clear on objectives, we can move on to strategies and tactics. This holds true for social events also, be it a family celebration or corporate event: you cannot achieve your goal/objective if you're not clear on what it is. 

Why are you interested in this specific topic? 

I'm genuinely fascinated by the planning process along with human behavior patterns. What is it that makes people say an event of any type was "great" or the opposite, "what a mess." Even the best planners struggle with challenging logistical choices, of that I'm sure. But we are tasked to be thoughtful, use our existing experiences and ultimately,  discuss and debate what we believe to be best for the festival or any other event we might be working on. Can you see your vision come to life in your own mind? 

What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?    

In the decade that I have been teaching graduate studies at NYU, my goal has consistently been to be a resource for students, both during and after their time at NYU. For the post-grad group, it's next step "Real World," so that makes it important for us to replicate that environment each week in class. We confront current scenarios in the industry candidly and evaluate both failures (Fyre Fest) and successes like Coachella or a Royal Wedding. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

The education process is ongoing, and I've learned an awful lot along the way here at SPS. From my first few guest speaking appearances while at ESPN to my first co-teaching experience with Dave Hollander in 2009, I feel fortunate to have met so many great colleagues and students, easily 500+ at this point. I really love having this opportunity to make a small impact on their future careers. I'm grateful to NYU for that.

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