August 23-24, 2014 marked the first anniversary of the massive Gentlemen of the Road Mumford and Sons tour that came to rural Norfolk County in 2013 and infused millions of dollars into the economy. One year ago, social media sites were blanketed by people tweeting about the awesome experience. They were among the 40,000 at the concert, and exploring the downtown businesses in Simcoe and throughout the county. There was plenty of talk in the community that the event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost fortunes and kickstart more momentum for revitalization of an economy coping with recent downturns. That’s the exact theme reported on by CBC in a mini documentary called The Mumford Effect.
Far beyond Simcoe, the anniversary was not forgotten by people who attended the concert a year ago. Twitter was again lighting up August 23, 2014 by people sharing their experiences, photos, and many tweeting that they wished they were back in Simcoe again. Despite being in town for little more than 48 hours that summer weekend in 2013, it was obvious that thousands of people developed a bond with the community.
In the community, the anniversary of the event went largely forgotten. There were a few exceptions. A newspaper did a story after the fact. A few locals tweeted about it. And six people, including the mayor (hooray!), gathered in a local bar after putting out tweets about an impromptu anniversary gathering to have an official Gentlemen of the Road beer (which by the way, is still available at a bar in town).
Event anniversaries like these are great reminders for communities to take advantage of the buzz being generated on social media. There’s a giant conversation happening. Be part of it. Reconnect with the people who were talking up your community a year ago. By doing so you extend the shelf life of significant events. Have a strategy and plans to keep momentum alive.