It takes a lot to choose a date for the event. There are 150 volunteers, over 600 workers, 100 mountain bike vendors, The City Of Sedona, The School District, the shuttle companies, beer vendors, food trucks, bands, other events in Sedona, other events in the Mountain Bike World, weather and most of all the attendees that we talk to and coordinate with.
The weather last year was unexpected and unprecedented. You can be sure that it is something that everyone involved in the 2023 event will never forget. After we wrapped up 2023 we immediately started working to see what would be possible for the event in 2024. Would we even do an event in 2024?
We started with surveys to vendors and past participants to see what people thought. When would the ideal date be for the event? It was clear immediately with 1500 responses the first day that we should still do an event for our amazing community and it was also clear that there were a lot of ideas of what we should do, and everyone is sure their idea is the best. Trust me, we have personally read all of them.
The event has been the first weekend of March from the beginning. We have had to cancel 1 day of the event, and closed demos due to wet trails 3 other days in the entire history of the festival. The first weekend in March has produced everything from days in the mid 70s to rain and sleet. So we set out to get some info on what other times would look like.
Why Not The Fall?
“Clearly the fall is the best time to do the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, you are all so stupid for not doing it in the fall” – Survey Respondent
We set out to see if November would be a possibility for the event. Right away we ran into some challenges. Is the weather better? Maybe. It is less likely that we will see snow but we could easily still see rain. Attendees said that they were preparing for holiday travel and generally did not prefer this date. Most vendors were a lot less interested in attending including some very important ones that make the event.
Why not in April?
“It’s amazing how hardheaded you all are. Where is the option to hold the festival in April or May?? “ – Survey Respondent
Starting in mid March different states start having their spring breaks and this lasts until early May. Sedona sees a ton of spring break visitation and what this means for the Festival is traffic and limited hotel capacity. The volunteers and staff that help with the event also have other jobs and can not work at the festival during that time. If we can’t lodge everyone, move the shuttles around or have staff then we can’t really have an event. There are also more events in the MTB World so vendors are not all available, and there are other events locally in Sedona to contend with.
The best we can do:
“I’ve attended the festival every year since 2016, overall the weather has been great, so there is no need to make any changes after a little snowfall”. – Survey Respondent
So after lots of surveys, phone calls and meetings we landed on the date for the 2024 event. March 8,9,10 2024. This is the second week of March. This is the best we can do in terms of balancing the needs of everyone that makes this event work. Mountain biking happens outside and catching that perfect weather window will always be part of what we do. This event has been a celebration of spring from the start and we will carry that spirit forward to our 10th event. One week later should help with the weather a little bit and we hope to see you there and as always appreciate your support.