How To Organize A Capoeira Event – Part 2: The Five Fundamental Elements

Okay, so you want to host an event. Let’s get started! There are at least five fundamental things you need to define before doing anything else. You need to have a concept, a date and location, teachers and most importantly, a budget.

Let’s go over these topics and see how you can best approach them.

The concept

I believe it’s important to have a concept. What will make your event unique? There are many capoeira events and if you want to attract a crowd, you will need to stand out. Will you offer a special class? Will there be some sort of competition? Will your event be based on a celebrity who will be present? Do you want to target a specific demographic (e.g. women only)? Or maybe you want to apply a certain theme? Your concept will influence the shape of the event: how many days it will span, which acitivties you will offer, the budget you’ll need, …It is important to think about this very thoroughly. Ask yourself: why do people need to come to your event instead of any other capoeira event?

Name & tagline

Once you have a concept defined, you’ll need a name, possibly a tagline and a visual. A capoeira event can have a lot of different names, some common examples are: meetup, seminar, workshop, vivência, encounter, encontro, oficinas, festival, … There are tons of events called “encontro de capoeira”.  It’s up to decice you what you find most suiting for the concept, but try to come up with a unique, easy to remember name. From day 1 you should think of your event as a brand you are building (even if you don’t have the ambition to turn it into a recurring event). Make sure to Google the name you have in mind to confirm it hasn’t been used yet. You wouldn’t want to call your event “Capoeirando” for example. 

A tagline is a nice to have, and not really necessary. A tagline can be used to say in a few words what your event is about and accompanies the name. It can be used in your advertising campaign, visual assets, poster, … Keep the name short and make your tagline a bit more descriptive.

Visual style

Once you have a name, you can start working on the visual representation. I always try to create a graphic or visual that goes with the name and concept. If you define a visual style, you can derive a logo from it, a flyer, and even the t-shirt you might want to print. A visual will help people recognize your event when you post on social media. If you don’t have the skills, try to find someone in your group/family/friends who knows his way around tools like Illustrator/Photshop, Figma or Canva. Again, it’s about building an identity that people can recognize.

Designing a visual style is again a profession on its own. Some very basic tips I can give are:

  • Select two fonts, one more decorative for the title and visuals and another one for all text and labels.
  • Define a colour palette. 3 or 4 base colours that go well together can already be sufficient.
  • Don’t use pixelated or blurry images from the web, but look for a vector or something hi-res. This is very important when printing posters or t-shirts.
  • Make sure you have the rights to use any resources.
  • Keep it simple when you’re not an expert. Don’t try to overdo it because often less is more. 

The combination of a good design, a clear name and an appealing concept will already make your event look professional. You have defined the base layer of a brand and that is the first step towards a successful event.


Before anything else you’ll need a date range when you’d like to hold the event. Make a list of 3-5 weekends that you find ideal. Some things to take into account:

  • Find a period that works best for your target audience. If you aim to have a lot of young people and students, don’t plan your event in exam periods or the weeks leading up to them.
  • Stay away from holidays and the summer, as a lot of people are with family or on vacation.
  • Don’t plan your event too close to another capoeira event in the same area. People’s budgets are limited and chances are they’ll only go to one event.

The date, location and teachers are in strong relation to eachother. And putting together the combination of a date, availability of the venue on that date and availability of the teachers your want to invite is not easy. It will feel like you’re juggling all three as you need to work on these three aspects simultaneously. It might happen that your favourite teachers are available, but the venue isn’t. Then you’ll have to decide whether you change the date (with the possibility of losing some teachers) or go with your second choice of venue. Don’t wait with making decisions or looking for alternatives. If you don’t confirm the dates with the venue because you are still looking for teachers, someone might have rented the place by the time you have your line-up of teachers. Or teachers might fill up their schedules if you don’t confirm in time.

That’s why I advice in having a few possible dates (and venues), so you can make a combination of what goes together. Once you have a list of possible dates, you can go on and start looking for a location.


You’ll obviously need a venue. Make a list of requirements the venue should fulfill and then check with your city which studios or gymnasiums are available to rent. Also talk to private owners like schools or fitness centres. I don’t think you necessarily have to hold the event in your own training studio if it doesn’t fit the events’ needs.

Things you might want to consider:

  • Enough space for all classes and dividing everyone in groups.
  • Clean floors without holes, bumps, nails sticking out (true story…)
  • Clean dressing rooms and (hot) showers
  • The possibility to offer catering (lunch, drinks and maybe even dinner)
    • Are you allowed to do this yourself or can you work with the cafetaria of the venue?
  • Accessibility:
    • Is it easy to park you car in the vicinity? 
    • Is it easy to reach with public transport?
    • If you are expecting a lot of international guests, you might want to stay close to an airport. 
  • Opening hours:
    • Is the venue open in weekends? Does it close early on Sunday? Can you get a key to prepare and clean up before / after the event? 
  • Do you want the whole venue to yourself, or is it okay if other sport clubs or groups are using the same facilities?

Always ask for a quote. Renting private venues can be super expensive, while renting from the city or a school can be quite cheap if you’re lucky.

It can take some time to research and contact venues, so do this as early as possible. I advice to start looking a year beforehand and at least 6 months before the event should take place. Just like the date, pick a top three of venues so you have flexibility in completing the location-date-teachers matrix. 


An event is often built around the special guests, they are the face of the event and people often go to a specific event because they are a fan of the teachers that are present. Teachers often have a broad social network and they can endorse your event, attracting even more capoeiristas. 

Which teachers you want (and can) invite depends on various factors, I’ll name a few:

  • The concept. Are there certain mestres that will empower the concept of your event? For example, if you want to do something with music, it would be a good idea to invite a mestre who is a well known musiscian. If you want to host a women only event, look for a powerful female capoeirista.
  • The wow factor. Do you want to invite celebrity capoeiras, or do you want to focus more on the local aspect, or maybe a combination? This choice will affect the vibe of your event, and of course the budget.
  • Politics: unfortunately capoeira has a dark political side. Make sure to check with your mestre if it is okay to invite the people you have in your mind. They might not be on good terms, and you won’t be allowed to invite them.
  • Costs: celebrity capoeiras obviously charge more than people no one knows about. But celebrities can attract a crowd and thus increase your income. Take into account the transportation cost as well. Do you want to fly someone in from Brazil? You’ll also need to provide for accommodation and food, which increases the total cost per teacher.
    • If you have 5 guest teachers staying 4 days in total, you really have to account for the cost of food in your budget.

Cold calling

Until recently I was convinced it wasn’t a good idea to cold call someone and ask to come teach at your event. I didn’t believe you’d get positive replies. But I’ve used this strategy 3 times now and it has worked perfectly, you just have to know who to contact this way. For me this approach has kept the relationship more professional and a bit more business oriented, which I like. 

But still, teachers are usually inclined to visit events from people they know. Because they also want to make sure they’ll end up in a good place. So, you have to have a bit of a network you can tap into. Creating a network is an effort that takes years and it is a completely different discussion, but if you have one, I’d advice first contacting teachers from within your network, or ask your supervising teacher or mestre who they know or can recommend. 

Filling the roster

Try to figure out how many teachers you’ll need (depending on the number of expected participants and the number of groups you want to divide everyone in). How many mestres, professors, instrutors, graduados do you need? How many can you cover with your budget (see below)? Traditionally organizers invited as many teachers as possible, but the past few years I’ve noticed a new trend where only 1 or 2 main teachers are hired and the event is completely built around them. In that case it is not uncommon to just train in 1 big group.


When talking with someone, always make very clear arrangements and be transparant about the financial side. What do they expect and what can you offer? Are you going to pay them a fixed salary, do they work with a price per class, do they even want to teach or just be present (yes, you have to pay certain capoeiras to just show up and do nothing).

It’s can be a delicate topic, certainly when talking with older or well known mestres. I try to discuss it as early as possible, just to get that elephant out of the room. This is by the way something that mestres often discuss between eachother, so chances are you’re not getting much of a say in this when your mestre is involved in the organization. But again, make clear what is possible and what not. If a famous mestre asks €1.000 for a weekend and you only can afford €500, be honest about it. You can always ask for a discount or look for an alternative solution. 

I prefer to treat the arrangements I make as a business deal, instead of counting on the good relationship you have and hoping that expectations will be the same on both sides. Assumptions create a mess.


Defining a budget is elementary, but also hard to get right. You’ll have to start with rough estimations as there’s still a lot you don’t know, but as time progresses and the pieces of the puzzle fall together, you’ll get a better and better view on your budget. 

There are two sides to a budget: revenue and costs. I tend to start with the revenue. 

Revenue estimation

First make an estimation on how many people will attend the event. Then think about the average ticket price you’d want to ask. If you don’t know yet, base yourself on similar events that took place in your region. Mulitply the two and you’ll have a very rough idea of potentional revenue. For example: “I expect 70 people to attend the whole weekend at a rate of €80 per person. My expected revenue will be €5.600”.

Then think about other possible revenue streams. Will you be selling stuff at the event? Are you going to look for sponsors? Will you earn something from selling sandwiches during lunch? All bits matter here. Try to be as realistic as possible, it’s no use lying to yourself.

And finally, are you willing to invest a certain amount from your school’s account? You will probably have to if it is your first event. An important line I do not cross is investing personal money.

Cost estimation

Now that you have an idea of the revenue, start listing all the costs you can think of. This can be a long list. Things I always include are:

  • Fee per teacher (see below for more details)
  • Venue rental cost
  • Cost of printing t-shirts
  • marketing budget (advertising, printing flyers, social ads, …)
  • expenses made by the event team (gas, phone, parking, …)
  • Small materials (notebooks; pens; clipboards, tape, bracelets,…)
  • grocery shopping
  • costs for catering
  • Food / drink expenses for teachers outside of the event
  • Accomodation: are you renting something for guests from far away? Do some teachers want to stay at a hotel?
  • Additional budget for unforeseen costs

I want to give a bit more detail on what types of fees teachers might ask (based on own experiences):

  • The top 10 of celebrity mestres can charge around €5.000 excluding transport. Beware, this doesn’t mean they’ll teach the full weekend!
  • A lot of other world famous names charge €1.000 – €2.000 for a weekend and you’ll get somewhere between 3 classes given and a full weekend of teaching for that amount. Mestres based outside of Brazil often charge more because their cost of living is higher.
  • Big groups like Muzenza or ABADÁ sometimes have fixed prices for all their mestres and contramestres. An example: €500 for a weekend including 2 classes.
  • Local professores and contramestres might ask around €100 – €200 per class. 
  • For younger teachers like graduados, I think a good rate is €50 per class. Often (young) graduados are not paid but they get else something in return, which is kind of a bad practice in my opinion.
  • For friends and volunteers who don’t ask for anything, I try to pay them nonetheless, usually €25 – €50 per activity based on what is possible in my budget.

The above heavily depends on your location. The rates in the US are probably higher than here in Europe.

Very often deals are made in the sene of “I’ll come teach for free at your event, if you come teach at my event“. It’s up to you to decide if you’re comfortable with that. I try to avoid it, as I don’t like to be tied to promises in the (far) future which I might not be able to keep.  

Making up the balance

Now that you have a rough idea of your costs and income, you can start tweaking the balance until you get the result you want. Do you expect to make a profit, or are you satisfied with a break even? When defining budgets, it is better to be pessimistic in your estimations. Assume the worst attendance rate and the highest costs and try to make even that scenario work. If you expect to break even, make sure you have a backup plan in case things turn out worse than expected and you make a loss. 

Next to making a pessimstic scenario, make a positive one as well. How does the balance look if everything goes great: you have a lot of participants and your costs aren’t too high? Putting those two together, you create a budget range.

You will need to iterate on your calculations several times, making adjustments everytime. After you’ve looked at some venues and talked to some prospect teachers, you’ll have a better idea of the main costs. Update your estimations and see if you have to raise (or can lower) your ticket prices. 

When you’ve more or less decided on your ticket price, you can start splitting it up in different options. For example:

  • price for 1 day
  • price for 2 days
  • all-in price (3 days, dinner, tshirt)
  • same but for kids
  • discount rates for external teachers who bring students
  • discount rates for people who register before a certain date (early bird tickets)

Don’t make it too complex though. If it is complex for you, it’ll be even more difficult to understand for the public. Based on the different rates you’re offering, also make an estimation of ticket purchases. If you estimated earlier 70 people would attend, try to divide them over the different tickets. And again, recalculate your revenue and update your budget. 

If your costs are too high, don’t ignore it but seriously think about the feasibility of it all. 

Can you cut costs? (e.g. don’t invest in custom t-shirts, charge extra for dinner, cut the number of teachers, …). Also don’t be too cheap with your ticket rates. If it still is not feasible you might have to scale down your event, or invest more money out of your school’s pocket if that’s an option. 

This is an important decision which will determine how you’ll move forward. I’ve had several events that I scrapped even before announcing them publicly because we didn’t have the budget. We had awesome ideas but they just weren’t feasible on that moment. You have to be willing to make that decision.

To be continued

In part 3 I’ll talk more about the organisation of the event itself: assembling a team, creating a timeline and asking the right questions.

— Vinho

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