250 people is usually too much for an encuentro. Normally, I
find that anything above 180 makes getting dances rather hard, and the whole experience a bit overwhelming and stressful, because a milonga doesn't really scale up
that well. It's a problem, because these are really fun events and there are lots of people who want to go, so if you limit it to the 100-200 sweet spot, you always have the problem of upsetting someone. Even with 250 places, Dans Tes Bras still got 400 applications. And if you're going to do it in a big (and therefore accessible) city, it has to be big or it's not going to be viable in relation to the high costs.
But the organisers in Paris put a lot of thought into how to manage the numbers, and came up with pretty good solutions. They didn't just pander to people's preferences, they really thought about what would work and did the best they could. That meant:
- A really fun venue with pleasant staff
- A decent, if imperfect, temporary dancefloor
- Plenty of seats - more seats than people - this I think is crucial
- Lots of entrances to the dancefloor, so that it filled and cleared very fast
- Lots of space to move behind the floor-side seating and to chill outside the hall - this I also think makes a big difference
- Enough light (after some experimentation - this was a first try)
- Food and drink available (not included, and free water only from the tap, but that's big-city venues, it was fine to bring and refill your own bottle)
- An experimental seating plan by which women were given priority on the two front rows of seats, basically because the floor was really too big for cabeceo right across it, so you had to do angles, and it was always going to be a compromise. Most women and those intending to follow (like me) picked a spot and largely stuck to it. The men, and those intending to lead, moved more, but not always. Men and women were still sitting together and at the same tables (set at right angles to the seating). Overall it worked, and those who regularly do both roles often changed what they did according to what they wanted. The best place to sit was actually row 2, because the angles were better.
- A working arrangement for taxis back to hotels.
But there aren't many DJs like that, and there's no need to make it difficult.