I’m personally a big fan of uncomplicated events. I am the starter of a series of events near a good ice cream dealer (with the occasional other location during winter), and have arranged a five-event series of lunchbreak canteen events, and the occasional off event, but the simple meet at a location with good old wooden benches (with a dry location with a roof on top available less than a hundred metres away for rainy days), where people can just chat, and often do, and have an excuse to get some food or drink when they want.
I am not really a people person, surprisingly when I organise so many events, but I do like a chat with people I know, and I also try to talk to new guests and especially introduce newbies (we have a fun mystery cache final close to the ice salon), but not too many at once. But that’s just me.
New geocaches? In our area? Hah, no room for ’em. But seriously, no, I think it lame, unless the event is there for an organised cache hunt… which it oughtn’t be, and, IIRC, is also against the guidelines.
I’ve attended events at a restaurant, and either you come just for the food (with the event just being a bit on the side) or it’s really going to be a shitty event for you. It also hinders mingling and wandering around.
Events just to try new things… sure, these do have their place. Around here, they’re usually overbooked a couple of minutes after their publish though. (Sometimes I luck out, when the owner is nice enough to also publish on OC, which lacks the extra time GC.COM’s review process needs.) It’s usually not trivial to figure out quickly whether the time and place works out for me, but every once in a while, it’s cool.
As for the location — I think having both is nice and important, though I tend towards the nice site unless the weather is bad. Some people publish events with high T ratings and insist that everyone climbs to the logbook which is… questionable at best. I’ll attend one such event (“you need an ECA to get to 4m”) on the 30ᵗʰ and… well, the guidelines say attendance is enough to log (although I’m not a friend of the people who say that driving by and honking is enough, even though, strictly by the guidelines, it likely is; events should *not* be park and grab), and I *will* log it. I’ll try the physical challenge, granted, but I’m not a climber, don’t have overly expensive ECA, and hope someone helps me (and especially lets me back down later), but if not…
I have been at several Mega events and even one Giga event, I particularily liked the (expensive) boat trip at Projekt Eck in Koblenz, but I don’t like Mega events much, even those not too commercialised: they have a bracket programme where you can book fun couses/tours/workshops…iff you know you’ll be there at some exact time of day, like, several months in advance, which I usually don’t, and they’re so big I don’t know what to do with myself during that time, and they have… *shudder* humans. The new caches placed for them (even the lab caches) are fun, but you often get them handed to you (quite literally… and then you better hope you get told where exactly to put it back, if you end up being the last in the queue).
In Mainz (Giga Gutenberg) I liked the Maze much more, but the Giga had good food and especially drinks (though one of the cocktails already ran off by the time I had enough solids in my stomach to try it). The downside was extreme environmental damage by cachers not accepting a DNF and literally destroying a tree by de-bark-ing it looking for… well, who the hell hides a nano at a tree, but still? Some other, more remote, hides like a letterbox also got damaged, I was lucky enough to still find it but it got disabled, then archived, a few days later due to event collateral damage.
So, no, I’m not a friend of big events (also consider what I said about the restaurant events above… plus, with 120, or even just 50, attendees, the restaurant owners can be overwhelmed… or plain bad and unfriendly).
I would definitely not go to an event that invites smoking people, and I almost threw the towel recently when cachers did not even have the common courtesy at removing themselves more than 2 metres from the group (which included children, too!) when they could not even keep their fingers off their stinking cigarettes for TWENTY-FIVE minutes (out of the fourty-five allotted for the outdoors part of the event), and THEN got angry at me for STILL POLITELY requesting they not smoke, or at least go far away with that crap.
I think I wouldn’t go to an event at a huge location like the Munich Giga, I was honestly afraid (and did not attend) because huge amounts of people can involve security theatre (which I find a nightmare) and those things security theatre pretends to try to prevent.
A good event, in my eyes, lives from the people there (try to not stick to your own group, try to not exclude any single person, but don’t be too forceful either), and a bit from the location, but in the end they’re meant to be communicative and incite fun; anything else, anything organised, is just by the side, or it’s not (primarily) a geocaching event.
A good event is also published on as many geocaching listing platforms as possible (GC.COM and your local instance of the Opencaching Network at the very least, possibly Terracaching and gpsgames.org, possibly some regional plaform like Geocaching Australia; Navicache is dead, they don’t even publish new listings any more, so don’t try). It’s not PM-only either. It’s meant to reach those with 13000 finds as well as those with 13… or one… or none.