In the light of current BGA versus GAC debates I am wondering what people look for when picking an event.
For me, I personally look for events that have some historical basis. I also look for intellectual preparations as well as physical challenges. I also look for national events where I can visit with friends.
Historical Basis: Yes. Isn't this hobby about history? Oh, I keep forgetting... for some its about burning powder. I don't do tacticals. That's just playing PaintBall with black powder instead of paint.
Intellectual Preperations: I do this every day; reading, research, etc.
Physical Challenges: Such as? Marching until your feet blister? Getting heat stroke to satisfy some self-appointed officer's desire to double-quick in 90+ weather? Eating like a real CW soldier; grease, grease, grease, hardtack and coffee. No, no and no. For me, this hobby is not a sporting event. Keep the physical stuff to a rational minimum and I'm in.
It's my hobby. I pick events based on what I want to do and what I want to see as well as who is hosting, their track record, command and etc. Usually, it's something that hasn't been done a zillion times before.
I usually don't comment on opinion-based questions, but since the esteemed Mr. Grim is asking, I know there is some basis for genuine research or concern. I primarily attend events that are history-based and at or near the original site. Living histories and/or demonstrations get priority. On the next level, a reenactment with a history-based function, researched roles/impressions, and a solid command staff get my attention. I couldn't care less about wood, water, porta-johns, or modern infrastructure, as long as we can either truck it in ourselves or can be found on site. I also do not care whether its a campaign event or garrison event, as long as whatever is chosen, it fits the historical record. I prefer the campaign-side of things as far as units and unit impressions, with the SCAR, WIG, old AoP, and the like, but have been just as rewarded attending "mainstream" events with solid staffs like the MG, USV, and the Cumberland Guard back in the day. For me, history first and the fun follows with it...