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Issue 23 November 2008 £4.75

Festival in trio of successes

Artiste fees threaten UK industry By Christina Eccles SOARING ticket prices and the spiralling cost of artistes’ fees are the biggest threats to the UK festival market, it has been claimed. According to Richard Haswell, Summer Sundae’s festival director, the financial worries of booking a decent headline act and whether people can afford the cost of attending are currently the biggest headaches for organisers of major events. He said: “One thing which is having a major impact is artiste fees – there are too many events chasing too few artistes and the big players use exclusivity clauses which makes it even harder. “Our festival has grown over the years but what we can buy for our money is now considerably less so we have to programme creatively. “We would like to be in the position to get that killer act but the two factors which impact on that are exclusivity and price. “The Association of Festival organisers did some work on ticket prices and when inflation was running at two or three per cent, in the festival

market it was running at nine per cent. Costs are rising at an absolutely astronomical rate.” However, at one European festival, the organisers believe that the fact they can offer cheaper ticket prices than the UK works to their advantage. Festival director of Serbia’s EXIT Festival Bojan Boskovi added: “We are by far the cheapest tickets in the European market for what we offer and that is one of our competitive advantages. Our problem at the moment is capacity. Our daily capacity is about 50,000 but our estimation is that we could attract 80,000.” However, Richard added that it is not all doom and gloom for the UK festival scene as he is predicting a successful 2009 for his event and the industry in general. He added: “We are in a very positive situation as our numbers were up this year. I am cautiously optimistic as when things are tough, escapism becomes more popular and festivals are in the perfect position to provide that. The market is saturated but I feel comfortable that established brands are going to hold their own.”

Using technology to communicate with your audience is key to improving their festival experience year on year, according to the promoter of T in the Park. Geoff Ellis (pictured) said listening to feedback from fans via an online forum is vital as it keeps organisers up to date with what the people who buy the tickets want. He said: “We have a policy of trying to get feedback as our core audience is 18 to 25 year olds and I am conscious that every year at T I am another year older. The bulk of our audience is in that age bracket so if you are not having that dialogue with them you are out of touch. “If you are not getting feedback then you cannot act on it. The other way which customers communicate is by not buying a ticket and by then it is too late.”

GLASTONBURY was the big winner at this year’s UK Festival Awards – picking up trophies in three categories including an outstanding contribution award for founder Michael Eavis. The event also won the award for best major festival as well as most memorable moment for Jay-Z’s rendition of Oasis’ Wonderwall. The awards – held at IndigO2 in London and produced by – saw some of Europe’s top promoters pick up awards, with over 350,000 votes cast by festival fans. Other winners included:  Best Medium Sized Festival in Association with Ticketline Lovebox Weekender  Best Small Festival Secret Garden Party  Best Dance Festival Glade Festival  Best Line-up T In The Park  Family Festival Award Larmer Tree Festival The Main Event is the official magazine of the National Outdoor Events Association


Glastonbury earns praise but still has ‘some room for improvement’ By Louise Cordell GLASTONBURY may be the UK’s biggest, most respected festival – but there is still some room for improvement behind the scenes, it has been claimed. Its health and safety, food hygiene and noise control are all areas in need of improvement according to Mendip District Council. Over 30 recommendations for improvement have been made in a report reviewing this year’s event including suggested changes to camping organisation, water availability, the village and offsite areas, public nuisance problems, smokefree control and crowds and licensing arrangements. One of the main concerns centred on the festival’s noise management strategy, as this year organisers received 32 complaints from residents in 21 properties, some as far away as Shepton Mallet and Castle Cary.

According to the council many of the problems were created by two new areas at the festival, Shangri La and Trash City, but investigations showed that the weather conditions also carried some noise farther than usual. Keith Horton, the council’s environmental health officer, said: “It has been long recognised that the festival site is host to a very significant amount of acoustic energy and inevitably there will be some community impact. Weather conditions can significantly influence the off-site effects and there was evidence of this again this year. “There is scope to reduce the impact by addressing the stage noise levels and other all night sources.” Despite these issues, the report also praised those involved in organising the festival, describing it overall as ‘well planned, managed and implemented’. This year's event also won praise from Avon and Somerset

Constabulary, the Environment Agency, Somerset Primary Care Trust and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue. Coun. Tom Killen, the council’s portfolio holder for public protection, said: “Glastonbury Festival is a huge event and one in which massive improvements have been made over recent years to now make it one of the best managed and safest events of its kind in the world. “The successful and award-winning partnerships which help organise this festival should be congratulated and I hope this good work will continue to make even more improvements for next year. “It is inevitable that an event this size needs to be improved each year, and the district council will still work hard to build on the success of past years and continue to improve this world famous event. We know how important it is to Mendip and how important it is to ensure it remains one of the best in the world.”

Peddling pedal-power for event organisers A NEW mode of transportation has been developed for event organisers looking to move visitors, staff and goods around sites. Company of Cyclists – which originally started life putting on bike tryout roadshows for local authorities – has branched out to offer bikes as an environmentally friendly form of transportation for the outdoor events industry. MD Jim McGurn said: “We ran our own national cycle show in June and were able to use our multiseater cycles to move large numbers of visitors around. “We even used our seven-seater CircleCycle. We have around 500 cycles of all kinds, some of them very unusual, and we are keen to explore the effectiveness of pedalpower as a fun form of transportation at outdoor events.

“Who knows, we may well also be able to save our clients money if they don’t need to hire in other vehicles.” Jim also revealed the benefits of using pedal-power at events which include:  It is quiet.  People friendly  Flexible  Visibly sustainable  Becomes part of the attraction while performing a useful function. He added: “We have put hundreds of thousands of people onto all kinds of bikes over the last nine years, with no problem. “It’s great to see adults light up with happiness and allow themselves to enjoy a simple pleasure again. “I think it must be the best job in the world.”

How one council attracted big names to the city Page 14 & 15

Louise gets thousands safely to market Pages 21 Proms in the Park hits right note Page 26

Showman’s Show Training & recruitment NOEA Classified

Pages 18 & 19 Page 27 Page 28 Pages 29 & 30

CONTACTS EDITORIAL Group Editor Andrew Harrod Tel: 01226 734639 Reporters: Nicola Hyde ( Christina Eccles ( Mary Ferguson (

PRODUCTION Studio Manager: Stewart Holt ( Tel: 01226 734414 Group Deputy Editor: Judith Halkerston ( Tel: 01226 734458 Graphic designer: Kyle Wilkinson ( Tel: 01226 734711

ADVERTISING Group Sales Manager: Paul Allott Tel: 01226 734484 Fax: 01226 734478 Mob: 07917 649402 Email: Assistant Manager: Adam Parry Tel: 01226 734485 Mobile: 07747 446923 Email: Sales Executive: Mandy Mellor Tel: 01226 734702 Email: Sales and Marketing Director: Tony Barry Email:

CIRCULATION Kelly Tarff Tel: 01226 734695 email:

Company of Cyclists is exploring the effectiveness of using pedal power as a form of transport at outdoor events.



Festival organisers must tap into unexplored genres By Christina Eccles

Mendip’s spectacular carnival season begins later this month with Mendip District Council urging local residents to join in. Floats packed with thousands of light bulbs, hundreds of moving parts and dancing performers are the main attraction of the processions which will weave their way through the historic streets of the district. Mendip District Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration coun John Osman said: “Mendip’s spectacular carnival season is unique, and is rated as among the best in the world. It encourages communities to work together to host a fantastic show but also to raise thousands of pounds for charity.”

ORGANISERS wanting to set up a new festival should take advantage of niches in the market which no other event has cashed in on, according to Bestival’s festival director Rob da Bank. According to Rob, the UK’s reputation as a place with a large and diverse music scene means that there are still genres which are largely untapped by the festival market. Rob said: “The beautiful thing about the UK scene is that it has got everything. People have different styles of music and there are still loads of niches out there.” On the back of the success of Bestival, this year Rob launched a new event Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. According to him, what made this festival so successful in its first year was the fact it appealed to a whole new market – parents who wanted to spend the whole day with their children at a family friendly event. He added: “With Camp Bestival

Rob da Bank we thought there was a gap in the market for a family friendly show. There wasn’t an event that focuses on the whole experience

of hanging out with your kids all day. We got into the market just in time and bucked the trend by almost breaking even in the first year.” When starting up a festival, the location of an event can also play an important role in its success. Andy Copping – promoter of the Download Festival – added that part of Download’s success was that people already associated its site in Donington as the home of that genre of music. He added: “People who come to Download see Donington as the home of rock because of the Monsters of Rock being held there.” But he also said that if an event was offering something which fans wanted to see and as long as they can get to the site easily, then there are many choices of location. “Location is important but if you have a good idea and as long as it is a location where the travel arrangements are ok then there is no reason why you can’t set up anywhere.”



Security team is rewarded for decade of crowd control By Louise Cordell AP SECURITY has received an Award for Excellence after a decade of crowd control at the Leeds Festival. The title was awarded by Safeconcerts, who described the security team as ‘the most professional, effective and competent company we have seen in action – the first firm we have seen who we feel have really earned the right to wear that customer protection logo.” Andrew Stevens, APS general manager, believes that the recognition is down to the firm’s ability to build a good relationship with the crowds. He said: “I think a lot of trust is put in pit teams so it is very important that we work with the audience, not

Above: AP Security at Leeds Festival and above, right, Andrew Stevens against them or in spite of them. “We are friendly but professional and we encourage people to come to us if they need to. “Some companies don’t understand the difference between security and crowd safety – it is important that you understand what your role is. “In the worst case scenario you are there to save lives, but most of the time you are there to make sure the crowd have a good time, safely.” According to Andrew the main challenge a safety and security team face at any event is trying to work out what the crowd are going to do in advance. This involves everything from finding out whether guests are likely to be queuing up outside and, if so, get-

ting there early, to making sure that people can leave safely when the event ends. He added: “Knowing about the artist and the show they are putting on is just as important as having a good working knowledge of the venue. “Certain audiences are more likely to run straight for the stage when they get through the doors and we need to be able to predict that so we can make sure they reach the barriers safely. “We also need to know the details of the artist’s performance and whether they will be coming down into the crowd at any point so that we can be prepared.” Andrew also advises event organis-

ers and venue managers to do their research when looking to hire safety and security teams. He recommends taking a detailed look at what kind of training they provide and making sure that they have previous experience of the type of event that is being held. He added: “We place a lot of emphasis on our training and invest a lot of money in getting it right. “This means we are always happy for anyone to come and sit in on the sessions and find out what we do, whether they are clients or not. “We have had everyone from concert organisers to the Met Police coming along to see what we offer and we are very proud of what we’ve achieved.”


Dave Farrow got involved in the Beautiful Days festival after popular band The Levellers decided they wanted to stage their own festival. Christina Eccles found out how it got started and how it has progressed over the years.

Top: a view of the stage and, above, shows some of the other entertainment on offer

How band made festival the cream of Devon PLANS for the first Beautiful Days festival started seven years ago after the Levellers played a festival and decided they could do better themselves. Dave came on board – bringing with him 20 years of experience in the industry. The band had recorded in Devon so chose to stage the event there – and Escot Park has proved an ideal choice. Dave revealed that each year improvements are being made to the event as challenges are overcome. He explained: “The venue has a natural amphitheater and access is good. We always wanted to pick a location which was pleasing to the eye but with it being quite hilly it is not always the easiest of sites to work on. “Over the last six years we have put full plumbing in around the site and each year we are adding things. Because the site is hilly, it can be difficult to service the toilets when it is muddy so we are adding hardcore roads and putting trackway in. Last year was very wet and in certain areas we struggled to service the toilets so this year we put in some roads. “This year the car parks got muddy so we have started to put in plans to deal with this next year. We don’t stop people leaving the site but what contributed to the car park being muddy is people leaving the site on Saturday and coming

back which was chewing the ground up. We have already taken another field for next year so anyone leaving the site will be parked in a different field when they come back so the ground won’t be chewed up. “Every year there is something but the weather really makes you find out about your site.” Dave also revealed how the festival has grown over the years to become the biggest festival in Devon. But after expanding to a crowd of 12,500, he has decided he is happy with keeping the festival this size. He added: “When the festival started it needed 3,500 people to break even in year one. It was very close so we were lucky in the first year that we managed to pull it off. We had the band’s fanbase to draw on and they didn’t play any other festivals that year so we knew we could get that crowd. “The capacity of the event was increased in stages. It started at 3,500, then 5,000, then 6,000, then we did two years at 10,000 and this year it was 12,500. “When the capacity jumped from 6,000 to 10,000 the dynamic of the festival changed so we had to put in a more complicated and elaborate traffic management system.” This year’s festival included performances from acts such as The Levellers themselves, Supergrass and Squeeze.

Beautiful bookers THE Beautiful Days Festival never advertises – proving what useful marketing tools word of mouth and recommendations can be. Dave said that about 90 per cent of the audience are repeat bookers and as the size of the festival has grown, fans have encouraged their friends and families to join them at the event. He added: “We never advertise and just send out a couple of emails to our database which means new people coming are friends of those who have already been. We also have a lot of families coming and about 2,500 children. But this year we have noticed a lot of younger people. Some of the kids who came with their parents in years one and two are now coming back on their own. We have to take this into consideration when booking acts – this year we had Gabriella Cilmi who has a massive appeal.”

Space plans PLANS are already starting to take shape for next year’s festival, with Dave making some changes to improve the event even further. After experiencing rain for the last two years, more areas are going to be added to make it easier for festivalgoers to find shelter. He added: “Next year we are going to start putting in more covered tented areas with benches so that people can take food in and sit down because when it is muddy they cannot sit on the grass. We want to create more of these spaces.”



Moving sites can Local media keep show fresh links can help organisers By Christina Eccles

NICK and Fiona also revealed the challenges and benefits of the event moving around four sites. Nick added: “Moving sites has a lot of logistical challenges – these sites were not designed to host events such as this. “Every estate has a different way of doing things and as we are going to historic venues we are dealing with sensitive issues. “Our job is to build relationships with the venues to take the show forward and maintain and improve it year on year.” But Fiona added that the show moving sites is a positive feature from a marketing point of view as it allows the organisers to try something different. She added: “One of the upsides of the Game Fair moving around is that it offers us the opportunity to throw the whole show up in the air and examine its features, which keeps the show fresh. “We are continuously working on the core of the exhibition and want to keep the enthusiasm year on year. “This keeps visitors coming and allows exhibitors the chance to get new visitors.”

Hosting the event at historical venues such as Blenheim Palace present interesting challenges for the organisers.

FORGING strong relationships with local media can help organisers to deal with some of the challenges involved with their event. According to the CLA Game Fair’s director of marketing Fiona Eastman and head of operations Nick BrooksWard, maintaining close links with the media in all four areas which the show visits allows them to publicise important issues surrounding the event to visitors while helping them to manage potential difficulties such as traffic problems. Nick and Fiona told delegates at the Showman’s Show’s seminars that one of the biggest issues concerning the CLA Game Fair each year is traffic management. But by making sure local media are informed of what is going on, the message can then be given to visitors who are travelling to and from the site. Fiona said: “It is important for organisers to build up relationships with local media – particularly radio which has traffic reports. “If you can manage the reports which are going out there – because you have pre-built these relationships – you can make the media

aware of the traffic management systems in place and hopefully you will manage as best possible the number of visitors you may lose.” Nick also revealed how the show deals with some of its challenges year on year. He added: “The biggest factors inside the showground are water and waste so it is paramount that we concentrate on that. “Outside the showground, the biggest issue is traffic and we are already working with the different police forces and councils involved for next year’s show. “In 2001, we were getting reports of problems with the volume of traffic and we realised that once inside the event we were blind to what was going on outside. So in 2002, we employed an eye in the sky camera and now work with the National Traffic Control centre and the police.” This year the show celebrated its 50th anniversary by smashing attendance figures. A record number of 151,000 visitors attended over the three days – an increase of 13,000 on the previous record.


The theme for this year’s Regent Street Christmas lights is Wish Upon A Star. The lights were switched on on November 6 – transforming Regent Street into a winter wonderland for Christmas shoppers. As one of the capital’s major seasonal tourist attractions, the lights famously kick off the festive season in London’s West End.

Why every event must have unique identity and stand out from the crowd By Christina Eccles FESTIVALS should develop their own unique identity to ensure they stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace, according to T in the Park’s promoter Geoff Ellis. Speaking to delegates at the UK Festival Conference, Geoff said as the festival market continues to grow, the events which will be able to keep drawing in the crowds are those which offer that something extra to their rivals. He said: “All events should have a unique identity. The UK is a small marketplace and there are hundreds of festivals taking place in a small periods in the calendar. If they are not doing some-

thing different then they are not going to be able to get the audience.” Geoff also revealed the process behind setting up T in the Park and his latest venture The Hydro Connect Festival and how organisers made sure it was not offering the same experience as other festivals going on around the same time. He added: “We delivered the pitch for T in the Park as something halfway between Glastonbury and Reading. You should look wherever the gaps are to create a fanbase for your brand – you want people coming back each year. “Having done T in the Park which was going strong, we felt Scotland needed an alternative festival and that there was a market for a quality event with a grass-

roots identity and strong talent. Connect is something different and what I am most proud of there is putting emphasis on audience experience, particularly the food and drink. We have raised the bar for festival catering particularly in Scotland. “This wasn’t something catered for in Scotland and we saw a market for it. We have beautiful countryside and are getting people to come to a ‘destination’ festival.”  What are you doing differently to attract audiences to your event? Send your comments to Christina Eccles, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS or email

Camping sell-out for new firm THE latest solution to traditional camping at festivals has proved to be a sell-out success in its first year. Myhab sold out at six festivals including T in the Park and Latitude – offering festivalgoers an environmentally friendly way of camping at events. Designer and founder James Dunlop said: "Selling out at six festivals was beyond our wildest dreams for our first year of trading. “Our aim is to offer our customers a luxury camping experience, whilst also being ecoaware; and it seems that we have achieved this as our staff have had great feedback from the myhabbers on site.”



Roger helps our heroes With less than a month to plan the Day for Heroes concert, organiser Roger Dudding had to work to a tight timescale. But after pulling off a successful first event, he is determined to be well prepared for next year. Christina Eccles found out more ...

TO headline the concert Roger managed to secure chart topping pop band Mcfly – an act chosen to draw in some younger crowds and introduce them to the Help for Heroes cause. The concert took place at the Detling Show Ground in Kent and about 4,000 people attended. Although Roger said he was slightly disappointed with this and had hoped for 10,000 visitors, he is confident that with more time to plan next year’s event and with this year’s successful one to use to promote it, it will be able to attract up to 25,000 people. The organisers – Your Voice Roadshow – are used to planning roadshows where they tour the country with a mobile recording studio – but moved into the concert market to raise money and awareness to help wounded servicemen and women. Roger revealed the challenges they faced with the event but after having the success of this one behind them, he hopes it may make some things easier for next year. He said: “The main problem when setting up an event for the first time is that you have no track record and trying to get a decent headline act is difficult. “An event dealing with pop music, young people, crowds and alcohol makes local authorities sit back and think but we are very proud of the event. “This is the first time we have managed an event as a promoter and run the event ourselves. It was a huge challenge but we used our own experience and organised the event on a modular basis – by breaking it down into differ-

Mcfly were the headline act at the event which was attended by 4,000 people. ent areas. “But having done it once we now have an event which was a huge success and we also have a lot of support from the military.” A date has already been secured for next year’s event and the planning process is already underway. Roger said the main change for next year is that the concert will be moved from a Sunday to a Saturday. He added: “Bands like Mcfly have a very young following and on Sundays families are getting ready to go back to work or school so we are going to hold the concert on a Saturday next year.”

In the future Roger wants a Day for Heroes to become an annual event and see it extended to other venues across the country. “In this industry you have to earn your spurs. You have to prove to everyone that you are responsible and reliable and reassure the public. I want to make this an event that people want to go to and that they can attend with confidence.” Other artists at the concert included Nik Kershaw, Counterfeit Stones and Ultimate Earth Wind and Fire and there were also funfair rides and military attractions.

Gwyn in live streaming More events go green offer to festival organisers SELLOUT festivals could soon earn extra cash by selling fans who couldn’t get tickets the chance to watch the event live online. Gwyn Smith, managing director of USPmedia.TV, is approaching event organisers with his concept which would see live online video streaming allowing those who cannot attend to watch for a fee. He said: “Live streaming at concerts is a cheap way of getting the event out there as it is a fraction of the cost of putting it on TV – online advertising is the way forward. “For organisers this can act as an extra revenue stream because if people can’t make it to the event, they can go onto the website, securely enter their card details and pay per view. “This could even end up being free if there was enough sponsorship on the page to pay the cost and sponsors could be paid per click.” Gwyn has already offered live streaming using high quality webcams to clients like the London Boat Show, allowing fans to watch the

early preparations of the event. He added: “We can take a live feed from a full sports or music production crew and broadcast live to the website of choice, even providing a secure pay-per-view online login so that people who cannot make it to the event can watch live online.” He is also looking at offering a post event video that visitors could download as a reminder of their visit and future visitors can use to sample the event. Gwyn added: “If somebody wanted to download part of a festival they could pay for this on the website and could text a keyword which would then send them a link to their phone to download the clip. “These videos are also downloadable to mobile phones.”  How are you using new technology to promote your business? Send your comments to Christina Eccles, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS or email her at

MORE winners of the 2008 Greener Festival Awards have been revealed – with another nine UK festivals picking up the award. The independent award is based on a seven part questionnaire and points are awarded to festivals which can show an active plan to promote public transport, reduce on-site waste, recycle and compost wherever possible, re-use water and use sustainable power. Festivals are expected to have a thorough environmental policy and the organisers – – have environmental auditors who visit as many festival sites as possible to assess how festivals implement their plans. In total 23 UK festivals and eight international festivals have won the award. Six festivals have also gained the ultimate accolade of the outstanding award from the organisers including the Waveform and Shambala festivals in the UK and Bonnaroo in the USA. The winning UK festivals are:  The Big Chill  Waveform  Bestival  Summer Sundae Weekender  Shambala  Reading

 Leeds  End of the Road  Hydro Connect A Greener Festival co-founder Claire O'Neill said: “This year, applications for our awards more than doubled and this is fantastic news. More and more festivals are making the effort to go green and adopt environmentally friendly practices. Some festivals are still improving and going through a steep learning curve, others are old hands now who keep improving their green credentials year on year. The UK and international festival scene is now making a concerted effort to be leaders in changing behaviour to protect the environment.” The organisers also congratulated 18 festivals who had won the Green 'n' Clean award from Yourope, the European festivals organisation. A Greener Festival’s Luke Westbury added: “We fully endorse and support Yourope's award and the progress they are making. Across both Europe and the UK we can see significant and positive change. Green n Clean have some fantastic festivals taking part including Denmark's Roskilde, St Gallen Open Air in Swtitzerland, Rheinkultur in Germany, Pinkpop in the Nederlands and Finland's Provinssirock. We salute them.”



The relationship between a festival and its sponsors can prove lucrative for both parties. But why are more brand names moving into the festival market and what can a festival gain from the backing of a famous name? Christina Eccles reports.

BT takes to the water BT’S sponsorship of music and sporting events has been celebrated with an event on the River Thames. Girl band the Sugababes performed on the bow of the yacht as it sailed under Tower Bridge, signifying BT’s sponsorship of the 2008 Isle of Wight Festival. The sporting side was represented by the naming of the BT Open 60 yacht – The Artimis Transat – crewed by Dame Ellen MacArthur, Globe Vendee participant Seb Josse and BT Extreme 40 Skipper Nick Moloney. TAO Productions produced the event providing staging, lighting, sound and artists, with roles including liaising with the Sugababes team to provide for live sound on the yacht. TAO Group’s other companies undertook roles in safety, rescue and medical functions. TAO’s Chris Harvey said: “This is an unusual job for us but we were there to back up the Offshore Challenge and ‘BT Team Ellen’ crews with safety and rescue if needed. “We are more often contracted for fire safety but obviously have the necessary training, equipment and boats for this type of function.” Pictured left: the Sugababes, Dame Ellen MacArthur and TAO water rescue officer Steve Lodge on the safety rib.

‘Green’ festivals could pick up valuable sponsorship By Christina Eccles FESTIVALS which are strong on green issues could earn lucrative sponsorship deals from companies which want to be seen as looking after the environment. According a panel of industry experts – who addressed delegates at the UK Festival Conference – events which prove their green credentials could attract sponsors who are keen to be perceived as environmentally aware.

One festival which is proud of its reputation when it comes to looking after the environment is Download and according to promoter Andy Copping, encouraging things such as recycling and car sharing adds to the appeal of sponsoring the event. He said: “We have taken action to get involved in the green side of things. “There is an enormous amount of waste that can be accumulated at a festival which is quite frightening. We

are taking what steps we can to make the event green, such as car pooling. “Sponsors are also aware of this and it is good for them to be seen to be involved in green issues. “Punters aren’t foolish – they want to be part of an event that is doing good for the environment.” T in the Park’s promoter Geoff Ellis also said the being seen to be environmentally aware is a positive for the festival. He added: “We are getting there in the UK and attitudes are changing.

The audience response to issues such as recycling is great. “At Hydro Connect we used pedal powered showers and are making people think a bit more about taking care of the environment.”  How are you managing to secure sponsorship at your event? Do you think the credit crunch will make it more difficult next year? Send your views to Christina Eccles, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS or email at

How brands can own their own events By Ian Irving, sales and marketing director, Sledge

Ian Irving

THERE are many brands that gain from their involvement in the festival circuit but today’s festival audience is more demanding and getting more and more savvy to why brands are there. It’s not enough for a brand to simply just be there: To create real brand advocacy they have to enhance the experience – not detract from it. The price for a brand to be involved in a festival is increasing: Festival organisers are under increasing pressure when it comes to profit and ROI and there are a number of new factors coming into play, such as their desire to be more friendly to the environment and be more organic or healthy when catering their audiences. In my opinion the way forward is for brands to cut out promoters and put their money into their own events. Why settle for being one of

many when you can be master (and owner) of one? The fact that there appears to be over 400 festivals in the calendar does not seem to be deterring neither the acts nor the audiences so why not take the punt and put your cash into your own event? We are currently dealing with three new clients who have seen the success of the innocent Village Fete and are investing in new stand-alone properties – and with the music industry so up in the air at the moment there has never been a better time to negotiate with artists and labels. One of the key advantages to this model of event is of course content ownership. If you own the content your ROI will increase as you broaden your reach through other marketing channels. Several advancements have made it easier for brands to own their own

events: It is undeniable that the UK is home to some of the most professional, creative and capable event agencies in the world so it is easier than ever for a company to put its complete trust in an agency to deliver an experience truly worthy of their brand. The managers of public spaces (such as The Royal Parks Trust) are more professional than ever before too and work with organisers to maximise the use of these spaces in the key event periods. Audiences are more marketing savvy than ever before and are becoming immune to traditional advertising, so clever brands are creating more effective ways of communicating and engaging with them. Owning a festival gives the opportunity to really bring a brand to life and immerse an audience in it for a day – what more could any brand want?




Firework risk must be recognised

Insurance can save events

ORGANISERS need to be aware of the risks which having fireworks at an event can carry and make sure their insurance reflects this, an expert has warned. According to insurance specialists Hiscox, fireworks are increasingly popular for celebratory occasions, and are now widely used throughout the events industry all through the year. Potentially, this means that more people are at risk of injury from them and any event involving fireworks should undergo a thorough risk assessment. Stray fireworks, bonfires, sparklers and the safety of the display team and audience are just a few examples of risks to consider, as they pose potential hazards, all of which can be insured against. Public liability expert John Heaney said: “The organisers of any event will be fully aware that one of their key priorities is to minimise the risk of injury at their function, especially those that involve fireworks. It is normal for the organiser to be asked to provide proof of public liability insurance for any event, let alone those that involve fireworks. As the current economic climate dictates many changes for businesses, it is crucial for us that health and safety is one of the areas not to cut corners on. Governing bodies of public spaces are imposing stricter requirements for more and more organisers to adhere to, with public liability insurance being top of the list. Hiscox offers a bespoke product to suit each individual customer and their requirements, and policies can be tailored accordingly.”

LARGER Events like the RAF Fairford show mentioned in the last issue are more likely to have a level of understanding and awareness to make an informed decision on their insurance policies. Smaller one-off event organisers however are often unaware of the existence of cancellation insurance and the full benefits that it can provide. The insurance industry insures thousands of smaller events including private and corporate occasions, but only a small percentage of those that take place. To smaller organisers the loss of any sum of money is just as daunting as a big loss to a professional. The awareness of their ability to protect against this is and the understanding of what the cover includes or excludes is a major barrier to purchase. David Boyle, account executive at Event Insurer Worldwide Special Risks tells us: “Cancellation insurance has generally been popular among informed professional event organis-

ers who know all too well what the cost of not insuring can be. The profile of recent bad weather has brought this type of insurance into the wider spotlight and it has also served to prove the worthiness of the investment. “We try to help our clients to highlight the scenarios that could put their event at risk and consider how they would deal with such a situation. “Cancellation insurance is not just about reimbursing for a lost event. An experienced insurer and specialist Loss Adjuster will often enable events, that at one point seemed doomed, to go ahead. Working with the adjuster as soon as the chance of a cancellation becomes evident can often save the event. “For example the use of matting to improve wet underground conditions. “The additional costs are usually bourn by the insurer, who will be pleased to prevent a total loss when the event is able to continue. Many

David Boyle clients would not be aware of this key benefit until its too late.” Anything that can be done to highlight the real benefits of cancellation insurance can only aid both the event and insurance industry. Getting professional advice and receiving the right cover at the right time and cost should be at the top of any event plan.

New site launched for events industry THE managing director of Clarity Event Insurance has launched a new online resource for the events industry – Paul Cook has launched the site to focus on the provision of education, hints, tips and information.

It already includes a wide variety of information and insight from contributors across the international events industry. Paul said: “During my career in the industry I have seen so many people offer great advice to others, only to have that advice used just

once by the recipient. “A site like this ensures great ideas are recycled and made available to everyone helping us all learn from each other and get the most out of our industry relationships and knowledge.”



With the number of UK festivals reaching an all-time high, getting information about your event out there can be tricky. In a special report, Christina Eccles found out how events which market themselves effectively will reap the rewards.

Transform an event with a marketing campaign MAKING sure people know about your event is an essential part of the organising process and something which can be achieved through successful marketing. The Birmingham International Jazz festival is one example of an event which has been transformed through a new marketing campaign – thanks to Fireloop Creative. The company came on board with the festival in 2007 after the existing sponsor pulled its funding, making all the old branding irrelevant. As the festival organisers also run an independent record label, director Dave Evans took advantage of its extensive archive of jazz related images by using them to rebrand signage, posters and other promotional material. A festival website was also created and this was the main focus for development this year. According to Dave, online marketing is becoming an increasingly important tool as more people look towards the internet not only to find information but also to interact with each other. He said: “The internet is very important as it provides people with instant access to the event. People are now going online for more than

information and want to be part of a community. We looked at how people are using the internet and tapped into the popularity of social networking. “The benefits to the festival are that it raises the profile and awareness of the event and allows us to get the word out via different means and talk to a new audience.” Festival director Jim Simpson added: “The Internet has changed the music industry and we need to embrace the technologies of tomorrow to encourage more visitors to events like the Birmingham Jazz Festival. It’s not just those with youth on their side either, there’s a wide demographic of middle-aged and older music fans who are embracing the web too, it’s all about access and exposure.” Dave also revealed the importance of successful marketing and how having an online presence can allow festivals and events to engage with visitors all year round and not just when the festival is on. He added: “Marketing is incredibly important – it is all about blanket coverage, covering all bases and then monitoring the activity to make sure it is working. The great thing about events is that they are ongoing so

Firebrand makes its mark A NEW way of purchasing merchandise at festivals and events which allows visitors to bring their own clothing to be stamped with official logos has been created by Firebrand Live. The idea is already being used on The Streets tour where Firebrand has taken its printing press so that fans can have their own items stamped with the band’s logo. At a cost of £5 this means fans can take

something away with them while beating the credit crunch. Firebrand Live’s MD Neil Boote said: “It’s a joy working with artists who want to challenge merchandising conventions. Firebrand has always regarded merchandise as a marketing tool as well as a commercial exercise and – literally hot off the press – this is a perfect example of our philosophy in action.”

Don’t be afraid to change marketing methods REGULARLY evaluating marketing strategies is important to establish if something is working for you, an expert has revealed. Anthony Tattum – marketing manager for Birmingham venue Custard Factory Spaces – said it is important to explore new ways of marketing and if a method is not achieving results, do not be afraid to change it. He said: “It’s no good just relying on the traditional routes to market like print and outdoor media. You’ve got

to be on the ball and maximise new media developments. “You have got to be diverse and you’ve also got to know when something is not working and adapt your approach. “We are constantly testing and evaluating each new marketing strategy’s redemption. “It doesn’t matter how many people tell you something is the next big thing, if it’s not working for you then put it down and try something else.”

you can market from year to year and maintain interest even when the festival is not on.” However CEO of IGMarketing Nuno Machado Lopes warned that businesses will only get the benefit of digital marketing if their websites are useful and allow visitors to easily access what they are looking for. He told delegates at Event UK that the function of a successful website is to enable customers to get what they want from the site and then leave – the amount of time spent on them is not important. He said: “Think about web pages – your primary online asset is your webpage. People go there to find out information so you want them to stay on there for as long as they need to be on there. Website functions do not matter – the relevance of a website is content not publicity and the community

Dave Evans defines that so use the most relevant information to them.”




Events organised by local authorities can range from summer galas to bonfire night firework displays – all of which enhance community life. In the first of a regular feature, Christina Eccles spoke to Carlisle City Council’s community events manager Gill Burns to discover the ups and downs of working for a local authority.

Events ‘allow us to celebrate the area we live in’ ... GILL has worked for the council for over 18 years and in that time has seen many changes in the industry. According to Gill, having a job in events is now more valued than it used to be as people realise the benefits which a successful event can bring to communities. The challenges have also increased as visitor expectations have grown but this has not always been matched by an increase in budget. Gill said: “Working in events is an industry now. When I first started it wasn’t taken very seriously. Now it is a more serious concept. When people go to fireworks displays or concerts they expect more than they did 20 years ago. “Health and safety has also changed hugely so I make sure I go on training courses to keep up to date with legislation. “Events benefit the community and enhance a city. They also show the more positive side of local authorities and allow us to celebrate the area we live in.” Gill’s career in the events industry began as an events assistant on the Carlisle and Border Great Fair and from there she moved to work firstly in the council’s tourism department and then into leisure. Her role as community events manager involves her putting on events which can be enjoyed by the people of Carlisle – the biggest of these being the Bonfire Night Fireshow which can attract 35,000 people, making it one of the biggest in the country.

For her, working on local authority events can be both challenging and rewarding as she enjoys seeing something put back into the local community but it is not always easy to secure the support and sponsorship to make this possible. She added: “As a local authority we are answerable to the people we are serving. Events are about enhancing the community but not wasting money. But we can’t put these events on without help so we look for sponsorship. “Carlisle is quite isolated geographically and not an industrial city so we tend to target the same people. Events are a really good way for social inclusion and forming partnerships with the people you live with is a good way to get them included But they have to be appropriate for the event, for example the Fire and Rescue Service is sponsoring the Fireshow.” Gill also said another challenge she faces is the unpredictable British weather. The combination of bad weather and an outdoor event doesn’t always guarantee good attendance and according to Gill, it can be hard putting a lot of work into an event to watch it suffer because of the rain. She added: “We have never had to cancel an event but because they are free, if the weather is bad then people may not come. You can watch six months of work go down the drain because people haven’t turned up. “But we always get a good return with the Fireshow and know people

Gill Burns enjoy it. It is the least advertised event we do but people know about it because of word of mouth. “We get a lot of repeat visitors.” As well the Fire Show, Gill is also responsible for the organisation of several other large scale community events. These include:  A two-day horticultural spring

show.  A local gala attracting 4,000 people.  A multicultural festival. Another part of Gill’s job is an advisory and training role. For anything which comes to the city and contains an events element, she works in partnership with the other involved parties to assist with any logistical issues.

Big names for Carlisle THE City Council also had a part in creating Carlisle’s biggest music event – a concert which has attracted some of the biggest names in pop music including Westlife, pictured left, Boyzone and Mcfly. The event – now called Carlisle Live – started life after the city had hosted Radio One’s One Big Sunday and realised it was a market they could become more heavily involved in. Gill said: “After we had One Big Sunday in Carlisle, we realised logistically that we were able to do this kind of event. We did Pop2thepark for three years but didn’t have the funding to carry on so the event was taken over by local businessman Andrew Tinkler.” Gill also had a minimal role in this year’s event. As it is held on council parkland, her knowledge of the area was a useful tool for the organisers.



Fireshow favourite takes months of planning for Gill By Christina Eccles THE highlight of Carlisle City Council’s events programme is the Bonfire Night spectacular – The Fireshow. The event takes place every year on the nearest Saturday before Bonfire Night and can attract over 35,000 people to the city’s Bitts Park. Although the council is very proud of the record which the events holds for having no incidents relating to the fireworks or bonfire, health and safety is still a vital area to get right. Gill said: “Health and safety is paramount. We try to cover every aspect and look at everything. If the police, fire and ambulance are happy we know we are going in the right direction.

“We have got to make sure we are doing everything right. “After working with the same people over the years we have formed positive working relationships with them.” Gill also revealed the planning process behind the event, which includes meeting with key suppliers in the summer to get the ball rolling for the event in November and choosing the theme which changes each year. She added: “We start doing the Fireshow about July when we contact suppliers. “In September we look at securing things such as first aid, staffing and stewards. “Every year the event has a theme and this year it is cars. In past years

we have done things such as the Wild West and a celebration of 150 years of Carlisle Railway Station. “This year is the 22nd year of the event and when deciding on a theme we try to come up with something which is relative to Carlisle or nationally. I like to be well organised so if something does need to be done there is time to play with. “The Fireshow is my favourite event to work on. “However bad the weather is we still get good attendance and know we have put something on which people have enjoyed. “We want everyone to go home from an event happy and with the Fireshow, even if the weather is rubbish it still feels like it is worth doing.”

Over the last 22 years, the Fireshow has grown rapidly into one of the UK’s biggest and best loved bonfire night events. The free event can attract in excess of 35,000 but the police are brought in to estimate crowd numbers so the organisers can put in place appropriate health and safety measures. Gill added: “When the event first started in 1987, we expected about 200 people but got 2,000. The park can stand 60,000 so there is always enough room for people to move and the crowds are comfortably spread out. “Also for health and safety, the fire is hollow so it drops within 20 minutes. Although, about 1000 pallets and wood are used, we only use pure timber.”




Blythin and Brown have more than 20 years’ expertise providing a specialist policy cover for marquee and equipment hirers. Here, experts from the company explore Legal Liability and other risks faced by event organisers and what can be done to reduce their impact.

Insurance overview THE following provides a brief overview of insurance products provided by specialist Event Insurers, such as Hiscox: A flexible approach – you choose what you need from:  Cancellation insurance – Insurers will pay you up to the limit of indemnity for your irrecoverable expenses and your loss of net profit if applicable in the event of the necessary cancellation, abandonment, curtailment or postponement of your insured event due to any insured cause beyond your control  Cancellation following terrorism is covered up to £100,000 for your event  Physical loss or damage to your property and property for which you are responsible whilst at your insured event or whilst in transit  Public liability – Insurers will indemnify you for all sums which you are legally liable to pay for claims made against you for accidental bodily injury or loss of or damage to property in the course of an insured event based in Europe.  If you purchase public liability you can also purchase employers’ liability £10m - your legal liability to your own and casual staff is covered for the event. Additional covers available upon request:  Adverse weather for outdoor events (in the open or in a temporary structure)  Interruption cover for teleconferencing - available for picture, audio or data image communication links  Non-appearance of key persons – if your event is dependent in whole or part on key speakers, celebrities or entertainers  Increased limits for terrorism cover  Travel insurance  Money insurance. Event Insurance cover is based on a suite of insurance products specifically designed to meet event organisers’ particular needs. The suite is built around three core products – Cancellation and Abandonment, Property Damage and Legal Liability.

‘Event organisers are in the first line of fire if anything goes wrong’ BY 2013 the number of personal injury claims in the UK is predicted to reach over 750,000. The developing ‘claims culture’ is borne out of changes to the legal process that made it easier for claimants to bring these claims and the resulting proliferation of ‘No-win No-fee’ solicitors who took advantage of the changes to grow their businesses. The underlying principal of these liabilities is an age old social requirement to take care of those around us and their property. Injury claims are brought to court in hindsight, where it is easier to see fault on the “balance of probabilities” required by law. Event organiser’s legal liabilities As an event organiser, you are in the first line of fire if anything goes wrong. Claimant’s solicitors will direct litigation at the easiest target. An event organiser will often be the target because they have directly breached legislation such as the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 or the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The event organiser must rely on another party being negligent to pass on that liability. Financial losses Another source of Legal Liability against event organisers is their contractual obligations to parties such as venue owners, advertisers, performers and ticket holders. Should the event fail to run as anticipated then penalties and refunds can be incurred under written or informal contracts. Financial costs of the failure of an event can be much more direct, for example non-refundable deposits, purchases made and loss of profits. Financial losses may arise through any number of unusual reasons leading to the failure of an event. Some examples are:  Fire Damage to Venues  Health & Safety Executive Investigations  Adverse Weather  Industrial Action  Local Authority Action  National Mourning  Terrorist Attacks

Commercial division manager Paul Evans Property risks Events naturally involve a substantial amount of infrastructure and furniture, temporary buildings, toilets and generation equipment, cafeterias, kiosks and signage – the list is endless. When owned by the event organiser or hired-in, this property is the responsibility of the event organiser if damaged. The diversity of property at events, the complex ownerships and the specialist nature of repairs and replacement make this a difficult risk for event organisers to self insure. More exotic risks The nature of events can give rise to some more exotic risks of failure. One key area is that of non-appearance of artists. The failure of a key artist to appear at an event will lead to claims for refunds from the likes of ticket holders, exhibitors and advertisers. Force Majeure, meaning a circumstance beyond your control, is often used to describe the set of all these exotic risks, any of which can lead to the cancellation, curtailment, postponement or abandonment of the event. Risk management Managing the risks associated with running an event has a host of benefits. The costs of poor risk management are both direct and indirect in nature, ranging from claims for Legal

Liability to loss of reputation. Through good risk management event organisers will obtain long term benefits to their businesses such as consistently lower Insurance Premium costs and the successful running of events will bring repeat business and increased attendances. Although thorough risk management demands a great deal of thought and planning, a few basic considerations can help any event organiser improve their business model:  Start risk management at the earliest stages of planning the event.  Avoid the impact of ‘force Majeure’ circumstances by making contingency plans.  Do not overlook the travel and accommodation requirements of your attendees, investigate alternative arrangements.  Produce a written Health & Safety Policy Document for the event, undertake and document risk assessments to identify hazards, assess the likelihood and consequence of those hazards causing injury and control measures you have put in place.  Hold a prior run through of emergency evacuation and safety plans so your staff are fully aware of the procedures they will need to follow.  Check sub-contractors and event logistics providers carry Public Liability Insurance; you might want to pass on a claim if an injury results from their Negligence. If sub-contractors are running an activity or demonstration, ensure they have undertaken their own risk assessments. Getting Insurance Take early advice from a specialist Insurance broker who understands the risks of event organisation and can arrange appropriate insurance cover. Remember that in order to keep premiums low insurance is best used to protect the unforeseen and catastrophic risks. Event organisers who provide detail of thorough risk management plans can expect to be rewarded with further discounts on their insurance premiums and broad insurance cover.

Tailor-made package for firms supplying to outdoor events MARQUEE and Equipment Hire is a tailor-made coverage designed to meet the requirements of businesses supplying their equipment to outdoor events anywhere in the UK.  All risks of loss or damage to marquees and associated equipment.  Cover whilst property is on-hire at customers’ premises  Cover for goods held in trust such

as hired in equipment.  Protection whilst equipment is in transit to and from events  Full theft cover as standard  Full storm cover as standard  New replacement cover on marquees and equipment less than one year old.  Business interruption on loss of gross revenue basis.

 Cover for buildings, contents and other interests at hirer’s business premises  Covers Legal Liability for bodily injury, disease or property damage from all activities including erection and dismantling.  Employers Liability including use of temporary staff and agency workers.

 Standard Limits of Indemnity up to £ 10,000,000 any one occurrence  Increased Limits of Indemnity available on request  Wide description of covered activities  Use of Subcontractors included  Full Products Liability Extension  Damage to Underground Services included.




Lightmedia makes a splash with latest range ESTABLISHED in 1998, Lightmedia Displays have launched their latest range of LED outdoor and indoor rental screens, encompassing mobile screens ranging in size from six square metres to 45 square metres. We also have one of our small, quick deploy, broadcast units fitted with everything you require to make your live event a runaway success. Lightmedia Displays Ltd has a first class reputation as one of the world leaders in big screen technology, for both LED screen rental and sales. We provide screens to many of the most prestigious events around the world, from the BBC’s coverage of the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, Cup of Nations in Ghana, to Live 8 and sporting events too numerous to list. Our team have a wide range of experience in the live events industry. We provide a highly professional

service at the most competitive price available. We provide a turnkey operation including cameras and a full production unit. To further enhance your event, we have a diverse range of advertising solutions from screen edge banners to full unit livery and a wide range of visual effects such incorporating clients logos or corporate messages on the screen, all designed to deliver impact to your event. Lightmedia offer a full range of supporting services for both our rental LED rental as well as our permanently installed screens, meaning that we can offer you a complete solution, whatever your requirements. Our website is updated regularly with the latest projects and events which we have completed and contains a wealth of information regarding the products and services we offer.

Mike reveals safety secrets of success THE complex area of health and safety was just one of the topics addressed at the Showman’s Show’s seminars – which took place on the first day of this year’s show. The seminars provided the opportunity to learn from several events industry professionals including MD of The Event Safety Shop Mike Richmond. Mike revealed the main issues surrounding health and safety at major events and revealed the secrets of his successes at festivals including Glastonbury. He told delegates how the company managed to turn around the fortunes of Glastonbury to make it an event which prides itself on health and safety Mike said: “Our involvement in Glastonbury started with the production element and we were initially asked to get involved with health and safety to undertake a health and safety review of the site. We are not classed as safety officers but our ethos is to handhold through the process like safety advisors.

“Our requirement was to look at the safety culture in place at the event. The impression was that Glastonbury was like the Wild West but now it isn’t like that. “Glastonbury is now one of the best perceived safety cultures and that is down to a co-ordinated effort. We are involved for the full 12 months of the year – it starts again as soon as the event stops. For any event, start at the outset. Glastonbury should be commended for bringing us in for the full 12 months of the year.” Mike also said how new legislation including the smoking ban affected the festival. He added: “There was a slight concern from the enforcement authorities that people would be smoking. A smoking compliance officer was brought in and we had 100 per cent compliance. People have got used to the fact they cannot smoke in a venue. But Glastonbury has an international audience so it can be difficult to make these visitors to events aware of the legislation in this country they should adhere to.”

Event and venue branding specialists Sunbaba celebrated 10 years in the events industry at the show. Throughout the last 10 years, the company has taken a proactive approach to finding greener solutions for branding. Sunbaba’s most recent projects have included work on The Innocent Village Fete, The Lovebox London Weekender, The Red Bull Flugtag and The Brit Oval’s perimeter fencing.


‘Two bin’ interest at show EXHIBITING at the Showman’s Show for the third year running, Grundon Waste Management was once again pleased with the level of interest shown by event organisers in its 'Two Bin’ recycling system. The simple and proven arrangement results in a clean, simple to use and easily managed site. Mixed recyclables comprising paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles are placed in one container ready for collection and recycling, whilst a second container takes the remaining general waste. This was also the third year in which Grundon had serviced the Showman’s Show, providing and emptying a range of skips, front end loader and rolonof containers. Grundon has been servicing some of the most prestigious events in the

UK’s social and sporting calendars for many years. These include Cartier International Polo, Formula 1 TM Santander British Grand Prix, Henley Royal Regatta, The Championships, Wimbledon and this year for the first time, the CLA Game Fair. Operating across the south of England, the company provides the full range of waste collection and recycling services, using highly manoeuvrable waste wheeler containers, rolonofs, skips, compactors or tankers as appropriate. Available throughout the year including weekends, Grundon services indoor and outdoor events of every size and type, from corporate functions, exhibitions and sporting events to festivals, agricultural shows and village fetes.





Over half a million people attended the first Winter Wonderland event which took place in Hyde Park last year. But how do the organisers transform one of London’s most popular open spaces into a spectacle including such diverse elements as fairground rides and an observation wheel? Christina Eccles reports.

Adding the ice to Wonderland

Features of the event include a fairground and observation wheel.

ORGANISERS PWR Events are best known for their work bringing temporary ice rinks to some of London’s biggest attractions including the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kew Gardens. For them, creating Winter Wonderland was a natural extension of what they had already been doing with the ice rinks but involved adding more elements to turn it into a large scale event. The event is open from 10am to 10pm for six weeks, only closing on Christmas Day, and this year it is hoped 600,000-700,000 visitors will attend. One of the event’s main-selling points is that it is free to enter and with attractions such as the ice rink, observation wheel, German market and fairground rides, has enough to keep visitors of all ages entertained. According to PWR Events’ director Jamie Wells, part of what makes the event unique is the fact that it features a lot of stand alone attractions in themselves so to have them all in one place is something not often seen in the UK. However, getting them all into the venue is not without its challenges. Jamie explained: “The observation wheel is unique at this type of event and is over 180 feet high with fantastic views over the whole of London. We bring that in in 28 40 foot shipping containers and it is the centre piece of the event. “We have also gone across to Germany where they build very large attractions – more like what you see in a theme park than at a fun fair – which are stand alone attractions at the event in themselves. “These include a very large haunted house which is 10-15 times bigger than a normal one and a huge mirror maze fun house which comes in 15 trailers. “Getting these in is a matter of the production team co-ordinating and finding out

Jamie Wells all the requirements, when the items are arriving and what sort of transport will be used. There is also the issue of storage as there are about 120 containers used to ship things in which are not actually used during the event, so they also need to be taken off site. “It is a big logistical exercise but worthwhile as having these things makes the event more permanent rather than something which is there for just a few weeks. “It has a 12-day build with 45-50 individual contractors working on it and because the site is over half a mile in size, we divide it up and treat each one as a separate event. “Hyde Park is an incredibly important open space so we want to keep access open to the public for as much time as possible.” This year’s event will be made bigger with the extension of the German market and will run from November 22 to January 4.



This year’s 27th Lincoln Christmas Market will be organiser Louise Robinson’s eighth and last. Dominic Musgrave spoke with her ahead of the event.

Louise gets thousands safely to market ... THE annual event has grown to become the largest of its type in Europe, attracting more than 180,000 people last year over the four days. It takes Louise and her small team of four at the city council 10 days to put the market together and five to strip down, and planning is already well under way for the 2009 event. “It is a year round planning cycle and we are already pencilling stuff in for 2009 now,” said Louise. “This year we have a number of new stalls and have expanded the regional and local produce section so that it covers the whole of the Lawn’s village green.

Contractors’ list TSS Events – security and safety stewards Event Safe – coach bookings ARB Picadilly – PA system 900 Communications – radio Prima Hire – temporary flooring CPS – staging East Midlands Ambulance Service with St John’s Ambulance – First Aid A-Plant – generators AT Event Services – barriers Transportation partner – PC Coaches Wells and Sons – marquees

Louise Robinson

“We have also moved the entertainment stage and have expanded the programme and have made various other changes in response to the bad weather we had last year.” The event costs the council more than £500,000 each year to put on, and Louise says that one of the biggest changes she has seen over recent years has been the emphasis placed on health and safety. “It is now even more important than ever before,” she added. “We have had to react to the heavy rain and high winds we had last year by putting in some new systems, and

the police charges have also increased dramatically over the last three or four years.” One of the largest issues facing Louise during the event is getting people safely in and out of the city. More than 10,000 cars and 900 coaches are expected, and a temporary park and ride system is put in place for the four days. “It is a big operation but thankfully it has run pretty smoothly over the past few years,” she added. “So much so that we have had various police organisations coming to look at how we park our coaches and manage the

system.” Many of the roads in the city itself are closed during the event, meaning looking after local residents and making sure they can get in and out of their homes is also of vital importance. “We are not too popular when we close the roads but we try and keep residents informed by hand delivering 5,000 newsletters to homes that will be affected,” she added. “We also issue them with access passes which allows them to get into the streets and into their homes with little fuss.”

The Christmas party at one of London’s biggest shopping streets attracts over 12,000 visitors every year. Reporter Nicola Hyde speaks to its organisers to discover how it’s planned.

The name’s Bond ... Bond Noel ... THE Bond Street Association – which represents the shops and businesses in the area – used to have a summer event called Bond Night, that ran in conjunction with the Evening Standard. Organiser Penny Kennedy-Scott said: “It was very well liked but then we thought we needed a change and so we moved the event to Christmas – which is a very important time of year for the street. “Our Christmas event started off quite small but it grew over the years and became what it is today, Bond Noel. It started out as an awareness exercise – but is now our big event of the year.” Over the years Bond Noel has stuck to a tried and tested formula. It has a celebrity guest to do the light switch on, and it sticks to a ‘quality Christmas’ theme. Organisers expect between 12 15,000 visitors and the entertainment is spread across the mile long stretch. Penny added: “We have to make sure we put on a show that is big enough for the whole street. Everything has to be very carefully placed. “We encourage the shops to do their bit as well, offer in house activities to support the party and maximise their benefits. “We really stick to the quality Christmas theme but each year we have to add something new to make sure it is not staid.”

This year, the event is having pyrotechnics for the first time and lightwalkers. Carol singers, Christmas trees, entertainers and stalls are also brought in. Bond Street is closed to traffic for the party for three hours - which Penny says has its problems. She said: “We have a traffic manager do us an assessment as we have to get permission to close the street while being careful not to disrupt things too much. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it does get more difficult each year as there is new health and safety rules all the time and we have to cover all bases.” Penny starts organising the November event in February and says a big challenge is convincing the offices above the stores - which get no monetary benefit from the event - to help out. She said: “The snow is a challenge because we have to get the offices to help. I have to persuade them to have somebody there while really late, when they are usually closed, because each snow machine not only has to come out of the offices but also has to have an operator. “We have 30 machines and a bus load of them come in from Gloucestershire so someone has to let them in and out again.” Last year, two days before the event, Penny discovered that DEFRA had closed the area to livestock and the reindeers were not

Above: Bond Noel attracts thousands of visitors. Far left: organiser Penny KennedyScott and, left, celebrities like Sophie Dahl attend.

allowed to be brought in. She added: “We had to quickly come up with something else and so we ended up in John Lewis buying 30 little mini reindeer outfits. We invited a local primary school to come and sing carols for us instead and it went down really well.” Penny says her biggest challenge is the weather. She added: “We really have the horror of being at the

mercy of the weather. “If the temperature drops below four degrees, we can’t have the snow because it can form an ice sheet which is a health and safety risk. “If it’s icy or wet, we won’t be able to have stilt walkers. “The fireworks are being set off from the roof of Ralph Lauren and Asprey but the wind conditions have to be right.”




Developing technology keeps crowds coming back

Let there be light ... HSL supplied all lighting equipment and crew to Loudsound Productions for Fatboy Slim’s Beach Boutique Four event, which saw the legendary DJ deliver an awesome homecoming performance for 20,000 fans on Brighton Beach last weekend. In creative terms, Fatboy's shows always require degrees of busking, improvisation and going with the rhythm and flow of the moment. He built an eclectic selection of palettes

filled with big ravey, dancey looks, the ethos behind the operation always being that the energy coming offstage should be transferred to the audience via lighting and visuals. The lighting design was based on maximising the feeling of available space and adding to the perception of stage width with four drop truss ‘wings’ outrigged each side of the front stage support towers. Starting at

the top, these measured 15, 12, 10 and eight feet respectively and were equidistantly spaced at five feet intervals. Beach Boutique Four was project managed for HSL by Mike Oates. He said: "It was great to be working with the Loudsound team again including Lee Charteris (event and Fatboy production manager) and John Gray (stage manager).”

KEEPING up to date with developments in technology can keep the crowds returning to an event year on year, it has been claimed. According to Bestival’s festival director Rob da Bank it is important to keep open regular lines of communication with customers to discover what they want to see at the event and a good way to do this is through websites and online forums. He said that Bestival’s online community is a vital part of the event as keeping up with what the fans want allows organisers to implement changes accordingly. He said: “The forum on our website is busy all year round. I go on it myself and one of the first things I do when the festival ends is monitor the forum – a lot of important points come out of it.” The festival takes place at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight and 3,000 early bird tickets for next year have already sold out. This year’s event included performances from Amy Winehouse, Alphabeat, Grace Jones and Hot Chip.



Festival site proves a challenge Advertiser’s announcement IN Focus Communications and Vision have successfully completed a fully wireless CCTV, Internet and telecommunications installation at the music festival Bestival. Our aim was to promote our new systems and equipment for temporary installs and provide a high standard of service for the event. The festival – held on the Isle of Wight – runs over four days with multiple stages and activities. The show is located in the grounds of Robin Hill Country Park and was one of our most challenging events to install due to the geographical nature of the site. This site is based within a narrow valley, surrounded with many kinds of obstacles that had to be overcome including major land gradients, large populations of trees and overhead power lines. We installed our full range of services at this site including:  Secure Wireless CCTV System  Internet connections for end users  Broadcasting and a range of different telecommunications (Phones). These systems were installing for a period of just under three weeks to make sure organisers and site services could build the site as if working within a normal office

environment, but in a remote location. CCTV System The CCTV system we installed is a fully IP based system on a secure closed IP network controlled from the Emergency Liaison Team behind the main stage. The system was displayed on a projector in this control room rather than Plasma or LCD screens due to the space in the control room. In total there were seven Pan Tilt Zoom Dome cameras, placed as intervals from one end of the site to the other, maximising the view coverage and enabling services and organisers to see first hand incidents and crowd movement as it happened in real time, this dramatically reduces all response times and enables problems to be seen and rectified before they happen. Internet Systems This show was run solely with the use of VSat (satellite ADSL) and 3G mobile data cards to provide internet connections to all users and devices. Internet users and devices ranged between email, web surfing, press picture uploads and streaming feeds for Bestival radio. This was all managed with a Gigabit switch backbone into dedicated 54Mbps and 108 Mbps point to point and point to multipoint wireless mod-

ules. In total we had just over 90 PC/laptop users and 30 other devices uploading and downloading information as well as 30 Sip telephone handsets round the site. Telecommunications (Phones) We have been using Sip and VoIP phones for a few years now but this event was very important to us because they all were linked through a satellite system back to our phone system across the internet, the phone system was located back on the mainland. We use a very simple handset of high sound quality for ease of use to the end user, they also do all the fancy stuff you would expect from a Sip phone but without the buttons to confuse users and would be remotely configured as each user needed from the phone system. The call quality is comparable to BT PSTN lines and our main achievement was making this happen by reducing the latency or lag from the phones through the VSat to the phone system. The phones were ultimately running through the VSat but also each area was linked to the Satellite by a dedicated wireless module that carried all the voice data traffic. This system was used to deliver phones to remote box offices, welfare points, organiser’s offices and local emergency service round the The festival – held on the Isle of Wight – runs over four days with multiple stages and activities site and many more.




The combination of winter sports and music works well for visitors.

Strong winds prove snow joke for sporty music festival ... By Christina Eccles A NEW festival which combines the traditional elements of a music festival with the growing popularity of winter sports has taken place against the iconic backdrop of London’s Battersea Power Station. Freesports on 4 Freeze – sponsored by LG – included the world’s best skiers and snowboarders in competition on a 35m high real snow slope and a music stage which included performances from Cypress Hill, The Enemy and The Automatic. But the first year of the event was not without its last-minute hitches – with the organisers having to overcome a challenge before it had even started thanks to the ever unpredictable British weather. The snow was due to be built on the Thursday – the day before the event started – but strong winds meant that was unable to happen. James Rodd from organisers Sports Vision explained: “Thursday night brought strong winds which meant we could not produce snow until early Friday morning rather than the previous night. “We were supposed to start the competition at 10am but this meant it didn’t actually start until 2.30pm. “This meant a change in schedules and a straight run through the entire ski event with no breaks between practice, qualifying and the finals. “We also had some issues with the snow. We ordered over the recommended amount of liquid nitrogen, used for making it, yet adverse weather conditions including strong winds driving warm rain caused the snow to melt faster than expected.

‘It was a huge success and we are extremely pleased. Saturday night sold out which is great for a start up event’ This meant a change in format for the British Comp on Sunday which was a shame. This was a lesson for next year.” Sports Vision also organises the Rip Curl Boardmasters Event in Cornwall – a festival also combining sport and music but had noticed a gap in the market for an event which reflects the growing popularity of winter sports. James added: “This is an event we have been thinking about for a few years now as we noticed a gap in the market but this year we decided to go for it and make it happen. “We looked at a few venues and we knew we wanted it to be in London. There is a big skiing and snowboarding following in the UK and we chose Battersea Power Station as the backdrop for the event because it is such an iconic image. It was a huge success and we are extremely pleased. Saturday night sold out which is great for a start up event. “The music gigs, especially Cypress Hill and the Relentless No half Measures Stage were fantastic and we feel we’ve really made a great base for future years.” Plans for next year include working on more music and events taking place throughout the day to expand on the event’s festival feel.



Bars get into festival spirit ... THE bars at the event were provided by Creativevents – which had the job of making sure the bar areas tied in with the festival’s overall theme. Prior to the event, it took the team three full days to set up the seven bars and two coffee bars. These included an indoor bar which was themed to fit in with a winter wonderland seating area, one inside the music tent and others dotted around the site. According to director Andrew Snell there are certain trends in bars which organisers are picking up on at outdoor events and when it comes to drinks these include a surge in sales of cider which is also becoming more popular with women as well as men. He also revealed how valuable it can be to have exciting, interesting bars for festivalgoers to visit and how this can benefit organisers at events. He said: “Bars can fit into the look of an event as you can brand up the front. Organisers are also able to earn revenue through sponsorship as the bar areas are a massive focal point at events. “Festivals are now raising their game and we are working really closely with organisers to develop themes. “For example, when we worked on The Big Chill we operated 19 bars and three of those were open 24 hours. This was the biggest job we had done as all the bars were themed and it took six months of planning.

“We pride ourselves on the look of the bar and that is something we are working into festivals. We also focus on speed of service as there is nothing worse than being at an event and having to spend a long time queuing at the bar.” The company – which was celebrating hitting a milestone of working on 1000 events this year – has worked on a variety of events including Brighton Beach Boutique, the Innocent Village Fete and the Red Bull Air Race. Pictured right: director Andrew Snell and, below, is one of the bars supplied by Creativevents.

Contractors’ list ... Power - Gofer Bars – Creativevents Slope structure – Nussli Toilets – A1 Loo hire Waste – Bywaters Stage Barriers – Mojo Fencing – Tone Security – Entourage Inflatables – Baconinflate PA, Stage, Lighting – Futurist Marquee – Kayam Snow – Polar Snow Music – Sw1




Proms in the Park hits the right note Pictured above: Russell Watson, below: the firework display and below, left, Dan Schofield.

SALFORD City Council is celebrating the success of ‘Proms in the Park’, its biggest ever live music event. The classical concert was the BBC Philharmonic’s first performance in the city since signing its £20m sponsorship deal with the council last year. More than 8,000 people gathered at the inner city Buile Hill Park in September to see local celebrity Russell Watson’s first performance there since recovering from brain surgery. Dan Schofield, principal events development officer, Salford City Council, said: “Salford has a wonderful ongoing relationship with the BBC Philharmonic so we wanted to make the most of the opportunity to plan their first live event in the city. “Putting the show together was expensive, even though the orchestra kindly agreed to waive their fee, but we felt it was important to go ahead in order to showcase our partnership and to give the local people one of the biggest concerts ever staged in the area.” Out of the 8,000 tickets available, 4,000 were set aside for local residents at a cut price of £7.50.

The city was divided into eight geographical areas and 500 tickets were allocated to each one. The rest of the tickets were made available to the general public at £20 each. Dan added: “We wanted to make the event as accessible as possible to people right across Salford, so we allocated tickets to each area and people gave their post codes when ordering. “The residents’ tickets were extremely popular and sold out in the first two days and those for the general public only took slightly longer.” The event was timed to coincide with the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and also featured a performance from ACM Gospel, semi-finalists from the TV series Last Choir Standing as well as a fireworks display. Dan added: “I think it is great for a council to do something positive like this for its residents and we have had a great response from everyone who attended. Those living locally in particular really appreciated being able to attend an event that made them proud of their city.”

Council turns to events agency SALFORD City Council called on the experience of local events agency Ear to the Ground to help with the organising of ‘Proms in the Park’. The company, who were heavily involved in the launch of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture, were used to deliver event management services and health and safety. They also booked contractors and liaised directly with the stars of the show, Russell Watson and the Philharmonic Orchestra. “We were extensively involved in the event,” said director Jon Drape. “We put out a ticketing scheme which gave reduced tickets to local

residents and divided the city into eight and advised on other side issues. “As for the event it went fantastically well for the first year and at the debrief we had with the council everybody seemed extremely happy with it. “We learned a few things, as you do with every event, but are already starting to look at doing something next year and hope the event will become a regular fixture on the calendar.” The agency are currently working on several events, including a New Year’s Eve spectacular on London Bridge.




Training days prove successful By Dominic Musgrave A SERIES of training days for Lincolnshire amateur event organisers has been hailed a success. The training days, thought to be the first of their kind in the country, were organised by the Lincolnshire Event Safety Advisory Group (LESAG), and aimed in particular at people who stage events which benefit their local community. Topics covered included risk assessments, the role of event safety advisory groups, licensing and other relevant legislation. The sessions were designed to increase knowledge and bring organisers up to speed with new rules and regulations. LESAG chair Ian Reed said: “We are building on the success of the ‘Handbook for Event Organisers in Lincolnshire’, which is now in its fourth revision. The handbook gives the theory and now through the training days we’re adding the practical side, to help develop the skills of local event organisers. “Everyone has seen the adverts for no-win no fee insurance claims, and

Ian Reed there is a range of legislation which govern how you can operate your event, and we hope that the training days will make it easy for organisers to stage their event and do so safely, which makes for a sustainable future.” Participants included organisers of agricultural shows, aviation events,

Susan in tune with acoustics team

Susan Witterick

CAPITA Symonds’ acoustics team has a new senior acoustic consultant – Susan Witterick. Susan joins from Applied Acoustic Design and has over 10 years’ experience covering a variety of acoustical disciplines and project types. She has recently specialised in acoustical design for offices and schools and also has significant experience in HVAC noise control – recently designing teaching, recording and performance spaces at the Cork School of Music. Director of acoustics and air quality Dr Rukhsana Adam said: “We’re delighted to welcome Susan to the team – her experience in large architectural and environmental schemes will help us build both our internal client base within our design and infrastructure divisions and external clients such as Balfour Beatty and Kier.”

music festivals, village fetes, town carnivals, Christmas markets, pleasure fairs and community festivals. Louise Robinson, events team leader for the city council, offers an advisory service to event organisers staging their events in the city. “I was delighted to work with our partners on LESAG to develop this training day,” she said. “It’s all about developing a thriving programme of events and festivals across the city and county.” As part of the training participants were also given the chance to write risk assessments and plan their own event with experts from the emergency services on hand to answer questions and offer advice. A series of training days are being planned for next year, and the LESAG team are also now planning the next phase of the training programme, with more introductory level courses and some more in depth explanations of the legislative picture. They have also received enquiries from colleagues in neighbouring counties about the training programme.

New role for Samantha as co-ordinator SAMANTHA Abrams has joined Business Event Management as an event co-ordinator – bringing with her experience in B2B marketing, creative agency and retail sectors. The company is also moving to larger offices based on the Northampton Science Park, from where it will be able to offer an enhanced range of bespoke event management services to companies throughout the UK. Founding partner Geoff Morgan said: “Business is good because of the simple fact that targeted events are now proven to be the most cost-effective way of helping retain current clients whilst attracting new business, as no money is wasted communicating with those not interested in your product or service.”

Emmalene Charlton

Emmalene’s shadowing experience THE Main Event caught up with Emmalene Charlton at Sheffield Arena where she was shadowing venue manager Julian Kumah for a week, gaining operational experience of security and crowd management at a major venue. The two types of performance during the week, one floor standing, one seated, gave Emmalene an opportunity to see how theories she had covered in the classroom were put into practice. Understanding the different layouts offered by the arena and the different staffing requirements of each layout were particularly important. She said: “The first performance was a floor standing event. We started by planning the staffing, then collated the briefing information, delivered to staff as they started their shifts. It was good to find out where this wealth of information comes from.” The second show was a comedy show with a theatre style seating arrangement. Emmalene showed particular interest in the crowd psychology, observing how the venue used video, played on the main auditoria screens 15 minutes before the performance, to attract people into their seats well in advance of the show starting. She added: “This week-long experience again made me realise how critical communication, team working and a positive attitude can have on an event. I will make sure I prioritise these characteristics in my approach.”



NOEA Please note new address of NOEA: John Barton, General Secretary National Outdoor Events Association 23 Coral Avenue Westward Ho! Bideford, Devon EX39 1UW Tel: +44 (0) 1237 473113 Fax: +44 (0) 1237 459661 Email: Website:

News in brief  Richard Limb, NOEA President returns to the UK after a 2000 mile cycle ride across Australia.  NOEA Scotland progressing well – The Association is taking a stand at The Main Event Exhibition, Glasgow on 12th March 2009.  London Fair Pricing and Fair Practice Charter – all NOEA Members are invited to register with the authorities.  BS 8901 Sustainability – much ongoing work is still taking place behind the scenes.  Temporary Water Supply Management Standard – NOEA recognises this Standard for water

transfer and water quality to events.  NOEA Membership – still on target for 500.  Event Industry Forum Meeting held in October – subjects will be highlighted in the next edition.  NOEA Members’ Yearbook 2009 will be published at The Event Show, London on January 21 and 22 – order your complimentary copy from NOEA now.  NOEA General Council Meeting end of October – there are some very important developments taking place within NOEA. See the next edition to read the latest news.

Show marks opening of a very busy season THE recent Showman’s Show at Newbury marked the opening season to a very busy Autumn/Winter series of events. NOEA had a stand at the show and although the position was not so prominent as in 2007, it did not appear to matter. Over 150 serious enquiries were received particularly about membership and our activities:  Cardiff Conference at the Castle on 12th November with the Leader of Cardiff Council giving an opening welcome to Members.  Leeds Conference and Annual General Meeting in the City Hall, Millennium Square from November 24 – 26 including a city tour, dinners on the Monday and Tuesday nights and visits to a German market and Bier Keller.

 NOEA is experimenting with some new concepts and welcomes everyone to join in the experiment.  The Event Show, London on January 21 and 22 2009 – NOEA stand and “Spotlight on Local Authorities” Seminar – please make a note in your diary.  The NOEA Local Authority Group had a very good meeting at the Showman’s Show – for more information come to the January meeting.  30th Anniversary NOEA Convention and Tribute Celebration Evening – The Oxford Belfry, Nr Thame, Oxfordshire on February 25th – 27 2009 – Keynote Speakers include Harvey Goldsmith CBE and Tobias Ellwood MP, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Licensing and Gambling.

Rob Corp (Cardiff council), Paul Smith (Cardiff council), Mark Harding (Showsec) and John Barton.

Golfers all shook up as ‘Elvis’ takes golf title THE second annual golf tournament of The Event Industry Golf Society (TEIGS) took place at the Donnington Grove Country Club, Newbury, Berkshire on Thursday September 25. Cardiff Council/ Wales Rally GB were the principal sponsors and the event was also sponsored by Showsec International, Showman’s Show, HelloWorld, Main Event magazine and Finnforest UK Ltd – a very special thanks to them for making it all possible. There were over 20 golfers from various companies and local authorities in the events industry. Ed (Stewpot) Stewart and Pete Sands (Elvis Presley impersonator) were also present and before long there was much camaraderie amongst the players. At the dinner the following were announced as the winners. 1st Pete Sands (Elvis) H/C 8 net - 35 points 2nd Paul Jenkins, Wales Rally GB (Guest) H/C 8 net – 30 points 3rd Richard Thornton, Danco

International, H/C 17 net – 29 points 4th Clive Taylor, EMC, H/C 8 net – 29 points (on count back) The Longest Drive and the Nearest the Pin competitions were won by Rob Corp, Cardiff Council and Glen Williams, Wales Rally GB respectively. Congratulations to them all – in fact everyone received a prize through the great generosity of the sponsors. When the players returned to the Clubhouse, they were ready to relax and join in the evening’s festivities which included a first class dinner, prize giving and a special cabaret spot by “Elvis Presley”. Also the nominated charity - the Children’s Trust was given a donation of £200 during the dinner. Afterwards, everyone agreed that this had been a most successful occasion and many players and guests have already booked for the third TEIGS Golf Day at Donnington Grove on Thursday September 24 2009. – To secure your place now please email: (Attn John Barton) or telephone 01237 473113.





















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