9 months ago

Open Air Business February 2018

The UK's outdoor hospitality business magazine for function venues, glamping, festivals and outdoor events

EVENTS bodies like the

EVENTS bodies like the Highways and Police until either the license has been applied for or they are called to a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) meeting by the authority. Our view would be that early engagement and liaison with these agencies is vitally important and can help in the planning of a safe and successful event. They may well identify weaknesses in your plan but if these are communicated to you at an early stage remedial actions can be appropriately managed and implemented. Leaving these elements to the last minute can simply make your life harder. Local councillors often have their ear to the ground and can be your positive spokespeople out in the communities. They can ensure that the facts are being communicated rather than false rumour. Again, they may be aware of issues that have not been currently identified but with good liaison may also assist in solutions. A past example for us was a promoter who simply didn’t engage or empathise with the community in which their event was set. They didn’t engage in any pre-planning liaison with anyone, including the local authority. When it came to licensing the event, they were met with brick walls and a list of objections of which many could have been dealt with through early engagement and face to face liaison. Time was wasted, and “WITH THE EXPLOSION IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERNET USAGE IT PAYS TO BE AWARE OF THE BENEFITS BUT ALSO THE PITFALLS IN THESE MEDIUMS” those barriers lasted a long time as the local agencies felt they and the community weren’t being listened to. SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET With the explosion in social media and internet usage it pays to be aware of the benefits but also the pitfalls in these mediums. They are a great way to showcase the event or project, to explain the benefits in greater detail and to act as a marketing platform. However, they can also be used equally effectively by others to degrade your event or make complaints, concerns or objections they may have very public. Think about using elements of social media to ensure that your event is understood and that the plans are clear and take account of the local area and stakeholders. Your own website may well be a first port of call for interested parties trying to find out more information about your project – so perhaps include a page on the website providing information for local residents or how local businesses could benefit from working alongside you. GETTING IT WRONG What’s the worst that can happen if you forego local liaison or don’t ensure that local stakeholders, the council or others have the facts? In some cases, nothing, but in others you may find that your licensing process is a rocky road or that there is significant negative press about your event. The work that you put into local liaison may not always pay off, but if you have tried your best at ensuring that the local community and stakeholders in your project are kept well informed and engaged, then at the very least you cannot be accused of hiding the facts or being difficult in answering queries or concerns. From our experience, those extra phone calls and meetings bring big dividends. When we work with clients to develop ideas some of our first thoughts are how we can communicate these plans to the wider community and how best to ensure that our local liaison is the best it can be. ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Radford runs JR Event Services and has worked in the event industry for over 20 years. He provides event management and event safety consultancy services for a broad spectrum of events from single day and city centre cultural events to week long music and dance festivals. Visit or call 01275 406760 for an informal chat. GETTY IMAGES 58 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM

SIMPLY PUT… WE COMPLETE THE PICTURE Services we offer include: • Event Management and Production • Creative Event Solutions • Technical and Site design and Procurement • Event Safety • Event Safety Training • Licensing & Stakeholder Liaison Sophisticated & exceptional entertainment & styling Unrivalled in the events industry Tel: 01275 406760 Email: You can also find us on WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 59