Open Air Business October/November 2018


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

ISSUE 22 | October/November 2018 |




> Small is Beautiful

> Professional Services

/ /


> Interiors

> Bad Reviews


> Scheduling

> Heat & Power



Glamping Treehouses

At New Leaf Treehouse Company we design and build

beautiful treehouses.

From bespoke commissions to off the shelf solutions for

glamping sites and lucky homes across Europe.

Our Treehouses are engineered for safety, imagined and

designed for memorable experiences, and to be a profitable

addition to your business.

Visit our website and get in touch to discuss your plans.

Say hello at the Farm

Business Innovation

Show, Stand 3226

See our latest models, have a chat

through your plans, arrange a free

site visit and enter our competition

to win 2 nights in a New Leaf

treehouse at the beautiful Knepp

Castle glamping site.

Installed from

£15,000+VAT, subject to

survey and our standard

terms of business

01403 288470 |

ISSUE 22 | October/November 2018 |



FRESH OFF the back of three outings, to the Glamping Show, Festival and

Outdoor Events Show (Festout) and the Showman’s Show, my mind is

buzzing with something that can only be summed up as ‘opportunity’. Our

stand has been alive with excited readers and advertisers alike buoyed with

enthusiasm at the rapid development of the outdoor hospitality industry. Of

course there are unknowns ahead with Brexit looming, but the creativity and

spirit in this market will be hard to overcome.

Innovation is abundant in all sectors. At the Glamping Show we saw some incredible structures,

the scale of which couldn’t fail to impress, and how fantastic to be able to see so many in one

place; well done the Glamping Show team for providing this opportunity. In the events sector we

saw everything from the high tech (solar powered Wi-Fi) to the ultra low tech (cardboard festival

bins), with loads in the middle (more to come on the recycled plastic festival pods from C6(N)

Technology) – all just as innovative and influential in delivering great customer experience.

It’s great when the brave get rewarded. In this issue’s glamping case study, the founders of Long

Valley Yurts were certainly courageous when they started out in the days before planners had

even heard of a yurt. Now they are realising a very tidy profit and have plans for expansion into

weddings and even more sites.

Keep your fingers crossed for our events case study in November’s NOEA Awards ceremony. The

Vicar’s Picnic is up for Event of the Year – quite a nomination for a festival set up by friends after

failing to get Glastonbury tickets!


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4 News

8 Product News

13 Farm Business

Innovation Show


17 Glamping Show


21 Festival and Outdoor

Events Show Review


25 Amber Lakes – a

stunning lakeside

venue for corporate

business events

31 Small is Beautiful

– small venues can

be big players in the

wedding market

34 Scare Attractions –

making money from

your land during

Halloween and


39 Events are Rubbish –

Andrew White tackles

waste at corporate


42 Professional Services

– real life case studies


45 Long Valley Yurts – a

pioneering multi-site

glamping business

51 Industry Insights –

Kate Morel’s update

on the industry

54 Bad Reviews – Sarah

Orchard on how to

deal with them

57 Design Trends – ontrend

interiors advice

from Nikkita Palmer

58 OAB Loves… Interiors

– beauty on the inside

Tally Wade

Editor / Publisher

Contents ISSUE #22 October/November 2018


63 The Vicar’s Picnic –

Kent’s biggest little


69 It’s a Team Thing

- John Radford on

teamwork in event


72 Cue the Music – the

balancing act of

festival programming

76 It Couldn’t Happen to

Me! – NOEA members

warn otherwise

78 Heat, Lighting and

Power – a product


82 Spotlight

84 Classifieds

86 Day in the Life...


Steve Rix -

Tally Wade -


Tally Wade -


Marney Whyte - 01892 677740


James English -


Coffee Shop Media - 01580 848555

The House on the Hill, Friezley Lane,

Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2LL

t: 01580 848555







Find more expert advice online:






> Small is Beautiful

> Interiors

> Scheduling

/ /

> Professional Services > Bad Reviews

> Heat & Power





Airstream Facilities is Europe’s leading supplier

of Airstreams for festivals, glamping and

private events. Check out the fleet at / 07775 802611.



The latest news from the world of outdoor hospitality

Game Houses

for Glamping


to Burton-on-Trent, all thanks to

Michelle Benford who recently

purchased two former game houses

situated within the delightful

grounds of historic Rangemore Hall

Mews. Formerly used for hanging

game after shoots, Michelle hopes to

transform one of the most unusual

lots to be offered at SDL Auctions

Graham Penny in Derby into

glamping accommodation, subject

to planning permission.

The Grade II listed octagonal

buildings measure 14ft across and

both sold for £50,000. Benford told

the Derby Telegraph that her main

reason for buying the game houses

was the location, as the site has

fantastic views over the Rangemore

Estate, with easy access to St

George's Park, Barton Marina and


“The intention is for the two

structures to sleep a total of eight

people keeping the outside the

same but modernising the interiors,"

she said. “And if planners share

my vision, I am hoping to develop

a barbecue hut, hot tub area and

annexe with bathroom facilities.”

Hotel Closes to Become

Wedding and Events Venue

DEER PARK Country House

in Honiton has taken the

decision to cease operation

as a hotel, focussing instead

on its wedding and events

business. Formally an AA

four star hotel with 33

bedrooms and an AA two

Rosette restaurant, the

owners of the property

made the decision due to an

increase in demand.

Mark Godfrey, MD, said:

“We were very successful

as a hotel, restaurant and

venue for weddings and

corporate events, and felt

that the markets don’t go

together very well. There

are many challenges that

come with running all three


“We were also turning

guests away due to demand

for events, so it was just a

natural, logical progression,

and something that we’re

obviously good at. We

host 120 weddings a year,

but we’ve also seen a big

increase in corporate events.

I believe that with Brexit

coming companies are

investing in their employees

more, holding training

days, workshops, team

building events and so on.

At the moment we host 80

corporate events each year,

and that’s because we have

some very unique spaces

inside and out, including our

state of the art motor house

situated directly above a

fleet of rare and classic cars.

“Since we took over six

years ago we have invested

£3.3 million in the property.

The previous owners had a

marquee with no permission

so we took that down and

built a beautiful orangery

that can seat 200. We also

have three outdoor kitchens

and have planted 1,500

apple trees, securing rural

funding from the EU to

create our own sparkling

apple wine, which we can

offer at our weddings and

corporate events – guests

can choose to have their

own label and we also offer

half and quarter bottles for


Deer Park will still be

hosting charity events and

summer and winter balls so

that it doesn’t lose touch

with its most popular guests

and local customers.”

Wild Glamping for Cyclists and Ramblers

GEZ WILLARD of WW Planning has

entered an application to construct six

bases for shepherd huts just outside the

village of Hollington, near Uttoxeter. If

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

accepts the proposal, to be decided

later this year, the site will also include

capacity for up to 24 tents, associated

engineering works, access, parking and a

bike store.

The vision is to create a high quality

but wild camping experience for cyclists

and ramblers, with a new woodland to

provide additional privacy to the site and

a wildflower meadow to add bio-diversity.

The overall development will be

delivered in two phases, with future

work to include toilets, showers, laundry

facilities, a workshop and a bike-cleaning


With open countryside and wonderful

woodland walks, this site has been

identified by Willard as the perfect base

for walkers and cyclists.


Just So Festival wins Sustainable Tourism Award

CHESHIRE’S JUST So Festival has been

awarded the Sustainable Tourism Award at the

annual Marketing Cheshire Tourism Awards. It’s

not the first time Just So has been recognised

for its green credentials, pioneering approach

to accessibility and sustainable practices. At the

2016 event the family arts festival received a

Tourism Experience of the Year Award, and the

following year it took the Best Practice Award

at the National Outdoor Events Association

(NOEA) Awards. Organiser, Wild Rumpus, was

also crowned ‘Small Business of the Year’ by

judges of the Northern Soul Awards.

The festival aims to reduce the use of fossil

fuels by at least 50 per cent before 2025 and is

working with Energy Revolution to offset the

carbon from attendees’ travel. In addition, the

team works from a horsebox and treehouse

in woodland and uses compost toilets lit by

energy efficient LED lighting, while all on site

vendors during the festival use reusable cups.

Wild Rumpus is part of the line-up at the

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO)

Conference in Stratford Upon Avon, 9-11



The latest news from the world of outdoor hospitality

Glampsites may be Missing out on Early Bookings

SOME GLAMPING and camping sites are

missing out on vital revenue, bookings

website has


"Early demand for advanced bookings

has risen this year following a hot summer

and positive customer sentiment," it

reports. "But many businesses are not yet

processing bookings for 2019."

The warning comes following a swift

rise in early booking enquiries received by

Cool Camping and its new partner website

“Customers have been emailing us

from as early as August to try and place

bookings for the following year,” said

marketing manager James Warner Smith.

“And, now we’re into autumn, demand

has really risen, especially for glamping

sites, which consumers fear will book out


The site explains that for more

established glamping sites, creating online

availability and setting prices for the new

year has always been an essential piece

of summer admin. Many have regularly

returning customers who like to pre-book

holidays in advance but, it warns, there

are worries that not all newer business

owners are quick to recognise this trend.

“Many business owners take a well

earned break after the busy summer

season and don’t start the heavy lifting

THE ASSOCIATION of Festival Organisers

(AFO) has announced further details of the

agenda for this year’s conference on 9-11

November at Stratford Manor Hotel near

Stratford upon Avon.

Sessions are scheduled for topics ranging

from ticketing (where to find the best deals),

who should shoulder the responsibility

of marketing events, the latest rules and

regulations around security, and details

of the new PRS tariff - where the money

actually goes.

The AFO Conference has always prided

itself on being welcoming to those new to

the festival and events industry. This year’s

‘Beginners Guide – an A-Z’ will offer top tips

to those starting their journey. And there will

be ample opportunity to pick up much more

information from experienced organisers

with talks and case studies about how to

plan festival sites from green fields to town


On hand too will be experts in many fields

to answer specific questions on insurance,


again until winter,” says Warner Smith.

“While that’s fine for many aspects of the

business, deciding on pricing and making

dates available to book are vital tasks to

get done early, to avoid needlessly missing

out on revenue.”

Cool Camping’s founder, Jonathan

Knight, also emphasised that potential

customers could be lost.

“At this time of year potential customers

often phone our London office asking

legal issues and accounting, dealing with

contracts and artists, licensing and security.

The AFO continues to play a pivotal role

in raising awareness of the socio-economic

impact of the festival and events industry.

This year will focus on the plastic crisis and

suggest ways in which the industry can play

its part in reducing and recycling waste.

about booking a specific glamping site

over the telephone because they are

unable to do it online and just don’t

realise that the site hasn’t yet made

its 2019 dates available,” said Knight.

“Not all customers will make that

effort, however. Some may simply book

elsewhere, preferring to secure high-end

accommodation they can book there and

then, rather than getting on the phone or

waiting and potentially missing out.”

Involved in a Festival? Don’t miss the AFO Conference


Speakers from a number of environmental

organisations will discuss solutions on how

we can help conserve the world’s natural

resources and adopt renewable energy

resources into our events.

Friday and Saturday evenings both offer

showcase concerts which will give delegates

the chance to find new artists for their


“The conference is a mix of news, ideas

and the best networking opportunity of the

year,” said Steve Heap, general secretary.

“For newcomers, our aim is to put them on

the right road to thinking about every aspect

of what is involved in organising an event.

“It is never too late to become part of

our community. So often new members

tell us they wished they had known about

the conference when they first started their

festival as we try to help people avoid the


For more information about the

conference, visit




Great news for Rural

Venues in Hitched Survey


Century Bride survey carried out

by Hitched (in collaboration with

You & Your Wedding magazine),

when it comes to popular wedding

venues it’s all about finding

something that is romantic and

pastoral, with 28 per cent of the

3,300 couples asked choosing

a barn or farm for their reception.

For the first time since the

survey began, barn and farm

venues have overtaken hotel

venues for the top spot, although

hotels and country houses were

very close behind. And with

couples in Britain now spending

an average £32,000 on their big

day – up from £27,161 last year

– they are not afraid to splash

out either. That’s great news for

venues, which sees the biggest

chunk of a couple’s budget at


The royal wedding is one

explanation for the rising cost of

weddings, but the survey noted

that people are tying the knot

later in life, with the average

age of a bride now 35 while the

average groom is 37, both four

years older than the previous year.

NOEA Announces Awards Shortlist


National Outdoor Events

Association (NOEA) Awards

2018 has been announced.

Susan Tanner, NOEA’s chief

executive, said: “This year

saw an increase in detailed

entries, many deserving to

be a finalist. Consequently,

our judges had a hard job

to decide on the three or

four shortlisted in each


Peter Jack, NOEA Awards MC,

opens up the 2017 event

Alistair Turner, head judge and managing director of EIGHT PR

& Marketing, said: “The quality of entry once again took a step

forward and the introduction of Best New Event produced some

amazing applications. The strength of entries was excellent

and seeing some events come back shows commitment to the


Joining Turner on the judging panel are Andy McNicholl (city

events manager for Liverpool Council), Rachel Baker (head of

marketing at GL events UK), and Sally Piggott (head of festivals

UK for Eventbrite).

In the running for Event of the Year are The Vicar's Picnic

(see pages 63-66), The Leeds Castle 49th Anniversary Classical

Concert, Party at The Palace and Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park.

The 15th annual NOEA Convention and Awards Dinner will

be held in the Roman Baths and Pump Room, Bath, on 21

November. Visit for more information.

Towergate Insurance Your business needs are at

the heart of what we do

Bespoke policies based

on your holiday park

requirements including new

markets such as Glamping.

Specialist Site Operators

insurance, for your holiday park

site, facilities, static caravans,

leisure homes and lodges.

As well as insuring against

damage to the material aspects

of your business, Towergate can

also provide Business Interruption

cover, should your business be

left unable to resume normal


Call: 0344 892 1721 to arrange a quote

Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England

with company number 4043759. VAT Registration Number: 447284724. Registered Address: Towergate

House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial

Conduct Authority.


A Sustainability Story – From

Company to Product

THE NEW mobile eco-friendly restroom from

CNSE is testament to the company’s own

sustainability credentials. The 100 per cent solar

powered unit uses low voltage mechanisms to

operate and incorporates water saving features.

It is a totally self contained unit but boasts a

fresh water flush utilising integral fresh and

wastewater tanks. Other features include a

waterless urinal, LED lighting with a motion

sensor and a ‘landscape friendly’ exterior


Tailormade for the UK events market, the Eco

Fleurie is the result of growing trends for ecominded

facilities and is in line with CNSE’s own

sustainability ethos.

CNSE as a company organises and recycles

as much waste as possible, follows a policy

of finding local suppliers and sub-contractors

to reduce the footprint of its activity, sources

office equipment made from recycled materials,

switches exterior lighting off automatically after

9pm and has installed electric vehicle charging

points in its car park. It also employs local talent

of all ages and supports associations such as

the LAPP, which offers disabled children and

teenagers an opportunity to take to the sky in

their first ever flight.

Site Equip Celebrates 30 Years


Equip celebrated

30 years hiring

portable toilets, site


mobile showers,

fencing and trackway

to the event and



Set up by husband

and wife Sonia and

Geoff Gilbert, Site

Equip was the first

company to bring

portable toilets to

the UK from the

USA. From working

The second generation at the helm, Amy and

Adam Gilbert

weekends and evenings, with Geoff’s father delivering and servicing the

toilets, the business is looking very different today with two depots, 60

full time members of staff and a fleet of over 3,000 toilets plus showers,

accommodation, fencing and trackway. It has also been pioneering in

its development of luxury themed toilet trailers including the Gypsy

Caravan, Potting Shed, Beach Hut and the Shabby Chic. The team most

recently developed a urinal system for larger events, and this year

launched a new luxury vacuum range.

Now run by the next generation, Amy and Adam Gilbert are at the helm

winning new business from events including Carfest, Pub in the Park, and

Standon Calling. With

its 30th year being Site

Equip’s biggest so far

(with over 2,500 loos

on hire at its peak),

the team is looking

forward to the next 30


Putting the ‘Glam’ in Festival Glamping

AIRSTREAM FACILITIES has partnered up with

Shindig Weekender, a family festival based in the

heart of Somerset. Now in its fifth year, it is one of

the UK’s truly ‘boutique’ festivals held over four

days in May. With no main stages, just a beautiful

arrangement of stretch marquees, each area has

been carefully curated to pique its audience’s


Airstream Facilities will be filling the glamping

field with its luxury Airstream trailers along with a

VIP Airstream lounge bar. Its fleet of 40 Airstreams

sleep a maximum of a 160 people and include

retro classics and luxury ‘penthouse style’ trailers,

production units and bars, perfect for creating a

sense of glam.


Plastic Solutions Creates New

Sanitation Division for Glampsites

FOLLOWING A successful

launch into glamping,

caravanning and outdoor

leisure at last year’s Farm

Business Innovation

Show, sanitation

company Plastic

Solutions has developed

a brand new specialised

division in GLAMPSAN.

With new branding,

0800 phone lines and

a separate, customerfocussed


GLAMPSAN will supply

a comprehensive range

of specialised products

based on feedback and

research following last

year’s launch into the


“Plastic waste and

water tanks for above

and below ground

applications are just

the start,” says Jon

Trelfa, general manager.

“Whatever storage and

pumping solution you

require, whether it’s

water or waste related,

we aim to advise and

help. In fact, while the

website will of course

showcase the full range

of products, the help

side is one thing which

we feel is missing from

the market. We’re

spending a lot of time

developing a special


‘Knowledgebase’ section

where you’ll be able to

get answers to lots of

those niggly questions

no one’s quite sure of.”

New Hut Kits for Glamping

CABINVILLE HAS launched four new shepherd

hut kits for 2019, specifically designed for

the glamping market. Designed in Norfolk,

the huts are all built on a special wheelbase

for a lower total height (now under 3m) and

greater stability. The new designs are all easier

to build, are to an industry leading material

specification and feature double glazed

outward opening windows.

Kits meet all the latest standards and are

currently in stock for a quick delivery. Mention

‘Marney’ when ordering for a 10% discount

(valid until 14 November 2018 for delivery

before February 2019). /

01379 687467.



Wood Fired Ovens for

the Glamping Market

WITH 20 years’ experience cooking with wood,

Blistering Ovens has turned its attention to the

glamping market. Designed for their ease of use, its

wood fired ovens are endorsed by the likes of the Hairy

Bikers and are about to be featured on ITV show ‘Love

Your Garden’ with Alan Titchmarsh.

New to the line up is the Wizard range from Portugal.

Perfect for the glamping market, these ovens come

in two massive sizes, require no assembly and have

wheels for manoeuvrability.

“We are confident that our ovens will give glampsite

guests the ultimate alfresco cooking experience every

time and add value to glamping offerings,” says cofounder

Tim Reeves. “From pizzas to roasts to morning

fry ups, anything you can cook in your kitchen you can

cook in a Blistering wood fired oven.”

Blistering Ovens are designed to withstand the Great

British outdoors and come in a variety of colours. All

ovens are supplied ready to use with a full selection of

accessories, easy set up instructions and recipes.

Glamping Barrel Accommodation

for the Homeless

THE FARM Business Innovation

Show sees the launch of the Give

Them A Break project which has

been set up by Kevin and Laura


After a dark period of

homelessness, Kevin Baker got

back on his feet when he started

the “Nice Baps” roadside café near

Wadebridge with his wife Laura. The

café has become a huge success

and has recently been voted the

most popular eatery in Cornwall.

Kevin’s project is social

entrepreneurship at it’s very best.

He is setting up a small glamping

site near his café which will be used

for two months in high season at

commercial rates, fours months a

year at a subsidised rate for carers

and others that deserve a break

(but couldn’t usually afford one),

and for the remaining six months

a year it will be offered free to

homeless families and individuals.

Kevin and Laura hope that others

will follow in their footsteps and

that Give Them A Break sites will

pop-up all over the country.

Glamping structure and en-suite

pod provider CampPlus is providing

Kevin with two fully fitted Glamping

Barrels and a Duo en-suite unit at

a very low cost to get his site going.

These are on display at the Farm

Business Innovation Show and will

be shipped to Cornwall right after

the show.

"I am so happy

to be supporting this pioneering

project, one that will really make a

difference to so many people that

need either an affordable holiday or

simply a roof over their heads," says

Erik Verwaaijen, MD, CampPlus.

“When Kevin approached us

he was looking for a glamping

structure that was usable all year

round. Fully insulated, and with

options for IR heating and electrics,

the Glamping Barrels will provide

comfort for homeless families and

individuals throughout the offseason.

I really hope other sites will

follow in Kevin's footsteps and join

the Give Them A Break project. If so,

I'd be happy to talk to them about

special rates."

Visit stand 2282 at the show to

meet Kevin and learn more.

Plain Huts goes International

A ROMNEY Hut from Wiltshire based Plain Huts has been delivered to

Switzerland. New owner Rudi’s bespoke contemporary shepherds hut

features cedar cladding, an en-suite wet room and a large round window

to take in the mountainous views of its new home on the lake at Interlaken,

where it will be rented out through Airbnb.

This hut is number 23 designed by Plain Huts’ founder Cath Caesar and

was transported by Russell Transport. The team from Plain Huts flew out to

oversee the installation.

“It’s all very exciting and a little surreal,” said Caesar. “About six months

ago we received an email from Switzerland asking if we could send huts

overseas. With the help of Google Translate we completed the hut and flew

out especially to make sure everything went smoothly with its delivery.

“We are delighted with our first international order – it’s just a shame a

cloud came over just as we finished the installation, denying us a photo

opportunity of hut #23 in its fabulous new location.”


Straw Insulated

Pods & Lodges!

Sam Atkinson LLP is now offering bespoke

straw bale pods and lodges, which are

individually crafted and designed

specifically for your site.

Truly unique, these pods are insulated by

straw bales to give a 0.13 u-value,

meaning incredibly low heating

costs. Comfortably usable all year

round with a practically sized

kitchen area, dedicated sleeping

area and en-suite.

For more info contact Sam 07872 012901

Brand New Shepherd's

Hut for Sale

Innovation from

Universal Glamping

• Internal size: 5m long

x 2.1m wide, 2.3m eaves

• Metal chassis, Douglas fir

cladding, fully insulated

• Fold down bed and table

• Full fitted kitchen, oven,

hob, fridge

• Wood burning stove

• En-suite shower and WC

• Never used, no planning permission

forces sale

• More pictures and video on request

• Located in Norfolk

• 24” cast wheels

• Double glazed windows

• Built to a high standard


• IRC Radiant Heating Systems

for glamping structures.

• Efficient, cost-effective and extra safe

• Doesn’t require an electrician to install

• Produced in canvas or stainless steel



• Two-tier modular

canvas structure.

• Durable and quick

to assemble

• Insulated for year

round use

• 20.4sqm over two


Offers in excess of £20,000

Contact Rob Morton

07789 722654

01269 853957



Farm Business

Innovation Show

Laura McDonald introduces this year’s show, a must

attend for any landowner looking at diversification

THE FARM Business Innovation Show

is Britain’s biggest event dedicated to

providing farmers, landowners, estate

owners and rural entrepreneurs with

the inspiration, advice and resources

they need to grow, diversify or evolve

their rural business.

With the end of the Common

Agricultural Policy looming and major

uncertainty around its replacement,

it’s never been so crucial for the rural

sector to look towards alternative

sources of income for their land.

The venture into rural diversification

requires so much more than a good

idea, and to thrive you need to have

clear plans, goals and confidence in

your decisions.

Now in its sixth year, the event will

see 500 exhibitors fill the hall, 200

seminars covering a multitude of

topics, and expert-led panel debates

combining to create an unmissable

event, with hundreds of ideas for

landowners to introduce new income

streams through their land and rural


This year’s speaker line-up features

the likes of TESCO, DEFRA, Barclays,

The CLA, Buckingham Palace and

the NFU, as well as a variety of

experienced farmers who have

taken the leap into diversification


Seminar topics range from

developing a glamping brand

to adding income from hosting

weddings, to the local lending

movement. The two day event will

feature a host of live panel discussions

by industry experts on topics such as

Brexit and diversification, planning

permission, renewables and energy


Running on the 7-8 November at the

NEC Birmingham, tickets to attend the

show are free, just register at


Horne Engineering – Stand 1816

Horne has been designing and manufacturing

specialist thermostatic valves and showers

since 1909. A selection of shower panels

will be on display from its extensive range

including DDA/Equality Act compliant and

timed-flow-control (TFC) showers such as

the Duso shower column. Neat, colourful,

robust and easy to maintain, the Duso’s timed

control and integral flow regulator ensure

that wastage of preheated water is kept to a


New Leaf Treehouse Co. -

Stand 3226 ›

The clever design from New Leaf

incorporates timber and canvas

elements and a low impact attachment

system that ‘hugs’ the tree without

damaging it. Bespoke projects are no

problem but do check out the New Leaf

042, it can be up in your tree from as

little as £15,000 subject to site survey

etc. Make sure to enter the competition

to win a night’s stay in a New Leaf

treehouse at Knepp Castle.

Glampsites – Stand 3601 is a specialist website

created for glampers to search and book

their stay. It offers two joining options for

sites – free listings that visitors can browse,

and bookable listings through which guests

can book their stays. With bookable listings,

glampsites pay 10 per cent commission

on bookings received. Marketing manager

Leona Mills will also be speaking at the

show, giving tips on how to generate more




Farm Business Innovation Show 2018 continued

Aquaforno – Stand 2470

Give your guests the best alfresco

dining experience with the award

winning Aquaforno II, one of the

most versatile outdoor cooking

stoves around. It’s portable,

collapsible, multi-fuel (wood/

charcoal/gas) and operates as a

BBQ grill, pizza oven, rotisserie

and smoker. An internal water

boiler gives hot drinks on tap and

it can also double up as a patio

heater or clothes dryer!

The Septic Tank Store –

Stand 2424

With an extensive range of septic tanks and treatment

plants, the family run Septic Tank Store will help keep your

land ‘poofect’, allowing you and your guests to experience

the rural landscape in comfort. The friendly team offers

bespoke systems for everything from a single glamping

unit all the way up to a one thousand population treatment


Mudcontrol – Stand 2853

For protection against mud in parking areas, pathways,

tracks, or anywhere that gets muddy, these 100 per cent

recycled plastic interlinking slabs form a solid sub-base

through which grass can grow and can be easily relocated.

Designed not to sink or flex, they have been tested to over 60

tonnes for vehicles (including HGVs) and are also perfect for

human and animal traffic. From £22 / sq m, Mudcontrol offers

a 20 year guarantee as standard.

Logspan – Stand 3092

The Finman range of BBQ huts and glamping cabins is

available through family owned business Logspan and

offers fantastic ROIs. It includes the Bunkhouse, Loft (with a

mezzanine), Retreat and Sleeper cabins – a 17 sq m Finman

Sleeper Cabin is expected to return a profit within the first

year based on 25% occupancy at £75 rental per night. Recently

introduced, the Burrow range of cabins has been designed to

nestle within a landscape, whereas the Clansman Modern Pod

is for those after a contemporary look.


Meet the team on Stand 3522

Delivering Bespoke Glamping projects

for Discerning Landowners

In collaboration with treehouse builder Leigh Smallwood


Planning Applications - Finance - Structure Design & Installation

If you have the land,

we have the brand.

business plan

site survey








Wigwam® Holidays

is the UK brand leader in the

provision of glamping holidays in

our unique range of heated wooden

Wigwam® Cabins. With over 80 sites

throughout the UK and a track record in business

start ups there has never been a better time to invest

in your Wigwam® Holidays franchise.




The Glamping Show

Alice Moore reports on the Glamping Show, where the

weather put structures to the test

THE EXHIBITORS at the three day Glamping

Show in September welcomed the

inclement weather with gusto as it meant

they could really showcase how well their

structures stood up to Britain’s variable


“The weather we have had these last

few days has suited us enormously,” said

Universal Glamping’s Rex Dovey. “The high

winds and rain, especially on the first day,

showed just how strong our structures are

and we were also able to showcase our new

innovative heating system, which warmed

up many visitors.”

Much like the sector it represents, the

show is evolving and welcomed thousands

of visitors from all corners of the UK and

overseas over three days. Attendees had the

opportunity to experience a wide variety

of glamping structures and investigate

accessories and services to the industry

including planning, financing and insurance.

The show stepped up on delivering

knowledge with the introduction of a

number of short intensive courses educating

visitors on specific areas of running

glamping sites. This was in addition to the

popular seminar programme and one to one

‘Meet the Experts’ opportunities.

Chris Pike of social media management

company HeyBurt was one of the specialists

that took part in these sessions. “We were

busy from the moment the doors opened on

both Thursday and Friday. I talked to a huge

range of people, from those who have barely

even thought about their potential glamping

site to those who are well established

business owners. It was great to see such

a diverse group of visitors attending the


Jess Holliday, of Yurts For Life, has seen

a huge shift in the last three years in how

knowledgeable visitors have become. “What

we have noticed is there has been a massive

evolution in the glamping market in recent

years,” she said. “In the three years we have

been exhibiting we have seen visitors, who

were just at the planning stages of their

business in year one, returning to the show

knowing exactly what they want and with so

much more knowledge about the industry.”

After four successful years of the Glamping

Show, organisers Swan Events wanted to

give something back. Teaming up with Kerry

Roy of off-grid glampsite Camp Kátur, they

have launched GlampAid, a new industry

charity that will help those made homeless

by conflict and disaster by fundraising and

donating surplus stock from glamping

suppliers. Long-time supporter of the

Glamping Show, TV presenter, author and

upcycler, Max McMurdo, has been welcomed

as its ambassador.

SAVE THE DATE: Next year’s Glamping Show

will be on 19-21 September at the NAEC,

Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.


➊ Saniflo

The Saniflo roadshow van was present for

the second successive year, showcasing the

range of pumps and macerators designed

to help site owners install extra facilities

even if mains drainage isn’t an option.

The team also presented the Kinedo self

contained cubicle range, renowned for its

quick and easy installation – as used by

pod manufacturers Universal Glamping and

Modular Leisure Buildings in their glamping

structures. / www.kinedo.

➋ Portable Power Technology

As fans of the Portable Power Technology

powerpacks for powering/charging all

manner of things, we were keen to check out

the larger ‘whole glampsite’ off-grid power

solutions on offer. A one-stop-shop for

these systems, these guys know their maths

when it comes to solar panels, batteries and

inverters. Just tell them what you need to

power and they’ll put everything together.

Ask about the SIES fully integrated

system too. It makes creating off-grid or

solar hybrid systems easy and allows for

monitoring via a tablet or PC; you can

check the power collected/used, voltages of

batteries and troubleshoot problems. www.

➌ Bond Fabrications

Bond showcased a fully equipped safari

tent as a fitting tribute to 30 years of

designing and manufacturing marquees and

glamping structures in its Gloucestershire

factory. Its safari tents are unique in the UK,

constructed around a hidden box section

steel frame for extra rigidity that has recently

passed wind loading tests by structural

engineers. It also offers a fully bespoke

service for anything unique. Happy Birthday




The Glamping Show 2018 continued

➍ CampPlus

You couldn’t miss the new Glamping Barrel

from CampPlus – one of the few structures

inside the main hall. Hooked up to one of

the company's en-suite units, demonstrating

their adaptability, the round profile gives a

generosity of space, with a raised super king

bed and plenty of storage (or a child’s den

area) below, lots of seating and a large table.

We are delighted to hear that a deal has

been done to supply two barrels to a site in

Cornwall providing accommodation for the

homeless in the off season.

page 10.

➎ Anthropods

We love contemporary design, and the

new pod from Anthropods certainly ticks

that box. The brainchild of Rik Currie, a

Chartered Industrial Designer specialising in

transport, these carriage shaped structures

are available in 7.2m or 5.3m lengths and

feature adjustable legs that can be altered

to accommodate uneven ground. The pods

can be relocated easily using integral lifting

rings and a fork/tractor combination, and

only need four 600mm concrete pads to sit

on. Look out for a treehouse version coming


sales in 2015 opening The

Bell Tent Shop – check

out the ranges. www. /

➐ Riviera Hot Tubs

Known for its beautiful

wooden hot tubs, BISHTA ➏

member Riviera designs

and installs a range of tubs with operating

systems to support both domestic and

commercial use. Available as standard in five

to seven foot diameters (to seat up to eight),

bespoke designs include larger and oval

tubs. Riviera also offers advice on siting and

is able to provide plans for recessed tubs.

2018 saw the company introduce the Riviera

Holiday acrylic range. Finished in Western

red cedar, these tubs have been designed to

be ultra economical and perfect for the rental


➑ Morel & Co

Catering to the demand for a service

delivering glamping sites of outstanding

quality, Morel & Co champions bespoke

builds and a thorough approach to site

design. A collaboration of craftsmen and

consultants curated by industry stalwart Kate

Morel, services include the bespoke design

and build of a variety of structures, planning

advice, financing, marketing and more. If you

are a discerning landowner looking to build

success as a glampsite, give the team a call.

➏ The Tipi & Bell Tent Hire Company / The

Bell Tent Shop

If you need bell tents (of all shapes and sizes)

or tipis, these guys do it all. From single

units for hire or sale up to event glamping

for 2,000 – as seen at Kendal Calling, Global

Gathering and Countryfile Live. Customers

include wedding and corporate event

venues, festival organisers and, yes, the Royal

Family. Set up 10 years ago in Warwickshire,

the company has a stock of 500 tents for

hire and a team of seven creating pop-up

glampsites nationwide. It expanded into




New and ex. Rental models


Bell Tents and North

American Tipis for hire


Kendal Calling Festival, Global Gathering, Isle of Wight Festival, Countryfile

Live, The Great Hindu Gathering, Kew Gardens, and a whole host of

weddings, festivals and parties. Customers include the Royal Family!

Accommodation for festivals,

weddings, parties, corporate

events, sports events, yoga

retreats and more. We can sleep

up to 2,000 people in our beautiful

tipis and bell tents.

07834 768348 |



Festival and

Outdoor Event Show

A specialist trade show for alfresco events, Festout returned to

Sandown Park Racecourse for its second year writes Tally Wade

LAUNCHED LAST year by the team behind the inimitable Event

Production Show and events magazine Access All Areas, the Festival

and Outdoor Event Show (Festout) brings together the best part of

the events industry (in our opinion), events that happen in the open


Of course, delivering creative, safe, profitable and comfortable

shows outside poses some unique challenges, and this is what event

director Duncan Siegle has drawn upon in building the Festout

programme of seminars and bringing together exhibitors.

"The content programme was a real highlight this year and the

show looked amazing, with fantastic exhibits from some major

industry players and a good cross section of buyers across the two

days," said Siegle. "We continue to develop the event and are drawing

up plans to increase footfall as, while quality was high, we'd like to

see more people come and support the show."

Safety being the foremost priority for all event teams, Festout took

the lead providing content by qualified expert trainers curated by

Storm 4 Events. Delivered across the two days in a dedicated area,

the concurrent ‘SaFest’ featured eight sessions focussing on event

safety and security in association with the United Kingdom Crowd

Management Association (UKCMA).

“We continued themes from last year about the size of the industry

and licencing issues that hold us back and delivered strong content

on various aspects of safety, both on the Main Stage with Jon Drape

and via our new conference on event safety and security – SaFest,”

said Siegle. “This practical learning programme was very well

received and we are rolling it out across future events.”

The focus on safety tied in well with wider industry themes, with

the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) speaking on risk

management and scenario planning, its theme for the year. Its annual

convention in November has been titled ‘It Couldn’t Happen to me!”

Exhibitions at the show ranged from flamboyant entertainment to

professional services to infrastructure suppliers. There was boundless

creativity on show as well as sustainability and great design.

Encompassing all of these agendas was the MESR-TECHNIC structure

from sponsor Core Modular. A modular multi-storey event structure,

it is made from a lightweight composite material comprising a

recycled plastic core. In conversations with the team behind it, we

learned of a fantastic initiative that will provide festival organisers

and big brands with a unique and high value use for their waste

plastic – more on this in the next issue!

Great conversations was the take home message from Festout

2018. On the Open Air Business stand we had many exciting

exchanges with readers and advertisers alike with great introductions

made, partnerships secured and event ideas tossed about. In doing

the rounds, exhibitors were reporting the same. It may not be a

big show (yet) but in just two years it has established itself as an

important place for the outdoor event industry to do business.


➊ Event in a Tent

As stunning as the giant tipi the team brought to the show was,

what caught our eye was the imagery of the timber geodome.

Designed and manufactured in the UK, these domes are

available in both 12m and 15m diameters and can be linked

together. Made exclusively for Event in a Tent, they are the only

domes of their kind that can also be configured as a stage, as

demonstrated at Countryfile Live, Big Festival, and at a Proms

in the Park event for a 74 piece orchestra. www.event-in-a-tent.

➋ Bar-Go

Meets Stubbs McGee! The American Saloon bar ready to pop-up

at your next event. Constructed from shipping containers, the

double decker structure is available for dry or ‘wet’ hire and

has masses of flexibility for brand collaborations and bespoke

theming. The upper storey comprises a deck for alfresco drinks

with a view, and a separate indoor area perfect for the VIP



➌ Instant Marquees

Entirely manufactured and printed

in Cornwall, Instant Marquees has a

rental stock of over 300 structures

available with temporary branding.

Products include domes, crossover

domes, pop-up marquees, market

stalls and bar tents with counters, as

well as flags and banners. Popular

with organisers to brighten up events,

and with sponsors for increased

value, they work well at sport and

food events as well as festivals. The

team can erect nationwide. www.

➍ Green Goblet

These guys are the UK leaders in

branded reusable cups for events.

A British company, Green Goblet

provides a range of non-breakable

vessels and can advise on how best

to promote the ‘refill not landfill’

message using either a returnable

or non-returnable deposit system.

Organisers can reduce waste,

increase revenue and promote

sponsors, or use the branding

opportunity for advertising. Green

Goblet offers a full in house and

mobile wash/dry service, artwork

design and storage.


The idea is simplicity itself - a folded

corrugated cardboard bin that

is quick and easy to deploy. The

brainchild of two design graduates,

it won the heralded Red Dot: Best of

the Best design award in 2015. Made

from recycled material, and entirely

recyclable, stickers can be provided

to help sort

rubbish (plastics,

food waste, paper

etc.) and help

keep event sites clean. Over 5,000

were used at the Roskilde Festival in

Denmark, and organisers report the

site has never been clearer. www.

➎ Get Me Connected

Wi-Fi connectivity for events of all

sizes and in the most challenging

locations! Get Me Connected uses

carbon-neutral self-powered systems

to bring internet services to events

even when there is no existing

connection or power supply. The

team brought the fun to the fair with

a superb replica of a festival set up

(made by the man behind models

used in early James Bond films), and

a truly addictive VR game showcasing

connectivity applications.

➏ entertee hire

Established in 2004, entertee hire

provides temporary barriers, trakway,

towerlights and picket fence to

events of all sizes from the likes of

Elderflower Fields to Boomtown Fair.

Founder Gill Tee is a stalwart of the

industry and the organisational force

behind London’s Party in the Park,

and the Hop Farm and Black Deer

festivals in Kent. We loved Smart

Hoard, an attractive temporary

fencing solution for exclusive areas.

With an oak finish and no gaps

between panels, it is perfect for VIP

and hospitality areas.



“Our Airstreams were fantastic, and were a

huge factor in making Womad such an

enjoyable experience. Superbly cool in the

heat and really snug during the thunderstorm.

We were impressed with the friendly service

and attention to detail of the Airstream team.”

Tam & Stewart

Airstream Facilities are EuropeÕs leading

Airstream hire company, supplying a mind blowing

range of boutique accommodation and funky

production units for Þlm/TV, weddings, festivals,

corporate events, product launches, pop-up shops

and sporting events.

Every unit has been restored to the highest

standard retaining the retro styling and tastefully

upgraded with modern high tech speciÞcation

features including: workstations, air

conditioning/heating, wide-screen TV/Hi-FI

systems and fridge/freezers.



Get in touch to Þnd out how our cool and stylish range of trailers can make your event shine



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Amber Lakes

A lakeside venue with a versatile luxury lodge

and space for a multitude of outdoor structures

and activities

Targeting the corporate business event market, the team at

Amber Lakes has created a breathtakingly beautiful ‘outdoors in’

conference and events space while encouraging guests to make

the most of the estate’s natural assets, including 120 acres of

fishing lakes. We talk to venue manager Helen Giles.

When did you start your venue

business and what is its history?

Amber Lakes sits on the same

site as one of the UK’s premier

fishing destinations, Wraysbury 1.

Its beauty has been known to the

fishing world for some time but

it is only since Summer 2017 that

we started hosting corporate and

private events.

Tell us about your location

and site

Amber Lakes truly is a unique

setting. Once a quarry in the 1920s

that was filled with underwater

natural springs, the area remained

untouched for decades. It is now

a site of special scientific interest

(SSSI) with many unique species of

plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles







THE 1920S











and birds making their home here.

Just a 15 minute drive from

Windsor and Slough, 30 minutes

from Reading and 45 minutes from

the centre of London, the venue is

in an enviable position. Heathrow

is only a 10 minute drive away

yet we are set within 450 acres of

stunning grounds and 120 acres

of lakes, which make up fishing

destination Wraysbury 1.

The lakes used to hold the

British carp record – a fish

weighing a whopping 60Ibs – and

other points of interest include

Dredger Bay, where a 100 year old

piece of quarry equipment still

remains after the deliberate filling

of the site in 1900.

The lakes even appeared in

James Bond classic, A View to a

Kill. Look out for the scene where

Roger Moore’s Rolls Royce Silver

Cloud is pushed into the lake to

catch our big moment on the silver


What facilities do you offer?

At the heart of Amber Lakes

is a luxurious cedar, oak and

glass lodge designed with a

Scandinavian feel. Breathtaking

views are framed by expansive

windows, creating an unbeatable

setting for conferences, away days,

corporate dinners and more. This

unique venue boasts complete

exclusivity and privacy for high

end luxury events, ideal for both

the corporate and private market.

The lodge features a doubleheight

ceiling, oak flooring and a


marble-topped bar, and the views

of nature, trees and gardens that

spread as far as the eye can see

give it a sense of retreat and calm.

The expansive open plan space

is perfectly suited to hosting

senior management events, as

well as dinners and parties. The

lodge can accommodate up to 250


Outside, the venue’s 450 acre

grounds make it hard to beat

when searching for a country

venue within easy reach of

Slough, Reading and London.

The venue’s extensive terraces,

lawns and gardens are particularly

impressive during the summer

months. All events come with our

very own Amber Lakes boat (Red

October) and captain, allowing

guests to explore the venue on

water or even fish.

The vast site can be used

to host activities, games and

outdoor receptions in the

summer months. The grounds

can hold marquees and other

temporary structures, with

the potential to increase the

venue’s overall capacity to 500 if


The Amber Jetty and Pier

is a sprawling slate terrace

surrounding the lodge, and

the perfect vantage point from

which to soak up the site’s


For conferences we can set

the lodge to accommodate a

range of options with or without

screens and staging, up to 140

seated theatre style and 80

cabaret style. We are popular

for product launches and also

have parking for 100 cars, air

conditioning and on site AV.

What services do you offer?

Amber Lakes is offered on a

dry hire basis with a preferred

list of caterers, AV companies,

marquee suppliers etc. It’s

the job of our events team to

know the businesses we work

with inside out, enabling us to

make recommendations and

introductions to suppliers matching

a client’s style and budget.

How do you work with your

customers to make their events


It is true that every event we have

hosted at Amber Lakes since

launching last year has been

completely unique. The preferred

suppliers list allows clients to pick

and choose businesses that truly

match their vision, and our team is

here to make sure this is achieved

as seamlessly as possible.













How do you publicise yourself?

Most of the events so far have

been through word of mouth. That

being said we have exhibited at a

number of event expos, and taken

out advertising in magazines such

as PA Life. We also ran a festivalstyle

showcase in March with many

of our preferred suppliers helping

us produce the show to which we

invited event planners.

How would you describe your

‘style’ or unique selling point?

Amber Lakes is a luxurious venue

finished to the highest of standards

overlooking beautiful lakes and

greenery. Yet it is a space that also

achieves a sense of retreat and calm.

Have you worked with any

consultants, and how have they

helped you?

At the very beginning we worked

with a consultant who was

invaluable in putting together a

business model to get us started.

From there we used the 15+ years

of experience in our events team

to help us steer the business in the

right direction.

What are your plans for next


2019 is promising to be very busy,

with lots of events for corporate

fishing days, summer parties etc.

coming in. For us, as a venue so

focussed on the outdoors, we

really rely on a successful May–

October. The fantastic weather

we all enjoyed this summer will

certainly help!

Describe your average day


On an event day it really is all hands

on deck to make sure the client is

happy and everything runs to plan.

It’s also important to us that our



suppliers are comfortable and get

everything they need.

What do you enjoy about the

business and why?

Members of the team at Amber

Lakes feel very lucky to be able to

come to work here every day. Seeing

a client’s or guest’s face when they

first see the space is a reminder of

quite how lucky we are to work in

such beauty.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in?

At the moment we offer the venue

primarily for exclusive use, and with

a link to the recreational side of

fishing or sailing. We include within

the venue hire use of a small fishing

boat and captain so guests can take

to the water in style and try their

hand at catching one of the lake’s

hidden treasures!

What are you most proud of?

For us it’s all about the client’s

feedback after the event. Coming

together to make someone’s

wedding day for example is a true

privilege to be involved in.

What advice could you give

to someone coming into the


Get as much experience as you

can. Plenty of businesses now offer

fantastic internship programmes

which will give you hands on

experience on what being in

events is all about.



Four Seasons -


Papakata -

Raj Tent Club -

Stunning Tents -


Folly Hire –


Bespoke Events -

Beyond Certainty -

LUX Technical -



Amber Lakes

Welley Road



TW19 5EP

0207 534 0545


Marquees & Glamping Tents

Bespoke Design Service

Designed & Made in the UK

01453 767171




Small is Beautiful

Kelly Chandler runs us through wedding trends that favour the smaller venue


DON’T THINK you have the space to

host weddings? Think again… The

wedding market has changed, boy,

how it has changed. The industry of

my 2003 start up wedding planning

business bears no resemblance

to its 2018 sister and I couldn’t be

happier about that.

The wedding rule book has

most definitely been booted out

and has heralded such an exciting

array of options and experiences

for today’s millennial couples who

are knocking down doors (and

tents and outdoor spaces!) to get

at them.

So this month’s feature focuses in

on a few of the big and little things

about weddings you may not know,

or may have skipped over, that

could bring more revenue into your

places and spaces.


While you’ll read a lot about

weddings having become large,

complex and detail-oriented you

may not know that there is in fact a

second trend for small and beautiful


A lot of couples are looking at

doing things differently and what

feels right for them. For many this

is a smaller and more intimate

wedding ceremony and celebration.

20 guests is not unusual, 40-50

guests very customary and there

is very much a small but growing

market for the cheeky elopement,

usually somewhere gorgeous

and luxurious or quirky and

adventurous where a couple can

just be themselves and celebrate

their union a deux.

I’m hearing from more

independent wedding planner

colleagues, who used to report

guest lists of 100+ as the norm,

that they are being asked to

plan weddings with 50-70 guests

much more often. It is of course

sometimes a question of budget

restrictions but not always – it’s not

a new trend that couples decide to

invite fewer guests to a destination

wedding, spending the same

amount but over multiple days or in

funding and hosting different things

than perhaps a traditional wedding


I’ve written before about the

trend for multi-day and weekend

weddings, and the trend for small

and beautiful goes hand in hand

with this. A growing number of

millennial couples are seeking

more quality time with their special

guests over a longer time period

and cutting down their guest list to

accommodate this.

So if you have spaces that don’t

tick the 80+ guest list, this doesn’t

mean you can’t host weddings.

You can play to your strengths and

market options for those smaller

celebrations - it’s most definitely

not just the second timer, older or



budget conscious couple thinking

this way now. Be careful as you

pitch and don't make assumptions

about who your 'smaller' wedding

customer will be - create options

that your 20 somethings can enjoy

and aspire to as well.


Weddings are absolutely year

round and have been for a long

time now. While our good old

British weather does provide

some challenges for truly outdoor

ventures, a lot of venues have

taken major measures to heat,

weatherproof and otherwise make

their spaces usable year round,

and with great success. December

is one of the most popular months

and, while cost adjustments are

usually needed for the likes of

November and January to March,

weddings do happen and should be


You do however need to work

harder at attracting winter

business, so if you want to develop

things think seriously about the


› Ensure you produce winter

related images. You may need

to stage a winter photo shoot if

winter weddings are new to you

– summer images don’t cut it

› Talk about winter specifically and

reassure clearly and proactively

in all of the text about the sorts

of things people will worry about

like heat, light, weather and what

you have in place to overcome

these things

› Inspire couples with the benefits

of a winter wedding – delightful

food and drink, gorgeous warm

lighting, and how they don’t

need to rely on the weather to

create their dream day.

You need to work harder at selling

this but it’s well worth doing,

particularly if you need to balance

out your bookings, your cash flow

and make your space work harder

across the year.

Other Trends

Here’s a list and some quick

explanations on other wedding

events that you may well be perfect

for and can add on to your existing

offers or create new ones for new



We’re talking rehearsal dinners


(the night before the wedding),

and post-wedding day brunches.

Weddings today can be multi-day

and multi-venue so be sure to look

out for opportunities to host these

activities and proactively promote

them. You might for example be

able to partner with a local venue

that hosts larger numbers to be

the ideal location for their couples'

pre-wedding rehearsal dinners

(perhaps 20-30 guests) or relaxed

outdoor festival brunch


Very much in favour by the couple

of today. They will put the big

honeymoon on hold to allow

themselves more time to recover

from the spending on the wedding

day and instead of heading straight

off on honeymoon will plan a minimoon.

This might be a two night

UK stay somewhere lovely and cosy

where they can have a get-away

and time together. It doesn't always

have to be super-luxe – gone are

the days of the bride dressing

in her “going away” outfit and

associated wedding formality. The

2019 couple is more likely to fancy a

two night stay in a cosy shepherd’s

hut where they can be at one with

nature, relax, not worry about

appearance and can reminisce over

their brilliant wedding day. Can you

create a specific mini-moon package


Kelly Chandler is a longterm

preferred service

provider for exclusive

venues such as Syon Park,

Highclere Castle, Spencer

House and Stoke Park

Club. Kelly’s consulting

services to wedding

venues draw on prior

experience in international

conference and event

planning, over 15 years of

business management,

and working directly

with discerning couples

planning their weddings

in diverse locations

and forging successful

relationships with all

components of the

wedding industry. A former

director of trade body

The Alliance of Wedding

Planners, Kelly is a

well-regarded innovator,

mentor, trainer and

industry spokesperson

on and in the wedding



with some extra treats and spoils at

your location?


Yes, this is very much a thing.

Weddings are all about the personal

and all about the detail, and this

starts earlier than you might think.

More effort than ever is put into

getting the proposal just right to

elicit that all important ‘yes’.

With our lives increasingly

covered on social media it’s hardly a

surprise that there is more pressure

for that setting, backdrop and

moment to be perfectly planned

and considered (I certainly can’t say

my own marriage proposal 20 years

ago fitted this description).

There is even a growing trend

for hiring in professional proposal

planners (the likes of The Proposers

- to

execute a truly “one in a million”

experience. Whether it’s a money

can’t buy backdrop, jaw-dropping

décor, or a proposal that requires

a thousand helpers to execute, this

could well be a market to explore for

your venue.

If you have special places and

unique spaces, then you could

consider opening up your doors

and marketing for unique wedding

proposals – often these are very

short and rewarding events in every







From marquees to event structures, mobile catering to

staging equipment, we have a range of outdoor and event

financing solutions to help you invest in the equipment you

need and protect your working capital.

01420 481 500

Bluestar Leasing is a trading name of Blue Star Business Solutions Limited which is Authorised

and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.




One of the UK’s leading scare attraction experts

Michael Bolton illustrates why our appetite

for fear offers landowners a very profitable

opportunity not only in October but potentially

all year round


YOU’VE HAD a good summer season and

you are looking forward to a few quiet

winter months before the Christmas

festivities. Do you sit back and chill, or do

you join the growing band of attraction

and as land owners who celebrate the

UK’s fastest growing holiday tradition? Yes,

Halloween is so big now that some of the

bigger attractions, like Tulleys Shocktober

Fest, pull in over 80,000 visitors on an

average of about £40 per head! Halloween is

big business and the general public’s desire

to be scared seems to just keep growing.

So why is it so popular? We could go into

pages theorising on why scare attractions

work, but the key point is that people

love to have fun as a group. We love to be

scared, and we love it even more when we

see our friends scared. We cling to loved

ones in the dark and we scream, and then

we laugh about what we experienced. For

a short time, the only thing in your mind is

wondering what is about to jump out next

and any thoughts of work stress, Brexit or

anything else fades into insignificance!

So, what is required for a scare event?

There really is no set pattern, the only limit

being your imagination. While some of

the bigger events such as Hallowscream

at York Maze and Fear at Avon Valley work

around a central arena with attractions built

in standalone marquees and/or packing

containers, others such as Fear Fest Evil in

Chepstow utilise the natural location and

send guests on a 60 minute walk along an

abandoned quarry railway. In fact, some of

the more unique events stand out because

of their location, and the UK has seen scare

attractions built in abandoned buildings,

woodlands, stately homes, prehistoric caves

and more. It really is a matter of seeing what

is available and working with it.

Scaresville at Kentwell Hall recently won

the annual SCAR award for best multi part

scare event. The experience is one long

trail through woodlands, outbuildings and

the old stables of the estate. When setting

up the show originally, the creative team

looked at what was available to them and

designed the attraction around what they

had. The organic growth of the event has

been a family undertaking and apart from

externally sourcing props and effects, has all

been created in house.

That said, when starting something new,

many attractions work with an external

consulting company as they may have no

idea where to start. There are multiple

production companies who between them

have years of experience creating scare

events, and the services they offer could

range from a simple one-off consult as to

the viability of an event through to full scale

design, production and operation. The

choice of which way to go is purely down

to budget and how much involvement you

want in your own event.


So, you’ve assessed the land and buildings

available, and designed something you

think will scare people, but then the hard

work really begins – getting the name out

there so people come and visit. Fortunately,

the public are now quite aware of scare

attractions and what they are, but in an

ever-growing market, attractions need to

stand out. This is where a good marketing

and social media presence comes in and

it’s no surprise that most events these

Kentwell Hall in

Suffolk, home to

Scaresville – a

haunted village

that appears in

the grounds every




days seem to hold media and press events,

reaching out to social media influencers for

instant viral marketing.

But is Halloween profitable? In a word

yes. But you do have to be careful. It is

very easy to spend a lot of money on cool

props, effects and extra actors, when all you

actually need is a bit of inspired creativity.

Some of the most impressive effects and

scares have been created more out of

necessity as there hasn’t been the budget

available. Also, it is important to understand

how much your audience will pay for your

experience and look carefully at the target

demographic. Scare Kingdom Scream

Park near Blackburn has some of the most

elaborate scare attractions in the UK but is

a fraction of the price of similar attractions

down south. The price point appeals to

locals and the event sells out every year.

Like any venture, there is a lot to consider,

but there genuinely is a market out there

for more Halloween events and scare

attractions. With the season falling over

the October half term period, people are

looking for things to do and if you have

land or buildings sitting empty you could

be putting them to better use. It’s also

worth mentioning that secondary spend is

massive and it comes as no surprise that

most events offer food, drink and even


We would advise anyone even

considering opening a scare event to visit

ScareCON – the annual convention for scare

attraction owners and designers. This is a

great place to meet other operators, props

suppliers and production companies to find

out what has worked for them in the past.

The summer show also hosts the prestigious

SCAR awards ceremony - an accolade that

all events eagerly compete for.

I hope this article has given you a taste

of what is possible and has maybe inspired

you to take the plunge. It’s a very satisfying

feeling hearing people scream. It may sound

weird but if they are screaming then they’re

having fun. And after all, that’s what it is all



25 Years of Halloween

at Tulleys Farm

Michael Bolton gives a brief history of the farm's Halloween

diversification, which has positioned it as the UK's number

one scare attraction

A BRIEF history of a farm’s

Halloween diversification which

has positioned it as the UK’s No.1

scare attraction

The farming business at Tulleys

was started by Bernard Beare.

In the early 1970s, Bernard's

son Denis saw the potential for

Pick Your Own and, with his wife

Marion, set about turning Tulleys

Farm in Crawley into one of the

largest Pick Your Own farms in

the area. Denis and Marion's

son, Stuart, joined the farming

business in 1991, the farm shop

was opened in the summer of

1992 and the tearoom followed

in 1996.

Stuart is not a conventional

farmer and his passion for

creating experiences has led to the

creation of Tulleys Shocktober

Fest in October, which has

repeatedly won the title of the

UK’s No.1 Halloween Attraction.

The festival is now the

UK's biggest Halloween

event, featuring eight attractions,

roaming characters and

fairground rides, attracting over

80,000 visitors each year.


n 1994 - The farm opened a small

fête style event and called it the

Pumpkin Festival.

n 1995 - This was the first year

running a proper Halloween

event as the farm was trying

to build momentum around

pumpkin sales. It ran the Pumpkin

Festival from mid-October, with

a pumpkin carving competition,

fête-type games, maggot racing

and about 300 visitors.


Michael Bolton has been

visiting and reviewing scare

events for over 20 years and

runs ScareTOUR, the UK’s

biggest news and reviews

site for the industry. He has also

consulted and advised on a number of large UK

attractions. For further details of ScareCON or to

talk through possible options for your own venue,

contact Michael through or


n 1996 - More side games were

added, as well as a new Spook Hunt

attraction for families.

n 1997 - A straw bale maze was

created but was not very successful.

The pre-cursor to The Creepy

Cottage was opened - a small walk

through a haunted house built with

simple props and no animation.

The event ran for nine days over the

October half term.

n 1998 - The Creepy Cottage was

built with a computer controlled

pneumatic prop system and

more effects. This version of the

Creepy Cottage remained virtually

unchanged for a few years

n 1999 - This year was about

consolidating and developing

the event with an extra opening

weekend added.

n 2000 - The Spooky Trail was

added which still runs in the

daytime today as a treasure hunt

for children around a simple maize


n 2001 - Same as 2000.

n 2002 - The Spooky Wagon ride

was added for the daytime event,

running until 7pm each evening

over half term.

n 2003 - The Haunted Hayride

debuted properly with 12 scenes

in the woods and three trailers

running. With the farm open until

9pm, and with Creepy Cottage

running and the Spooky Trail, the

park had over 15,000 visitors.

n 2004 - The loading platform and

the station were redesigned to

allow more efficient loading and

unloading of the Haunted Hayride.

n 2005 - The Field of Screams - a

walk through a maze field with live

actors and effects - was added to

bring the attraction tally up to three.

n 2006 - The Haunted Hayride

was extensively refurbished with a

further 10 scenes added.

n 2007 - The park had a general

reorganisation with a new

admission area and an additional

food court added. The entrance

to the Field of Screams was also


n 2008 - Further additions were

made to the infrastructure with a

fun fair included and additional

ticket booths added.

n 2009 - The Cellar and It's Curtains

mazes were added as part of a new

events area, taking the park up to

five attractions.

n 2010 - The line-up remained

similar but the It’s Curtains maze

was expanded.

n 2011 - New attraction Hell-

Ements was added to the line-up.

This was the UK's first "hooded"


n 2012 - This year The Field was

replaced with a new attraction - Dr

Plague's Terror Trail and It's Curtains

was rebranded to Twisted.

n 2013 - This was the year the park

took on a more festival vibe with

large stages and live music added.

Dr Fear's Terror Trail was replaced

with Woodshock: Rottin’ Since 69.

n 2014 - The Tunnel was built in the

field and a new Silver Screen scare

zone was added. A dedicated visitor

services building was created.


2015 - Twisted evolved to

become Nightshade Circus. Two

brand new attractions were added

- The Chop Shop and The Volt - and

the field once again changed into a

new attraction called The Colony.

This was, by far, the biggest event

Tulleys had created with a second

music stage added, a total of eight

attractions and over 60,000 visitors.

n 2016 - The Coven of 13 was

built into a new part of the site

and more changes were made to

the event arena, creating a new

Ghost Town with a mid-way games

area. A second music stage was

added and the Twisted maze had a

rebrand to become a 3D attraction -

PanDEMONium's 3D Carnival.

n 2017 – Hellements was

rebranded to VIXI with some new

effects extending the experience.

The Coven of 13 was also extended

with new scenes in the woodlands.

n 2018 – For its 25th year, the park

has added a live entertainment

show from the Circus of Horrors,

while extending The Cellar with a

new theme – Imprisoned. /



7 & 8

NOV 2018










LIVE 2018

Lorem ips











0117 929 6087







How venues hosting conferences and business

events can make a real impact on reducing waste


THE EVENT industry is very good

at jumping on a bandwagon;

Brexit, apprenticeships and the

gender-pay-gap to name but a few.

It squeezes a big picture topic

or worthy cause to fit its own selfworth

then slaps itself on the back

or mops its brow – but perhaps

the industry actually needs to look

internally before weighing in on

external debates?

This sector is very vocal when it

wants a quick media hit. However,

we are more often than not

slow to get our act together and

ultimately other industries don’t

want to listen to the moans of the

meetings market.

As an industry we have a huge

problem about to hit and it’s time

to address the big elephant in

the room. Our colleagues in retail

and public catering are currently

struggling to come to terms with

their consumption of drinking

straws and plastics. For the event

sector the ramifications are far, far


› think of any event and the cups,

the plates and the ‘disposables’

used in catering

› think of the giveaways that

are ever present, such as pens,

stress balls and gift bags.

With some large event venues

hosting 10,000 guests over a three

day period, the figures become

far more explosive than a few

thousand straws in the capital’s

destination restaurants and

cocktail bars.

While plastic is an urgent

matter that needs addressing,

the hospitality and events sector

struggles with its conscience

around being sustainable in

general. Plastic is a very real topic

and we need to address it but

taking a more holistic approach

is the answer. Banning straws is

a great move, we’ve all seen Blue

Planet, but we can’t just stop


there and think we’ve done our

bit. Straws have disappeared but

plastic drinking bottles are given

away without thought, wooden

cutlery is handed out with a lunch

packaged in plastic. Let’s get

smart, ditch the quick fixes and

think long term.

Let’s take the plastic bag policy

as an example. In 2015, the law

changed, requiring large shops in

England to charge 5p for all singleuse

plastic carrier bags. The policy

was introduced in an attempt to

reduce their use and the litter they

can cause by encouraging people

to reuse bags.

At first this evoked national

outrage, “What effect will reusing














plastic bags have?” people cried

while tabloid papers predicted a

descent into ‘chaos’. That was until

it was revealed that in the first six

months the number of single-use

plastic bags used by shoppers in

England plummeted by more than

85%. Also, a recent study by Cefas

revealed since the 5p charge on

plastic bags was introduced, which

has taken over 9 billion plastic

bags out of circulation, there has

been an estimated 50% reduction

in plastic bag marine litter - long

live the turtles!

Now it’s second nature to go

to the shop with a back pack, a

Bag For Life and a couple of extra

totes, proof that these seemingly



small changes are having a huge

effect on the environment. I’m not

saying we should force a levy onto

everything, but perhaps the moral

of the story is that behaviours can

change and those changes make a


It is our responsibility to look

after our planet so let's get serious

about plastic and food waste.

Event organisers need to be

thinking about the environmental

impact of an event before it’s

begun. Can anything be recycled

or reused from a previous event?

Do you really need so much food?

Can plastic water bottles be traded

in for water filling stations or a

simple jug?

Sustainability initiatives and

waste reduction processes need

to be routinely included in the

pre and post event strategy and

responsibility shared between the

venue and the event organiser.

Start small and go from there,

it’s definitely a case of breaking

old habits and realising that trying

to become more sustainable as a

person and a business is not ‘too

much effort’. There are plenty

of tools online that offer free

advice, and try looking towards

businesses that are already

paving the way on such issues. 15

Hatfields, a leading sustainable

events venue in central London,

recently gave away saplings in

compostable packaging instead of

pens at an exhibition.

Another useful resource is OLIO,


Andrew White is

MD of Triggerfish

Communications, a

specialist in helping

heritage venues and

leisure attractions

build awareness and

market share in the

business of events.

BELOW Unwanted

promotional pens

can be put to

better use

a pioneering app which helps

to pass on unused or unwanted

food. OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes

programme provides volunteers

to pick up and redistribute unsold

or unused food from businesses

at the end of the day and offers

guidance on what can and can’t be

passed on as this is often a worry

for corporate companies.


As an industry we need to square

up to what’s ahead by being less

opportunistic with matters that

are not as relevant or prevalent.

Banning plastic and tackling the

huge problem of waste in the

events sector with more gusto

than just removing straws from

the bar top will have far greater

resonance and thought leadership

than trying to jump on many of the

UK’s other issues.

At Triggerfish we attend

many events and exhibitions

and often notice, amongst

other unnecessary items of

merchandise, a sea of branded

biros ready to give away to

potential clients. But, we

pondered, what happens to those

pens after the event and is there

a way we can avoid them going

to landfill. With that in mind, at

this year’s SquareMeal Venues +

Events Live we simply encouraged

exhibitors to donate the leftover

pen and pencil giveaways to

Triggerfish. In turn we arranged

for them to go to schools and

orphanages who need them far

more than the show’s tech savvy

Insta-tanious visitor.

Our premise is simple, we want

to encourage tomorrow’s artists

and wordsmiths. So, rather than

letting the exhibitors’ surplus

pens and pencils go to landfill

or sit unforgotten in a draw, we

encouraged them to help us pen

a better education for children in

schools and orphanages overseas

who often struggle to fund such


The support from the events

industry was unanimous and

we are delighted to be helping

children overseas in furthering

their education and enjoying

the simple pleasure and wonder

that ink and graphite can bring.

Searcys, The Science Museum,

Sodexo, Center Parcs, Tottenham

Hotspur and more were abundant

in their generosity and have

helped us gather the necessary

tools for those starting their


Our first shipment was sent

overseas to Malawi and we

are continuing to encourage

conference organisers, exhibitions

and venues large and small to

collect up pens and help us recycle

the 'write' way.

We have a responsibility to

future generations and can

genuinely create an impact in the

UK and across the business of

events. And all too often how you

can help is under your nose.



Sewage Treatment Systems

Electric Free Biomatic Systems

Stand 2424 at

The Farm Business

Innovation Show.

7-8 November 2018,

NEC Birmingham

B40 1NT.

Visit us on


For all residential,

commercial and

industrial applications

01295 236101 •





Wedding and party

venue in Somerset

Description: A new wedding

and party venue in Somerset

set up by an established

catering business

Service: Asset finance

Supplier: Bluestar Leasing

Telephone: 01420 481500


Details: Bluestar Leasing

recently helped a company

with its new business

venture of hosting corporate

parties and weddings. The

Somerset based business

had many years’ experience

providing catering for

functions across the UK. After

a very successful quarter the

customer decided to expand

by having their own venue to

host from.

Bluestar secured the

finance for a wide range of

items including a marquee,

catering equipment, heating

and furniture from multiple

suppliers. The cost totalled

£30,000 + VAT and was

placed on a three year term

with no deposit required

from the customer.

The finance was approved

within 24 hours with a

simple process and e-sign

documents. No director’s

guarantee was required and

suppliers were paid in full on


Protecting working capital

was key for the customer

and by spreading the cost

over 36 monthly payments of

£980 the business achieved

its goal. Since the launch

in August the business

has received a high level

of bookings and the new

venture looks to have a very

successful future ahead.

Feedback: “Excellent service

from start to finish - friendly

and professional”.


Brinsop Court,


Description: Brinsop Court is

a Grade 1 listed 12th Century

moated manor house just outside

Hereford City. It nestles within

its own 800 acre estate and

hosts multi day weddings and

celebrations on an exclusive-use


Service: Wedding venue

consultancy to increase bookings

Consultant: Kelly Chandler

Wedding Consulting

Telephone: 01483 282858 /

07721 093566

Website: www.kellychandler

Details: The team at Brinsop

got in touch and booked Kelly’s

‘Refine and Shine’ consulting

service for established wedding

venues. They were generally

performing well as a business,

still receiving a high volume of

enquiries and taking a good

number of wedding bookings.

However, they knew that there

was still room for improvement to

increase sales.

Kelly spent time analysing

Brinsop Court’s presence

remotely (website, marketing and

social media) then spent a day

with the full team getting under

the skin of the wedding business,

reviewing physical features of

the venue, logistics, the wedding

showround process and the

enquiry and sales process. Via

open discussions on the day

and the post-session report,

Kelly identified key areas for the

team to focus on and develop.

Via monthly follow up phone

sessions, she supported the team

to prioritise their actions, keep

moving forward and make the

changes and updates needed.

They did all of this during their

busiest wedding time of the

year (no easy task) and are

now consistently seeing a huge

uplift in quantity and quality of


Feedback: “Working with

Kelly has restored confidence

here at Brinsop Court. She

provided us with clear and useful

information that we’ve been able

to implement and are already

experiencing great results in just a

few short months.

“At the end of August 2018, we

had already exceeded our sales

figures for the whole of 2017. With

over four months to go to add to

those figures we were beyond

delighted with our results since

working with Kelly. We are fully

booked every weekend for private

hire from the end of March to the

end of September 2019. We are

thrilled with this.

“Kelly has such a great

understanding and so much

knowledge from all her

experience in the weddings and

events industry. She has very

kindly passed on all her tips,

tricks and industry secrets which

we have been so grateful for.

She is always on hand to ask

any questions, big or small, and

provides honest feedback.”


Polhawn Fort

Description: Set above the

secluded beach of Polhawn

Cove in Cornwall, Polhawn Fort

has outstanding sea and coastal

views. Couples can choose to

tie the knot inside the fort or go

for a more bohemian vibe out in

the venue’s summerhouse

Service: Wedding insurance

Supplier: Event Insurance


Telephone: 01425 470 360


Details: Polhawn Fort is a venue

that caters for some stunning

weddings on its grounds. The

events team recommends to

all wedding couples looking

to book their venue that they

take out wedding insurance.

This is to safeguard against a

variety of things; from failed

photos, damage to wedding

gifts, flowers and attire, to the

worst case of cancellation or

rearrangement of the wedding,

as well as essential public

liability cover.

A newly engaged couple

had their hearts set on the

beautiful location to celebrate

their big day. However, in

the run up to the wedding,

the couple had to make the

decision to cancel the wedding

on the booked date due to

unforeseen and unavoidable


Fortunately, they had

decided to take Polhawn

Fort’s advice and took out

insurance with Event Insurance

Services. The pair contacted

the claims team and explained

the situation stating that the

wedding could no longer go

ahead on the original date.

Event Insurance Services,

along with the events team

at Polhawn Fort, were able to

help move the wedding to a

later date, rather than cancel

the wedding totally. Having

the insurance in place meant

that the bride and groom were

able to rearrange the wedding

without any financial impact to

either themselves or the venue.

Feedback: Polhawn Fort

said :“We recommend to all

our wedding couples that

they take out insurance for

their wedding. Unfortunately

wedding cancellations are not

uncommon and things that

are unforeseen do happen.

Not only can insurance offer

couples some protection

should anything go wrong,

but it can also save a lot of

heartache and stress when

things do. It also provides us as

a venue some peace of mind

knowing that the wedding

couples have some extra

financial security.”




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Available in 5.3 metre or 7.2 metre length sizes with configurations

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Long Valley


Glamping pioneers Richard and

John didn't have it easy in the start

up years but now operate five sites

hosting a total of 100 guests a night

Friends since university, the intrepid Richard Coulter and John Maddy share a passion

for the outdoors that has resulted in a multi-site yurt glamping business with some

serious profit margins. We talk to John about how they work with landowners and how

their attention to detail and quality has paid dividends.

What is your team’s back story –

life before Long Valley Yurts?

That’s some time ago now…

Richard and I met at university

studying Environmental

Management and Outdoor

Education, and Outdoor Education

and Leadership respectively. We

became best friends and climbing

partners, which enhanced our love

for the outdoors and staying in wild


Richard left university and

went to work for a development

training organisation working with

corporate clients taking him to all

corners of the globe. In his spare

time he took groups on overland

expeditions as far afield as Peru.

















I went to work for Outward

Bound mountain school working

with young people using the

outdoors to facilitate development

and learning before moving into

corporate development training

working alongside Richard.

Describe your glamping operation

and what made you decide to

enter the industry

Richard and myself were both

working for another company and

wanted something different. We

both loved camping and outdoor

adventures and we spotted a gap in

the market for bringing friends and

families together through nature.

We knew if we could share our

passion for the outdoors and

outdoor living with others we could

potentially have the makings of

something special and new.

When did you open and how did

you research the business before

entering it?

When Long Valley Yurts started

in 2008 we were one of the first

glamping companies commercially

operating in the country. At that

point we had some experience of

yurts but certainly not holidays. The

UK market didn’t really know what

a yurt was let alone why they would

stay in one, especially in the Lake


There were none of the weird

and wonderful choices that there

are today. We knew we needed a

structure that was unique, spacious

and robust enough to stand up to

everything the Lake District weather

could throw at it! Having worked

out of yurts previously we knew this

would be the best solution.

What glamping accommodation

do you offer and why did you

choose it?

When we started, we quickly

learned that the UK weather

demanded a more robust product

than was currently available. After

researching extensively to no avail,

we decided to take things in house

and have our yurts manufactured



specifically for us. They meet our

high standards and specifications

and are perfect for use in the Lake

District in all weathers. They are

products that we trust and are

immensely proud of.

We currently operate from March

to November. Over winter we

refurbish and maintain all of our

structures, allowing us to keep our

product looking tip top and in the

best possible condition. This also

gives us a break!

Tell us about your locations and


Long Valley Yurts currently operates

from five stunning locations -

four in the Lake District National

Park and one in the Peak District

National Park. All our locations

offer something different for our

guests but fundamentally and

most importantly they offer the

opportunity to unplug from life and

reconnect with each other.

Great Langdale was our first

location and not only is it in a truly

stunning and wild setting in the

heart of the Lake District mountains

but it also provided us with the

name for our company with ‘Great

Langdale’ being the Norse for Long

Valley! We currently have three

yurts here.

Our Low Wray site comprises

six yurts and is situated on Lake

Windermere. It’s close to Ambleside,

Hawkshead and Windermere on

what is often referred to as the quiet

side of what is England’s largest


Moss Howe Farm is nestled in the

limestone foot hills of the southern

Lake District. The topography

here is very different – beautiful

limestone escarpments and very

close to the coast. We currently

have four yurts at Moss Howe,

three of which have their own

Scandinavian hot tubs.

Sykeside is our newest Lake

District location. We have two

yurts set in the jaw dropping

Dovedale Valley close to the banks

of Brotherswater. A short drive from

Ullswater, guests can explore the

beautiful Helvellyn range and the

eastern mountains.

We broke the mould with

Knotlow Farm in the Peak District,

our first site outside of the Lakes.

The site itself is a hidden gem; a

warm, friendly, family-run campsite

in the heart of the National Park.

Small and peaceful, the site is

surrounded by over 100 acres of

farmland, We have four yurts here,

two of them with hot tubs.

How did you tackle getting


We currently work with farmers,

landowners and existing campsites,

so depending on the location we

sometimes don’t require it. We

offer joint venture partnerships

and work with people to develop

their campsite or piece of land into

something very special.


We have evolved our product

over the years to what you see

today. This has been for many

reasons and planning has certainly

been a factor. For example, our

flooring looks very permanent

and solid but is actually very

transportable. The yurts also lend

themselves very well to being

mobile - as their original nomadic

routes demanded.

Every nut and bolt has been

meticulously thought about and

managed in order to maintain only

the highest standards of safety and

quality for our guests and partners.

How did you finance the project?

Did you use any grants?

We wish! Back when we started we

didn’t really have any support from

banks or grants and diversification

wasn’t the buzzword that it is

today. We set our first site up in

the Langdale Valley with two yurts,

a personal loan and a wing and a

prayer… By the end of the first year

we knew we were on to something

very special indeed.

















How did you work out your

brand and how do you publicise


We didn’t have any previous

marketing experience so we

learnt everything as we grew, but

unfortunately not always the easy

way. We went on lots of courses

and were selected to take part in

a government funded programme

about seven years ago called the

Growth Accelerator. We were paired

with a business specialist who we

worked with extensively to build

our brand from the ground up.

The journey we went on and the

brand we have created has formed

the backbone of our business and

filters every decision we make.

How would you describe your


Our ethos is to create amazing

spaces in amazing places, giving

people the ability to disconnect

from all the stresses of life and

reconnect with each other. We

offer “holidays with a breath of

fresh air”.

How did you choose your interior


Our spaces needed to be unique

and flexible. We needed to have a

space that was authentic, colourful

and comfortable. Quality is at the

heart of Long Valley Yurts and our

interiors reflect that too. We have

hand-picked authentic antique

furniture, installed cosy log burning

stoves, chosen beautiful Moroccan

rugs and lanterns, hung twinkling

fairy lights… it is definitely a

luxurious experience.

What challenges have you faced?

Probably as many as any small

business faces, one of which was

trying to create a ‘trend’ that no

one had heard of. Trying to drum up

support, convincing newspapers to

write about a new trend that was

going to sweep the UK market off

its feet!

Our supply chain was almost non

existent in the early years. We have

had to work tirelessly over the last

10 years with all our suppliers to

create something environmentally



sustainable that we were all proud

of. Working with these suppliers, we

had to invent, create, design and

tailor every element of our business

to the point it’s at today. New

glamping businesses don’t have

this problem today as most of this

is available now online in one form

or another.

What are your plans for next


We are currently developing some

of our existing and new locations

to offer weddings. An exciting

venture that will provide a totally

unique and romantic offer for lots

of couples.

We are also designing technology

that will revolutionise off-grid spa

experiences for the industry and we

are hoping to bring this to market

next year.

There may be one or two more

new sites added next year too as

we are constantly looking for new

locations and partners.

Describe your average day midseason

No day is the same! It could involve

H&S inspections on site and site

partner meetings to designing new

equipment for the following year

and helping our guests. We are

training new staff for the future and

investing in new professional roles

in the industry. We are constantly

evolving the business and trying

to drive it forward. We work with

manufacturers to test new products

and feedback real time information

for the industry. So you could say

it’s fairly varied!

What do you enjoy about the


We love what we have created, and

it’s this reason we still love it. We

are in charge of our own destiny. We

















have created an offering that was

born in a recession, grew in the rain

of the Lake District and convinced

the masses to abandon technology

and reconnect with each other face

to face again. As a business this has

made us well over a £million.

What are you most proud of?

Being one of the early pioneers of

glamping in the UK and creating

an experience that gives over 100

people a night memories that will

last a lifetime.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in?

We offer consultancy services for

individuals looking to diversify and

are working with other locations

to develop the Long Valley Yurts

family. We are also currently

developing our offer to the wedding


What advice could you give

to someone coming into the


The good thing about setting a

business up today is that there

is a lot of help, information and

financial support. Take your time

and research your idea - do you

need a robust product that will

stand the test of time, or do you

want to ‘stack them high and

sell them cheap’? Research your

target market and demographic

and create a solid business plan

checked by someone who knows

what they are talking about (this

might not be the banks).

Always buy the best quality

things you can afford; it may seem

expensive at first but will pay

dividends in the future!

Most of all, enjoy what you’re

doing. It will be the hardest thing

you have ever done in your life but

worth every minute. Let us know

how you get on! We wish you the

best of Luck - John and Richard.



Low Wray National Trust Campsite

Crieff Road

Ambleside LA22 0JA

Great Langdale National Trust


Great Langdale

Near Ambleside LA22 9JU

Moss Howe Farm Campsite


Grange-Over-Sands LA11 6SA

Sykeside Campsite


Hartsop CA11 0NZ

Knotlow Farm Campsite


Buxton SK17 9QP

01539 733 044


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with Kate Morel

Seminars, exhibitions, roadshows and

site visits – does this woman ever stop?!


Kate Morel’s consultancy work

specialises in the alternative

and glamping accommodation

sector, offering feasibility reports

and creating concepts for new

developments. Her advice brings

a clear and experienced focus

to proposed projects, and she

understands that successful

glamping businesses rely on

creativity as well as sound

financials, keeping an eye on both.

Kate has also teamed up with other

industry specialists to create Morel

& Co, which is supporting projects

with expert planning application

advice, bespoke designs and

structure installation. Specialising

in design-led projects - treehouses,

cabins and natural builds such

as roundhouses - the team brings

refreshingly honest advice, indepth

experience and genuine

enthusiasm to every project. Get in

touch or visit / www.

Join Kate’s Facebook business

support group by searching

Glamping Business Link.

IT’S THAT time of year

again with back to back

industry events, annual

conferences, summits

and get-togethers. The

annual Glamping Show was

held at Stoneleigh Park in

September, with a well-

attended seminar programme

and a wide range of exhibitors.

There were also new product

launches, such as the Timber Tipi,

and an astonishing infra-red solar-powered

heating system by Universal Glamping.

The European glamping specialists got

together to discuss what’s going on in respective

countries and to get a feel for how the European

landscape is shaping up overall. Individual

country issues aside, it was interesting to

note that similar trends for higher end, more

experiential, and proper ‘back to nature’

glamping, are gaining momentum throughout.

I also had many other conversations with

industry colleagues about how the sector is

developing, new products and companies

entering the marketplace, as well as those who

have already departed.

Dare I mention ‘the B word’? Some

conversations also pondered the effects

of Brexit – London demonstrations

notwithstanding. In the event of us leaving

the EU, the withdrawal of rural development

funds could see less projects going ahead,

while, perhaps ironically, the withdrawal of EU

subsidies would see more landowners looking

to diversify. I hear conflicting information about

how imports and exports may or may not be

affected, even so, for our industry, an impact

on costs of imported timber and cheap pods

and cabins from Europe isn’t to be entirely


Another subject that came up many times

was the lack of research and consultation

being undertaken by some before deciding on

ABOVE The GlampRad, an ultra

efficient, sewn in heating system

from Universal Glamping

LEFT A miniature sized demo

model of the new Timber Tipi


a glamping business model,

choosing the accommodation

structure, and submitting the

planning application. Having been asked

to get involved in such projects some way down

the line, I have to say it’s a dispiriting situation

because unless they have the necessary

additional funds (and personal motivation) to

invest in rectifying the project, what’s done is

done. While some resulting sites might still do

well, in an industry that’s developing so fast,

and with other influencing factors now on the

horizon, surely it pays to do one’s homework?

On a personal note, the Glamping Show

was a slightly different experience for me this

year, because as well as running workshops

and seminars, one of the new businesses being

launched there was my own new venture,

Morel & Co. And very interesting it was too,

with enquiries and discussions about planning

permissions, bespoke treehouses, cabins, and

even iron-age roundhouses. The show ended

on a high with team members Leigh, Carwyn,

Allan and myself being interviewed by TV

presenter Max McMurdo. The resulting video

gets the message across nicely - even though

my performance is best described as ‘rabbit in

headlights’ - the boys however were as cool as


‘Be My Guest Roadshow’ in Torquay was next

on the calendar, their roadshows are always well

attended, with a good mix of local and national

exhibitors and informative seminars. After that

was the Carmarthenshire Tourism Summit, with

a great range of local suppliers, producers and

companies. I’d like to extend a diolch yn fawr to

the Carmarthenshire Tourism Association for

asking me to give the headline seminar.





I FLEW to Scotland recently to provide two

workshops for the Friends of Loch Lomond

and the Trossachs, along with a tour of the

region to view potential and existing sites.

They very kindly arranged for me to stay

at Loch Katrine Eco Lodges, which blends

beautifully into the landscape amidst the

trees. The view from the rear window was

of woodland, edged with undisturbed

boulders still covered in moss. Through

the front glazed wall were views of the

loch itself with steamship, Sir Walter Scott,

serenely moored on the opposite bank. It

was absolutely idyllic.

Thank you to James Fraser for

highlighting glamping as a key leisure

initiative in the area, to Jared Bowers

for organising the workshops (and

picking me up at silly o’clock due to a

cancelled flight), and to Gordon Allen and

his staff at Loch Katrine Eco Lodges for

superb Scottish hospitality - right down

to little chilled bottles of bubbly and a

champagne glass in the fridge.

The glamping industry is still in its

infancy in Scotland and there remains a

huge amount of untapped potential with

existing sites achieving remarkable rental

fees. On a personal level, I was enchanted

by the beauty of the area, little wonder it’s

a favourite shoot location for movies and

TV series such as Outlander. Fortuitously,

I’m planning to return just after the

Farm Business Innovation Show to visit

potential sites and projects, which I have

to say I am really looking forward to.


Whisk me Away

TO THE captivating Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge resort

in Botswana. ‘A timeless explorer’s lodge that beats with

the pulse of wild Africa’, where elephants stroll by in their

natural habitat and the Milky Way illuminates the night sky.

Activities include a game hide for watching the animals

from (elephants in particular), safari drives and trips to

see ancient rock art and baobab trees. A tour of all three of

Belmond's resorts would be a trip of a lifetime, a proposal

here would be unforgettable and a celebration package

would be exceptional… and did I mention there were


All it needs is a Robert Redford look-a-like to wash my hair

by the river… or maybe I’ll stick with the elephants!

Till next time, Kate

Up & Coming

NEXT UP is the Farm Innovation Show, held at the NEC on 7-8

November, also incorporating Country House, Destination Hotel

& Spa, Holiday Park & Resort, and Leisure Hospitality & Tourism

World. It’s an inspiring event, clients of mine that attended for the

first time last year were most impressed so do come along if you’re

looking for business ideas. When I’m not on the Glamping Q&A

Panel and giving seminars I’ll be with Morel & Co’s exhibition stand

so hopefully see you there, it’s always good to meet OAB readers…

Oh, and wear comfy shoes, it’s a big show!

Be My Guest will be in Lincolnshire, at Skegness on 13 November

with an in depth seminar from Google Digital Garage between

11.30am–12.50pm. This was hugely popular at the Torquay event

so grab your seat early.

One event that I couldn’t get to this year, but is definitely in my

diary for 2019, is the Salon Atlantica at La Rochelle in France –

because with just under 500 exhibitors it’s quite likely the biggest

glamping related show in the world (see




Imagine my


Marketing expert Sarah Orchard explains the real cost of a negative online review


IT’S BEEN estimated that a

negative customer review on

YouTube, Twitter or Facebook

can cost a company about 30

customers. It’s a pretty scary

statistic isn’t it?

Social media is a great way of

getting your marketing messages

to a wide audience. From

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

to YouTube, there’s no arguing with

its effectiveness in building brand

awareness and giving guests a

reason to visit your glampsite. Until

you fall foul of a negative opinion,

that is – and then it feels like there’s

no place to hide. Because an awful

lot of people are going to see it!

Making a complaint used to

mean writing a Mr or Mrs ‘Angry’

letter to a company’s customer

service department or returning

to a store to demand a refund. It

was largely a private interaction

between two parties, unless you

told a few friends along the way to

never use that particular company,

or you had a slanging match with

the store manager and attracted a

large crowd. But now, even the

opinion of just one person can

be shared with hundreds

or even thousands of other

potential customers in an




Such is the fear factor of negative

online reviews on TripAdvisor,

Facebook and Google, that it’s

probably one of the most common

concerns that crops up when I

discuss the use of blogging and

social media as part of a marketing

plan with glamping business

clients. Nobody wants to risk their

reputation or the possibility of

losing or alienating guests because

of a negative online review, but

shying away from social media

presents (potentially) an even

greater risk – that of losing out on

exposure and the ability to target

your ideal guests.

It may feel like you don’t have full

control of your brand online – and

it’s true, you don’t. Total control is


history. The days of pushing out

marketing messages and expecting

your audience to simply listen and

do what you want are long gone.

What we have now is a two-way

dialogue. And that’s priceless.



Online reviews give you instant

access to your guests’ thoughts

and feelings. You can get a good

understanding of how your recent

guests perceive your glampsite,

and all feedback – good or bad

– provides a way of measuring

success and ensuring continual

improvement of the glamping

experience you have created and

are actually delivering.

If someone does leave a negative

comment, don’t feel humiliated or

upset. Okay, that’s easy to say and

you probably will feel hurt initially.

But pick yourself up and look on

it as an opportunity. Yes, really.

A guest has brought

something to your attention – you

may not have even been aware of

it, so this is your chance to make

a positive change about that

particular element of your glamping

experience. Show that you’re

prepared to listen – address their

concerns, offer a partial refund, or

another stay at a discounted rate

to show that you have put it right.

Do whatever is necessary to give

your guest a sense of satisfaction



and resolution. Be considerate and

sincere in your response. Be seen to

respond promptly to the feedback

and then take further discussion

offline to resolve fully.

Get it right and you will actually

build greater customer loyalty

and trust. Others will see that you

actually care about keeping your

guests happy. And that negative will

become a positive.



When delivering an experience it is

almost impossible to get it 100 per

cent spot on, 100 per cent of the

time. So you may get a negative

comment once in the while. It’s

been shown that future guests

looking at TripAdvisor, Facebook or

Google reviews tend to take things

on balance and look at feedback

scores overall.

If the majority of guests gave four

to five star reviews, the one that

left a one star review is unlikely

to sway them from staying. That

one negative review might be

because the guest chose the wrong

glampsite for them and your

future guests may even realise this

when reading it. So one negative

review, although disappointing, is

not the end of the world for your



Your speed of response is vital.

Your glamping guests will be using

sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook

and Google so reviews here should

be monitored regularly. Always,

always, always monitor the reviews

you receive and act immediately on

any that are negative. Post a reply

and then take it offline to continue

the dialogue and fully resolve the

issue. If you’re lucky, that customer

will then feel compelled to write

a new review about the excellent

customer service they have just


No matter how bad it may be, do

resist the urge to remove a negative

online review. Guests may even

be suspicious of reviews that are

nothing less than glowing and give

five stars. Follow my advice and

even negative reviews will end up

working in your favour.


Sarah Orchard helps owners of glamping sites and other hospitality

businesses get their marketing approach spot on to get more bookings

without using expensive online agents. She is a professionally qualified

Chartered Marketer with over 25 years’ of hands-on marketing experience in

travel and tourism. Sarah is also currently developing and launching her

own glampsite with her husband – an exciting new venture and a big

learning curve too! For more on Sarah and her marketing services,

visit and




Nikkita Palmer gives her 2019 forecast for

interior trends, and explains how successful

design is more about people than ‘stuff’

WITH 2018 coming to a close and the glamping season slowing

down, we’ve had lots of enquiries about redesigning spaces for

2019. As the industry continues to grow, so does the competition

and sites are now looking for more unusual ways to draw in


As trends continue to move, I can’t help but feel that interiors

are becoming more about people, how they feel and how we want

to make them feel. While colour, pattern and surface helps to

embrace and communicate this, movements in society effect how

we as humans want to spend our time, and this trend in itself sits

beautifully with the glamping industry and the growth in popularity

of this type of holiday.


While the expression ‘experiences over things’ gives the impression

of little to no ‘stuff’, I like to think of the trend as a quality over

quantity scenario. As a culture, we are removing ourselves from

consumerism, as it has been previously known, by thinking more

practically about the things we own, buy and invest in. As an

experience in itself, glamping offers the perfect getaway for those in

search of more experience outside of their day to day lives. While the

structures you choose for your site are important, interiors can play

a huge part in making your site stand out from the rest, creating an

atmosphere and adding to the overall experience.

Think carefully when dressing your interior. Think what is

necessary to create the type of holiday you are marketing - is it

luxury, is it aimed at couples or is it families you want to attract?

Use these key customer profiles to help you decide what will

work and what won’t in your space. With glamping now replacing

old-fashioned camping for many, these holidays no longer involve

packing ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. And with mini-moons,

staycations and weekends away becoming even more popular, it is

essential to provide your guests with everything they need for their

break to create a true sense of escape, experience and luxury.

Sourcing products and homewares can be tricky when on a

budget, and the cheap and cheerful option is unlikely to bag you

your ‘ideal client’. Choose your accessories carefully and from

quality sources and suppliers; with thousands of start up small

businesses, the array of unusual products available is forever


We’ve been lucky enough to spend the last few months working

with Universal Glamping on its brand new structure, the GlampLoft

(pictured), creating on-trend interior furniture and homewares

for release in 2019. We worked closely with small UK businesses to

choose the best, most cost effective and trend based items, which

are ‘easy care’ and functional - think quality enamelware for dining



and cooking; it’s non-breakable, well made

and beautiful. Using this type of product

promotes a sense of nostalgia, a call back to

childhood camping, with the added modern

touch of luxury that glamping now stands



Pulling on the strings of nostalgia and

creating a story for your guests is essential

and this can be easily achieved with

carefully selected interior pieces. Use

photography to promote your site according

to how you want your guests to feel when

staying with you. Following a huge rise in

winter stays, pull on elements of hygge by

incorporating soft cosy blankets (we love

Neat Homewares’ self clean lambswool

luxury throws), soft pile and velvet cushions

and burnt reclaimed wood furniture for the

ultimate winter nest.

Small additions also make a big

difference. For those of you that supply

hampers, consider little furry friends when

stocking treats, with dogs now members of

the family a gentle nod of acknowledgment

is sure to please your guests. Add handmade

winter or autumnal wreaths to doors -

these are really fun to make and can be

made from natural pickings; we use willow

branches for the structure and add thistles,

corn and threaded conkers to decorate.

Adapt your spaces throughout the

seasons. With technologies ever improving,

invest in heating systems for your structures

to prolong the season into the autumn

and winter months. Another innovation

from the team at Universal Glamping is the

GlampRad. Proving that heating doesn’t

just have to come in ugly white units, it can

be stitched into canvas or encased in steel

panels depending on the space you want to


When making the furniture for the

GlampLoft we were keen to make the dining

table and benches lightweight so they

could be moved outside in the summer.

This was enhanced further with the sides

of the canvas structure opening to create

an indoor/outdoor space for those warmer

summer evenings. Play with these ideas so

that they work with your location and bring

the personality of your site out; consider

the best views, wind shelters and adaptable

spaces to ensure your guests get the best

out of their stay.

When working with colour, darker matte

shades of blues and greens are still on

the rise, with the addition of softer sandy

shades like Dulux’s colour of the year 2019,

‘Spiced Honey’. This earthy, jute warm tone

can be made to reflect soothing, cosy or

vibrant moods depending on the pallet it is

combined with. Add playful pops of colour

with tasseled or pompom fringed blankets,

lampshades, scatter cushions or mirrors.

These key, on-trend colours also work great

with canvas and wood tones - think carefully

about the colouring of your structure and

how to pair it with accessories to give a

comfortable and warming environment.









It is always important to consider light

to avoid overly dark or synthetically

light spaces. Try to stay clear of clinical

surfaces, shiny or bright plastic accessories.

Instead opt for matte and tactile materials

promoting a reconnection with the

environment and a deeper physical

grounding to the world around us.


As sustainability and wellness becomes

ever more prominent in society, we are now

more aware of the products we consume

and the effect of the things that we do.

Alongside this, the resurgence of craft means

people are investing more in products made

from honest materials and those which

portray a sense of traditional and modern

craft techniques. Again, adding a storyline

to your site, promote yourself on what you

provide. Market the sustainable aspects

of your location, structures and internals,



comment on the local makers who helped

to make the space, or leave directories of

locally sourced products available in the

area so your guests can take a piece home

for themselves - this could be for anything

from local honey to a furniture maker.

Sourcing sustainable products is also

key and doesn’t need to be expensive.

Try to use organic bed linen, natural

soaps, environmentally friendly washing

detergents and consider likely market

groups such as vegetarians, vegans and

those with high risk of allergies, all things

now continually on the rise.

Workshops or courses can also be a

great way of marketing mid week or out

of season stays and this fits beautifully

with the rise in wellness and sustainability.

Yoga and makers’ retreats are continually

popular with those wanting to escape the

rat race of modern life. Be sure to sell the

whole package by adding elements to

your internals during these events, maybe

provide a yoga mat and herbal tea to each

space or create a shared, cosy dining space

for large groups in the evening. Small

touches such as lemoned water and rustic

tea light holders through the centre of the

table help to create an atmosphere that will

draw guests back again and again.


In order to set yourself apart in the industry,

thinking outside of the box is essential.

Be sure to spread your creativity and

theming across your site to avoid having

one beautiful space and the rest letting

you down. Gone are the days of white tiled

campsite bathrooms, and whether it is a

shared facility or not, it is key to make these

areas as aesthetically pleasing as the rest.

I love bathroom design and trends

because you really can transform a

space with accessorising on a very small

budget. With new products on the market

such as tile paints, grout pens and wood

effect lino, it really doesn’t need to be

a complete reconstruction. Concrete is

particularly popular in bathrooms at the

moment, however can be imitated with

concrete effect finishes or accessories.

We also love dark blue and green metro

tiles which give a clean and trendy finish.

Brass is back, and vintage brass taps on an

upcycled draw sink unit can make a huge

impact. Add trendy but playful elements

by incorporating fun tropical print shower

curtains or towels.

Other areas to consider are outdoor

spaces, shared alfresco kitchens (which

can be a real statement), fire pit areas and

dog wash facilities.


Nikkita Palmer is an expert in the trend of small spaces and is passionate about ‘slow design,’

reconnecting with nature, the importance of community and the trend of experiences rather than

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The Vicar’s


‘Kent’s biggest little music festival’ - a

testament to its dedicated voluntary team

Who could have though that a group of friends’ disappointment over Glastonbury tickets

six years ago would lead to a nomination for Best of Event of the Year at the upcoming

NOEA Awards. The Vicar’s Picnic attracts thousands of festivalgoers to a sleepy Kentish

village every summer with acts including Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Starsailor and Seb

Fontaine. We talk to founding member Thom Harris.

Describe your event and how

many people it attracts?

Imagine standing in a beautiful

Kentish field by a lazy river,

surrounded by banks of rolling

meadows bursting with lavender on

the outskirts of a gorgeous English

village. It's pretty, peaceful and


All that remains for you to do is

build a trackway, put up the fencing,

sort the plumbing, power, portaloos

and parking, build four stages, two

campsites and a temporary town,

corral the vendors, placate the

locals and then make everything

look pretty. Organise barriers,

bars and bands, poets, performers

and press, add 4,000 friendly

festivalgoers and hope for the best.

Also, all this work (and the 10

months work preceding it) is unpaid.

If there are any profits, they go to

charity or are reinvested back into

the company. Most of the support

staff are volunteers, but if it all goes

wrong, it will be All. Your. Fault.

Finally, the gates open, the music

plays and suddenly, it all comes

together. A successful family-friendly

festival headlined by established

acts and supported by new, hungry

bands, a roster of legendary DJs,

comedians, poets, artists and

entertainers. Welcome to The Vicar's

Picnic - the biggest little festival in


(That's the long answer. The short

answer is we're an independent

music festival in Kent with a target

demographic of 30-50 year olds. I

prefer the longer one).

Explain a bit about your venue

and its history

Like all the greatest ideas, it began

on the back of a beermat.

After failing to get tickets for

Glastonbury, a group of friends from

Vicarage Road in Yalding were down

the pub and decided to put on their

own little festival instead. Some of

them had been in bands, some of

them had a patch of land and all

of them loved music and a party.

They got a few local bands together,

sold a couple of hundred tickets,

donated the profits to charity and

had a great day.

The next year, they did it again

but this time (without really trying),

500 people turned up. The parish

council noticed and offered them

access to a far bigger location just

outside of the village. Fuelled by

enthusiasm, camaraderie and a

blissful ignorance of what they were

getting into and where it would

lead, they successfully launched a

two-day event attended by 1,500


The three years since then has

seen the festival increase a third

in size each summer and with it,



the team's experience. The Vicar's

Picnic began almost by chance, but

its subsequent success has been no


How did you find applying for

permission to run the event?

Did you have to make any

compromises to satisfy the local


After seeing the potential from

our first two events, Yalding Parish

Council invited us to use our current

site - The Lees - which is essentially

an L-shape of three adjoining

meadows located just outside the

village. This allowed us to swiftly

grow in size to accommodate both

camping and parking, but also

means we have to compromise on

issues that the council prioritise.

For example, after two successful

years on the site we were obliged

to stage the festival one week later

to accommodate the annual grass

cutting and collection of the fields.

Subsequently, instead of the event

taking place just before the end of

the summer school term, it would

now run a few days after, which in

turn would have a direct impact on

ticket sales. Though it seemed to

be a minor issue, the parish council

refused to reconsider so we had to


Overall, however, this is a minor

quibble. Thanks to the largesse of

the local community and CALPAC,

a fishing club that retain the right

of access to the field that serves as

our main arena, we have a beautiful

location at next to no cost. Unlike

many other festivals who have to

pay tens of thousands to secure a

site, the only financial stipulation

we have to meet is a donation to a

local charity on CALPAC's behalf. In

return, Yalding's pubs, tearooms,

B&Bs and shops enjoy their busiest

- and most profitable - weekend of

the year.

We also have an excellent

relationship with Maidstone and

Kent County Council, mainly

through dint of taking all the

legislation seriously and keeping in

regular contact. We've only ever had

one noise complaint in three years

which they still maintain is some

sort of record.

How have you planned the layout

of the event and what structures

do you use?

We have a quirky site, partially

ringed by a river and surrounded by

environmentally protected land, so

we work with what we have. Saying

that, we've managed to triple in

size in attendance by constantly

tweaking the site layout to maximise

space and renegotiating with the

parish council to accommodate

extra parking and camping. Like














everything else, we learned on

the job through trial and error but

luckily our colleague Jo turned out

to be some kind of planning savant.

Give her grid paper and a tape

measure and you're all set!

In terms of structures, the Main

Stage, Big Top, Dance Tent and

Artists' Quarter are the primary

concerns. Apart from a handful of

smaller marquees, flagpoles and

fencing, the rest is hired. We laid

some basic plumbing a few years

ago but beyond that, the entire

infrastructure is temporary.

How did you research and source

your marquees, flooring, bars etc?

In the beginning, through friends,

family and the locals. For example,

the local scout marquee was the

Kid's Workshop in year one, the

ackstage bar in year three and is

now our most basic undercover prep

and tech area. It's actually a good

analogy for the event as a whole:

our needs changed while we grew

but that marquee is still pitching in

(pun intended) and doing a job. Plus

Yalding scouts still get a rental fee

from us, so everybody wins.

These days, we're usually fielding

tenders from various companies

but still rely on referrals and

previous partners. We've been

very lucky to have a long-standing

relationship with the SRD Group

( who supply,

build and manage most of our

stage, sound and lighting. They've

been a great support to a growing

festival like ours and are a big

part of our success and National

Outdoor Events Association (NOEA)

nomination for the Event of the Year


What entertainment do you offer

and how did you choose and

source it?

We understand our demographic.

The main stage acts are a mix of

big names (Fun Lovin' Criminals,

Starsailor, Cast, Reef, Fratellis) and

strong up and coming support with

a few crowd favourites thrown in

(Bang Bang Romeo, knees-up Ska

on a Saturday afternoon).

The Big Top covers fresh new

bands and strong local acts and

somehow we manage to secure

legendary DJs that pack out the

Secret Disco (Seb Fontaine, Norman

Jay, Nightmares On Wax).

The Artists' Quarter features

amazing local art, poets and

comedians, with a household name

for added stardust. Stephen K Amos

destroyed it this year and enjoyed

his set hugely.

Beyond that, we also have a

Kid's Field that wows children -

with its rides, games, workshops

and activities and amazes parents

because the majority of these are

free. Curated by core team member

Maddy (creative; headstrong),

additional entertainers include

circus performers, storytellers,

dancers and firebreathers.

We source the bigger acts the

usual way, through agents, but

a surprising amount is still done

through recommendations,

applications and word of mouth.

That last point is actually our

secret weapon: we treat all our

performers, big and small, with

real care and appreciation. We're

thrilled they're part of our event

and that enthusiasm and love

seems to genuinely spread to our

artists who often choose to stay an

extra few hours (or day) to enjoy

themselves. We're nice people and

our reputation now precedes us (we

hope anyway).

What provisions do you make for

power, lights and sound?

Due to the arena's location close to

the village we have to be careful to

stay within agreed parameters while



still putting on a better sound and

light show than previous years.

I manage to achieve this

by absolving myself of all

responsibility and leaving it to

others in the core team; Dave

(production; head honcho), Jo

(site planner; cool head) and Phil

(health and safety; headmaster).

Together, they liaise with SRD and

other contractors to deliver an

infrastructure that is the focal point

of the entire weekend. I won't bore

you by going into greater technical

detail (I couldn't even if I wanted


How do you manage admissions

and visitor safety?

The Ticketsellers are our online

vendors but our on-site admissions

team is made up of volunteers (as

are a lot of our various support

staff). Two obvious exceptions are

health and safety and security.

As a family festival we have to be

hyper-vigilant about child safety,

especially being located next to a

(fenced-off) river. The only thing

that could ever make us regret this

whole adventure is if someone was

seriously hurt on our watch so this

will always be priority number one.

It just isn't worth the risk otherwise.

Luckily for us, we have a fabulous

crowd of happy Picknickers.

Barring two minor issues from a

total crowd of 15,000 festivalgoers

over six years, that's a record any

event should be rightly proud of.

What ground protection do you

use for cars and footfall?

Basic trackway, straw for mud and

we try and limit all non-essential

vehicle access to the site. Again,

it's protected land so minimising

damage is paramount.






















How do you publicise the event?

We have a loyal base of fans who

always support us but social media

word of mouth becomes more

and more important each year.

Roadside posters are cheap but very

effective. Unless you have a large

marketing budget and a clearly

defined audience, print media

gives less bang for your buck (and

I say this as someone who's day

job is an advertising manager for a


Relationships with local charities

and sport clubs are mutually

beneficial as are media tie-ins. This

year we officially partnered with

BBC Radio Kent which allowed us

on-air interviews, promotions and

a live broadcast from the festival on

the Saturday afternoon. Ultimately,

we're not reinventing the marketing

wheel but with a limited budget,

you have to get the basics right.

What challenges have you faced?

In no particular order: Agents

(occasionally), body odour,

colleague conflict, dehydration,

early-morning sunshine, forgetting

to put on sun cream, glitter cannons

(every tiny piece has to be picked

up), heavy lifting, indifference,

journalists, killjoys, last minute

ticket requests, moaners, nonstop

stress, over-running sets,

power-cuts, queues, riders,

stolen trackway, unreasonable

complaints, village upset, Wi-Fi (lack

of), xylophonists (too many of),

yesterday's rubbish, zips on tents

How have you financed the event

and how profitable is it?

Apart from the team’s initial

small personal investment, the

vast majority is funded by ticket

sales and our cut of vendor sales.

Each year we manage to donate

a percentage of profits to our

charities and anything left over

goes to fund the following year’s

festival. We've never lost money but

it's often close. We've never taken a

wage or dividend.

We were lucky to have one year

where a major sponsor supplied

a huge amount of investment and

man-power which left us with a

cash reserve, but sponsorship

is sorely needed. Did I mention

my email address is thom@

What advice could you give to

someone coming into the outdoor

event industry?

We're a slightly more unusual event

team because this isn't our day

job and doing it usually costs us

time and money, so with that in

mind, I'd offer these three pearls

of wisdom: 1) Do it for the love of

doing it and not the money because

this probably won't make you rich.

2) All gigs, parties, train journeys

and everything else inbetween is

an opportunity. Speak to everyone

you possibly can because you

never know where it may lead. 3)

It's never too early, or too late, for a




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It’s a Team Thing

Event production expert John Radford on the importance of

teamwork in the ever changing world of outdoor events


WOW, WE are already at the end

of summer 2018 and what a year

it’s been. After the poor summer

weather in 2017, the start of

this year’s summer saw a rather

warmer and more enjoyable set

of conditions; it wasn’t a perfect

year with some events having to be

cancelled or curtailed later in the

period but it was certainly a step

up. This year we were looking after

crews and customers alike with

extra water and shade whereas just

12 months ago it was shelter from

the rain and hot drinks all round!

There’s nothing like the weather to

keep you on your toes.

I can’t complain though,

these ever-changing needs are

what I love so much about our

event industry. It’s always a set

of evolving requirements and

needs, and there are always new

challenges to overcome. Our role

- event managing, designing sites,

producing or providing safety

solutions - drives us to meet new

challenges and create solutions that

provide great experiences for our

guests and customers alike and is


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

www.jreventservices. or call 01275

406760 for an informal


what makes this industry so unique

in my mind.

It’s also really inspiring looking

at how fellow event suppliers

and teams develop solutions and

systems to get the best out of a

situation. Listening and learning

from all those teams of suppliers,

contractors, freelancers and

promoters can really help and

inform our own decision making.


This summer has presented

JR Event Services with many

challenges. One that stands out

for us is the work we undertook

to assist one of our clients move

their project to a new home. Due

to external factors we had to create

an event space for 10,000 in a little

over two months from scratch. The

big asset here though - and the one

that stands out for me - is that it

was achievable because of the team

that worked together to achieve

the outcome. From landowner, to

promoter, to contractors, suppliers

and staff – it needed a team to

create the right outcome.

The reason I am talking about

this is simple – we, you, I, we all

need a team to achieve our goals

and ultimately our events. Yes,

we can go it alone and struggle to

build the knowledge, experience

and skills that are needed, or we

can develop a team that brings all

those constituent parts together

to ensure that the boxes are more

than just ticked. Be it ensuring the

fence lines are appropriate or the

stages the right size or the toilets

being the right quantity and style

– the knowledge that is needed to

bring an event together is critical to

a successful outcome.

Many of our projects are complex

and multi-faceted, and to pretend

that we have all the answers

is unwise to say the least, and

possibly fool hardy in the extreme.

Bringing a team together to work

alongside you provides that wide

spectrum of knowledge that can

make all the difference.

Over the years, as a small

business in the events industry, we

have worked hard to develop long

lasting relationships and team-



working solutions with suppliers,

freelancers and contractors who

have the same ethos as us. More

importantly though, is the need

to develop those relationships for

the long term. We make sure that

the right team works on the right

project and look carefully at what

each part needs or requires, in

order for it to be a success. It can’t

just be a case of “one size fits all”.

That philosophy ultimately leads

to compromises across the board

and isn’t, in our view, sustainable.

It’s about working alongside similar

minded individuals to ensure

that the end product is the best it

possibly can be and ideally meet

the unique requirements of that

given project.

Sometimes we are the creators

of the team and at other times we

are just a small part of that family

trying our best to make the overall

event machine work at its optimum

effectiveness. It’s that “hands on”

philosophy of helping each other

out and not being too precious

about only doing what your primary

role is. Going that extra mile makes

the difference to the end result - it

might simply be picking up some

litter on the way through the event

site or being able to radically

redesign the main arena, but both

can enhance the visitor experience

and make the event or project

memorable for all the right reasons.


How do we go about creating

those teams? For us as a business

it’s about talking with others in

the event industry, developing

relationships and networking with

freelancers and contractors, slowly

building that digital “little black

book” of contacts and people that

can bring their skills and expertise

to a project. Who can slot into a role

quickly and ensure that the end

client, be they the landowner, the

promoter or corporate body, has

the best team around them to take

their vision and turn it into a reality.

These business and personal

relationships can take years to

develop and you may not always

get them right but without

them projects can be harder to

successfully complete and the

outcomes not as envisaged.


This time of year is also the ideal

time to get out and about, talking

with potential new suppliers at

various industry events such as

the Showman's Show, FestOut and

the Glamping Show to name just

three. My recommendation would

be to get out there and talk to the

suppliers and contractors about

your project. There will always be

someone willing to talk to you and

hopefully provide you with the

solutions you are looking for.

The classic skill of networking,

although not everybody’s cup of

tea, can be central to developing

those contacts and introductions.

Take that time out to meet

for a coffee and chat. Initial

introductions over email or phone

are fine as a first step but you

really need to talk to someone face

to face to understand if they will fit

in with your project.

As a supplier we always want

to meet our clients first as well

before committing - we want to

ensure that we can meet their

expectations and requirements

and that they understand what

we can bring to their project.

It’s a two-way thing where both

parties need to be working in

synergy from the start. Listen for

recommendations and personal

introductions as well, as they can

prove incredibly useful where the

introduction has come from an














already trusted member of your


The potential fly in the ointment

here is that those constituent

elements of your team may not

always be the cheapest! It may

be that your preferred supplier

is just that little bit more than

the cheapest provider you have

found. But look at it in terms of

this: is there a case for worthwhile

investment in creating the right

solution rather than just a tick box

for the provision of the service you

need? The budget clearly needs to

be balanced but those relationships

as part of a team can help with that

by working in collaboration to find

the most effective solutions to a

given problem. In the long term

will that extra investment provide

you with the right team player that

aligns with your vision the best?

So, what are you waiting for? If

you are new to the event world get

out there and meet those potential

new suppliers and team members

who can work alongside you to fulfil

your vision. Put that investment in

time and effort to create that close

working, collaborative team that

will hopefully serve you well for

many years. Or, if like me you’ve

been around for a few years, take

care of those team members that

have helped you across the years

and projects. That investment in

time is so worthwhile and can only

be of benefit.




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Cue the Music

Joe Heap helps us with the balancing

act of festival programming

THE WHOLE business of

programming and building a line up

seems to get harder year on year. I’ve

been working in festivals for 20 years

and programming for the last six or

seven. You’d think that experience,

good relationships with agents and

the sheer amount of time I spend

researching would mean that it’s a

quick job these days.

So why is it getting harder? Well,

the festival scene continues to grow.

Competition is rife, and the bigger

names and agents have more choice

and therefore more power. Plus, there

are no guarantees that what you

thought was a nailed-on ticket seller

is going to do it when it comes to

festivals. Even those artists selling out

decent size tours won’t necessarily

sell your festival out. You have to dig


You can very quickly use up a huge

chunk of your programme budget

on a name or two and not have

enough to build a great programme

of surprises, adventures and new

names. And in the end, that is what

will make your festival stand out from

the rest.

The festival experience is becoming

as important as the headliner these

days, so you have to get the balance

of spending just right.

That said, we still rely on some

heavy hitting headliners to shift

those last few hundred tickets… and

the agents know it. It’s supply and

demand. Who needs who more, and

at the moment we need them more

than they need us.

But hopefully it’s a mutually

beneficial relationship that supports

live events and live music, finding

new audiences for both artists and

our festivals. And I think in the main

it is.

The Shires


at Towersey





So how do you know you’re getting the

deal that will work for you? Well you

have to put the work in. Look at tours

and how they sell. Look at geography;

where’s their fan base? Social media

stats are useful but not always truthful.

Ask! Ask the agent, the manager, and

the artist about where they are in their

career. Then start negotiations. An

agent won’t want to pitch a fee and

you don’t want to make a silly offer. I

try and get a ballpark figure from them

first. A place to start. Are we talking

about the same ballpark and if we are

then the game is on. They will pitch

a higher fee; you’ll say we only have

half of that and in the end, you find a

middle ground. The more I do it the

more I know roughly where an artist’s

fee should be from the off.

It’s always a higher fee for festivals

and one-off events. It’s annoying,

but you have to understand why.

Tours are built to be progressive and

geographically sensible. From one town

to the next and in one short period.

They are mostly done on door splits

(percentages) so the artists and team

can work out what the return is likely

to be.

A festival might be at the other end of

the country and they may have to travel

just to do that one gig. They are sharing

the stage with lots of other artists, so

the ticket price calculation and split

doesn’t work. They have to pay one off

costs like rehearsals, drivers, sound and

light techs.

On the flip side, the costs and risks

of festivals are huge and occasionally

artists and agents see them as a cash

cow. In some cases, killing the festivals

that might have booked them again

if only the fees had been a bit more



And then there’s my biggest

bugbare. We are constantly

asked to book the same big

names, the same top artists over

and over again by their loving

fans. These artists dominate the

market and it becomes a catch

22. Developing artists end up

playing for peanuts and we can’t

book as many as we would like.

So, the scene doesn’t produce,

or the system doesn’t allow,

enough new headliners to climb

to the top.

It has always been like that

I guess. The music scene is

perhaps the toughest of tough

industries and I can’t see that

model changing anytime soon.

It would be refreshing to hear a

major headliner say, “I’ll knock a

few thousand off my fee for you

to book these great new artists

that I’m supporting”. Maybe

that’s something we can work

on in the future?

But it can be magical, so no

more doom and gloom. If you’re

starting something new then

first and foremost, know your

audience and know your genre.

Are you a blues, jazz, hip hop or

something else festival? Do you

know enough about that scene?

Does the scene know enough

about you to trust you? A lot of

agents will want guaranteed

fees up front or certainly

deposits so look at your cash


You need to work a long long

way ahead. I’m sometimes

booking 18 months in advance.

On the other hand, leave room

for last minute exciting offers

and deals. There is often a panic

nearer the summer and you

need to leave room for names

that suddenly rise to the top

and need a stage to promote the

latest single.



Now the festival is on. Look

after all the artists. Not just the

big names. Let them enjoy the

festival. Put them at ease. You

want a great show from them and

they (including their crew) will be

twitchy and nervous. But don’t

get silly. Remember that they are

doing a job for or with you. Spend

too much on crazy riders and

hospitality and a lot will end up in

the bin and your budget will spiral

out of control.

Make sure the stages are set,

you have the right crew, copies of

tech specs in all the right hands.

Good sound and lights and great

crew make all the difference. Don’t

underspend on production. You’ll

get a bad reputation fast. You

want the artists to have a great gig

and report back on a wonderful

experience. It doesn’t always work

like that but let’s aim high.

And finally (coming back to a

point I made earlier) think beyond

the main stages. Think about the

experience. An artistic budget

should be for more than just great

bands. It should include site wide

experiences - activities, discoveries,

beautiful things to look at, learn

and take home.

The festival boom is showing

early signs of slowing I think. But

it is still enormous. So give your

audiences something special that

they can’t see in the local gig venue.

A gig ticket might be £30 or £40

for one headliner and a support.

At a festival they can see 50 bands

in a day, see amazing street

theatre, learn to build a lantern or

a woodland den. They can dress

up, wear face paint, learn to juggle

and dance till the early hours. So,

consider all of that lot and then let

the balancing act begin!



When you start putting it all together, plan to a schedule. Know how many stage spots

you have to fill and work on balancing them. Too many big bands one after another will

be hard for the crew to manage and not leave room for the audience to take a breather.

Think solos, duos, bands, acoustic spots. Get the balance right. And if you are working

across multiple stages then make sure there’s time for the movement of audiences

between them. Don’t programme them all to run at exactly the same time. Give people

choice and make it a hard choice.


Now you’re into negotiations. Read the contracts. Check the cancellation clauses,

the tech specs and see the riders before doing the deal. Think about exclusivity.

Will they be playing 10 miles up the road on the next weekend? And something I

have learnt the hard way this year… talk about marketing support. Will they push

their own tour and ignore you? This should be a mutually supportive deal folks!



Joe Heap is the

director and

programmer of

Towersey Festival, the

oldest independent

festival in the UK.

Established in 1965, it

continues to be one of

the country’s leading

festivals of acoustic,

folk and roots music,

attracting over 8,000

people annually. See

the website to get

involved as a supplier,

concession or to book







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

Tel: 01275 406760


You can also find us on


It Couldn’t

Happen to Me!

Two NOEA members share their close shave stories

highlighting the importance of risk mitigation at events –

the theme of this year’s NOEA convention

THIS YEAR the National Outdoor Events

Association (NOEA) Annual Convention

has the theme, ‘It Couldn’t Happen to Me’

and will focus on the many risks that event

organisers and production specialists go

through to put an event on.

This is back to classic NOEA territory;

we’re the only association that has strict

accreditation criteria to membership,

and because of this, can assure event

professionals that by working with NOEA

members, you have trusted partners that

will be there for you.

This is a really important theme, because

it is almost impossible to predict what could

go wrong at an event, and sometimes we

can only learn from those that have already

learned the hard way.

The convention will create a ‘safe’

environment where event professionals can

share their stories, good and bad, what they

learned and most importantly what others

can learn to protect their events from the

complacency that announces, 'it couldn't

happen to me!'

As a taster, we have two stories from

people brave enough to share their own

experience of events that just don’t go to


It couldn't

happen to me!



If I had a pound for every time someone

said, ‘that wouldn’t happen’ when I showed

them a risk assessment I’d be writing this

from a beach in the Caribbean.

The list of things that ‘would never

happen’ at events I have worked on over

the past 20 years is long and includes:

› A marquee not being properly fixed and

blowing away despite six rather large

security staff trying to hold onto to it

› The time it rained solidly for two days and

the stages started to sink into the mud

› Toilets flooding because the organiser

wanted to ‘save money’ and hadn’t

booked an ‘empty and clean’ overnight

› The wrong type of fencing being

delivered, resulting in the police having to

close a major A-road as people egressed

onto it

› People climbing fences

› A wasp nest in a medical tent

› Lampposts falling over and blocking a

road on a half marathon route (luckily

before the race started!)

› People being sick from eating too

many sweets given out by kind hearted


› A suspect package on a parade route

requiring bomb disposal experts and a

quick re-route of a parade through a city


The list goes on… What can we learn from

these? In the case of the suspect package,

it highlighted the importance of effective

multi agency working. Because we had

looked at an incident on the parade route

in a tabletop meeting, the team was able

to come together quickly and effectively to

look at alternatives and different options

for re-routing. We were able to re-deploy

staff quickly and communicate to the

bus company to enable them to re-route

buses. Since that incident, a more detailed

contingency plan has been developed

which now breaks the parade and the route

down into manageable sections so if an

incident of any kind (suspect package, gas

leak, fire etc.) occurs the parade in some

format would be able to continue.


Because I’ve experienced all these

things it means I am more confident and

competent when looking for hazards and

risks. It also means I’m more prepared

to speak out when something isn’t right;

sometimes the safest thing is to cancel

or postpone rather than to push on. But

this is a hard decision to make when you

know that hundreds of hours of work and

dedication has gone into delivering the


It’s important that those of us who

have grown with the industry and have

experienced many different challenges

share our knowledge and skills. By learning

from everyone’s mistakes and problems the

industry can develop and evolve. New event

organisers need the benefit of experienced

organisers to help them avoid some

common pitfalls. This is where NOEA can

help. By bringing together people from all

different backgrounds and experiences we

can improve the industry and work together

to not make the same mistakes twice.

This year’s NOEA conference theme gives

an opportunity for us to put our hand up

and say ‘it did happen to me and this is

what I learned’.



It couldn't

happen to me!




It’s often the case, that when you’re initially

asked to work with an event as a safety

officer, the objective is to improve existing

safety systems and procedures. This often

comes with the insinuation that existing

procedures are not good, and so this

first contact can often be met with some

resistance on the ground. Who likes being

told what they normally do is not allowed

any more!? Who likes being critiqued?

My story begins with a similar situation,

when I was asked to join a touring event

as its safety officer. It happened to be an

event involving high speed drones, another

area I specialise in, so I was relishing the

opportunity. I was joining the already

underway tour in New Orleans, USA, arriving

on the second day of their three-day load in.

The event was held in ‘Mardi Gras World’

which houses the most spectacular floats

used for parades in New Orleans, not just

during Mardi Gras but all year round for

various events. For this particular event, the

plan was to race high speed drones around

the building between these incredibly

flammable floats - what could possibly go


On arrival, I remember looking around

the building, a very old warehouse possibly

built in the 1930s or 1940s, and found a

large circular outlet outside but without any


associated drain holes etc.; it was around

40cm in diameter. I asked the building

manager if this was an output for water and

he said it was decommissioned and not in

use. I thought little more of it.

Then on the main event day, a tropical

storm moved in with a high volume of water

falling on the building just as the lunch

break was called for crew. Outside this 40cm

wide hole was the crew catering marquee

and the entire electrical distribution system

which was on the ground beside a large


On walking outside to get lunch I

discovered the only outlet for water on the

roof was this “decommissioned” hole which

was now pumping out a high volume of

water (nearly half a foot deep on the street)

covering the electrical equipment and floor

of the marquee. Furthermore, the crew

decided that getting lunch was a higher

priority and had waded into the marquee.

Some enterprising chaps brought some

wooden pallets out which did not even

reach above the water level.

Taking a second to stop, this is a classic,

'it couldn't happen to me' scenario. Often

in events, it is not just one highly visible

issue that causes the problems, it is the

combination of a series of smaller issues

that combine with an external factor; in this

case a tropical storm!

In this case it was very easy to intervene,

and although I didn’t make myself too

popular with the hungry crew for a few

minutes, they were very quick to see

that the alternative was a lot worse. The

main learning I took though was the

understanding that, on the surface, small

things look small, but if scenarios are

played out in a joint meeting, we can look

to predict things like weather, but also

understand the different responsibilities –

and often the different agendas! – that are


In this case, the worst case scenario was

avoided, the event proceeded and everyone

was safe, but it was a close one, and it could

have been a lot worse for everyone. The

learnings were passed around the crew,

procedures were put in place, and hopefully

next time we can avoid going as close to

tragedy, and perhaps rely less on the idea

that chance will keep everyone safe!

The NOEA 15th Annual Convention and Awards Dinner will be held on Wednesday 21

November at The Guildhall and the Roman Baths and Pump Room.

Visit to book your place.




Heat, Power & Lighting

Love Summer Festival

Description: Weekend music

festival in Plymouth, Devon

Product: 12 x 20KVA

generators, 8 x Trime X-eco


Supplier: Brandon Hire

Telephone: 0333 2000 836

Website: www.

Details: Brandon Hire’s

highly experienced South

West events team, based

at the Plympton office,

supported this year’s highly

successful Love Summer

Festival by delivering a

complete event management

service including the hire of

lighting, electrical power and

distribution, security fencing,

crowd control barriers and

event toilets.

At pre-event planning

meetings the regional events

team, led by Brandon Hire’s

South West regional events

manager Scott Bryant,

worked closely with the

festival’s team, analysing

site plans to pinpoint the

best locations, delivery and

collection time-frames,

logistics and critical volumes

of equipment for site ‘hotspots’.

Members of the Brandon

Hire events team were in

attendance throughout the

festival, providing portable

toilet servicing, equipment

safety and security checks

and maintenance.

Post-event planning meant

a swift on-site disassembly

was accomplished on time.

Feedback: Billy Hughes,

owner of Love Summer

Festival, said: “Brandon

Hire consistently delivers

excellent service and

equipment. We have used

them for eight years for all

our infrastructure and power

provision; they understand

our needs and over deliver

every time. I would not

hesitate in recommending

them to others. Scott, Peter

and the Plympton Events

Team, they do festivals ‘On

Smash!’ It doesn’t matter

what you throw at them -

weather, extra requirements,

unrealistic targets, anything

- they just get on with it.”

The Vicar’s Picnic

Description: ‘Kent’s biggest

little festival’

Services: Full production

facilities including staging,

PA, lighting, power

distribution, crew and


Supplier: SRD Group

Telephone: 01732 373920

Website: www.srdgroup.

Details: SRD has been

providing full staging,

lighting, audio and

production services for

Vicar’s Picnic for the last

three years. Each year the

festival has grown - originally

the stage was an 8m x 6m

ARC roof but for the last two

years a 10m x 8m saddle roof

with PA wings and sheds has

been used. This year SRD was

asked to provide extended

rear decking for the artists

and their equipment. This

was easily achieved and the

artists were impressed with

the area provided.

The lighting was

professionally installed and

operated using experienced

technicians to give a superb

finished look. This was rigged

from the roof of the stage

and programs were set in the

console to give the required

effect for the artists and the


For PA, the latest offering

from GAE was utilised at

FoH and Monitors giving

unrivalled sound on both live

stages all controlled using

the dLive systems from Allen

and Heath.

Feedback: Having worked

closely with the organisers

for a number of years we

pride ourselves on making

sure the client has what they

need. The meetings start

early in the year to get the

details right and see how

the event can be improved

on from the previous year.

Social media plays a big part

and we regularly check what

attendees liked or not, and

work to improve any issues.

The fact that we do

everything in house using

our own equipment is a

huge plus - we have fewer

people to rely on, less stress

and offer cost savings to the




The Showman’s Show

Description: The UK’s original

and most comprehensive

exhibition of products, services

and entertainment for the

festival, outdoor and special

event industry

Product: The Arcotherm Jumbo


Supplier: Arcotherm

Telephone: 0345 600 44 99


Details: Arcotherm has

exhibited at the Showman’s

Show for 21 years and has built

a reputation for selling high

quality, affordable heaters to

the marquee and events sector.

Its heaters can be seen

around every corner at the

show, heating the numerous

temporary structures on show,

including the Mar-Key exhibit

(pictured). Many have been sold

to event hire companies then

hired to exhibitors, while others

have been purchased directly.

The main hall at the

Showman’s Show is heated

using the Jumbo range of

indirect oil fired heaters, with

heat outputs from 81kW to


The Jumbo range and

EC range are perfect for

heating marquees, tents, tipis

and temporary structures.

Arcotherm’s marquee packages

include accessories such as

ducting and thermostats to

ensure easy set up.

Feedback: Kirsty Birch,

business manager, said: “We

are usually situated on Avenue

E each year and it is always

satisfying to walk around the

showground and see how many

Arcotherm heaters are being

used at the exhibition.”

Pendennis Castle Tallships and

Glen Miller Orchestra

Description: A performance by the Glen

Miller Orchestra at Pendennis Castle in

association with the Tallships event at


Product: Electric power and distribution for

stage, sound and access lighting

Supplier: C. B. Potts Electrical

Telephone: 01460 242021


Details: C. B. Potts Electrical was asked to

provide all the electrical services for the

event during the day, and the concert and

fireworks display in the evening. All access

routes were lit by temporary and emergency

lighting, especially through the tunnel under

the battlements. The lighting was controlled

by photocell and time clocks built

into specialist control


A temporary

scaffolding walkway

was constructed over the moat, which had

to be lit separately by two electrical supplies,

one from each side, so if one system failed

the walkway was always illuminated.

The main feed from the generator was

installed through the main Pendennis

Castle Hostel building to the back stage

distribution for

power and lighting of the event.

The reason for going through the building

rather than around the outside was the

considerable length of cable that would

have been required. As the cable passed

through the building, including the refectory,

a gantry had to be constructed over the

entrance to allow

constant access to

the dining hall.

The only access to Pendennis Castle has

a limited width and height over a steep

cobbled access road, so all equipment had

to be loaded onto trailers and towed onto

site by Land Rover.

Feedback: Ben Potts said: “Customers who

have hired our services are delighted with

our professional approach and standard of

workmanship. Our engineers are always on

site during the event to ensure the event

runs smoothly and provide technical backup

if required.”





SMC TL55 Solar

Morris Site Machinery

0345 409 0280

Morris Site Machinery is helping

light the way for event organisers

looking to reduce their impact

on the environment with its

innovative SMC TL55 Solar

lighting tower.

100 per cent recyclable, with

an indefinite run time and a

lifetime of over 10 years, the

TL55 Solar is a trailblazer in the

lighting tower field. It meets

demand for a sustainable,

environmentally friendly, low

maintenance lighting tower.

Reliable, robust and offering

instant light from four LED

lamps, the TL55 Solar does not

compromise on power or quality.

With both battery and mains

supply provision, it offers flexible

options for all applications.

Marquee Heating

Thermobile UK

02476 357960

Thermobile heaters are manufactured in

Holland and built to a very high quality. They

have a minimum efficiency of 90%, which

means that 90% of the fuel burned goes as

useful heat into the heated space and only

10% via the flue. This is a very high efficiency

in comparison to other heaters on the market.

The Thermobile ITA range is ideal for heating

marquees and other temporary structures. It

comprises small, mobile units with a 5 -10m

range for ducting and 15hr integral fuel tanks.

The larger IMA units require a separate fuel tank

and can be ducted up to 40m.


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A roundup of products for the outdoor hospitality industry



GT Trax

01487 823344

Established in early 2005,

GT Trax is one of the UK’s

leading suppliers of temporary

roadways, walkways, flooring,

seating, fencing and structures.

It offers a complete delivery,

install, uplift and collection

service, with fully trained and

experienced site personnel.

The range encompasses heavy

duty trackway and hardwearing

non-slip walkways, alongside

picket and Heras fencing. It

also has a line-up of single and

double StarShades, along with

the unique MegaSol.

So, for your next event, get in

touch with the GT Trax hire desk

and see how our equipment can

enhance your visitor experience.





01908 538055

Glamping structure and ensuite

pod provider CampPlus is

providing Kevin Baker with two

fully fitted Glamping Barrels

and a Duo en-suite unit at a

very low cost to get his social

enterprise glamping site off

the ground. Launching at the

Farm Business Innovation

Show (stand 2282), Baker’s

Give Them A Break project will

provide discounted holidays

for carers and others that need

a break in the low season, and

free accommodation for the

homeless for six months of the

year. CampPlus is keen to talk

to other sites that would like

to do the same, and can offer

special rates.



The Big Locker Hire Co.

07958 671072

The Big Locker Hire Co. provides

storage locker and phone

charging locker services for

festivals and events. Having

somewhere for guests, artists

and staff to store their things

and charge phones is becoming

increasingly popular. Lockers

can add an element of luxury to

your VIP packages, become part

of your back-stage offering for

artists or simply provide security

for staff belongings. All of the

Big Locker Hire Co. services can

be fully managed by its friendly

staff or you can rent on a dry

hire basis – and get loads of free

advice and support on how to

run things.




Blackdown Shepherd Huts

01460 929774

Established in 2011, Blackdown

Shepherd Huts is now one

of the leading shepherd hut

makers with a reputation for

quality and service that goes

above and beyond what’s

expected. With a skilled team

of carpenters and joiners who

love to create innovative builds

and realise their customers'

dreams, Blackdown offers

unique solutions for a number

of needs. From a hut to retreat

into, to a space solution for your

hotel or boutique glampsite,

the team will work with you to

create exactly what you need,

and you can rest assured that

you will enjoy the results for

years to come.




DJ Truck

07958 671072

DJ Truck provides a unique

sound solution for festivals and

events. Combining the rugged

durability of the Land Rover

Defender with a top quality

sound system gives you a great

looking, independent sound

stage that can be positioned

practically anywhere. Trucks

come complete with everything

you need to play music

including CDJs, mixers and

speakers plus their own power

generator and can be set up

and packed down within 30

minutes. Trucks can also be

branded, whether that’s a

complete wrap in your festival

colours, a sponsor’s logo or

even a giant picture of the

guest of honour.


New Leaf Tree House Co.

01403 288470 (new site

coming soon)

New Leaf designs and builds

beautiful, practical tree houses

for glamping sites across the

UK. We are launching two new

designs at the Farm Business

Innovation Show this November

(Stand 3226) – come and have

a chat and see how we can help

your business.

Our lovely tree house 042, which

sleeps two, has proved very

popular with its many guests.

Made from sustainably sourced

oak, chestnut and Douglas fir,

with shingle walls of fragrant

cedar, it features a 3m high

platform with tented bedroom,

complete with wood-burning

stove. Our new website is

coming soon, but do follow us on

Instagram for the latest.


Plain Huts

07903 313922

Customers love to stay in remote

scenic spots with stunning

views. Unfortunately these don’t

often come with an electric hook

up and mains sewerage! This hut

from Plain Huts can be placed

anywhere there is running

water. It uses solar power for

the lighting and sockets, gas for

the thermostatically controlled

shower and single hob, and

incorporates one of Plain

Huts’ own, in-house designed

compost toilets.

With the wood burning

stove, memory foam bed, and

your stunning location, your

customers will be coming back

for more.


Portable Power Technology

01474 761051

Our compact, lightweight and

efficient Powerpack 100+ is a

rugged, versatile system that will

prove itself to be a vital part of

your site! The Powerpack 100+

can power and charge a variety of

small devices including phones,

radios and laptops and is the

ideal product to power lighting in

glamping pods.

Consisting of a 100w inverter and

efficient Li-ion battery, this unit

can be charged by grid, solar or a

car’s 12v socket.

PPT offers a wide range of offgrid

power solutions so use our

expertise to customise a system

to suit you! Call us now on 01474



Classified Directory

BARKER Marquees

Fabric Engineering at its Best

Traditional and

Modern Marquees,

Linings and Accessories

Avoid a messy

situation with

Hand crafted in the UK for over 100 years

01883 337099 •

0800 66 88 00

Keeping Things


Probably the largest selection of textile fasteners in the UK

Sewage Treatment Systems

Electric Free Biomatic Systems

For all residential, commercial

and industrial applications

Exhibition Trailers • Sale or Hire

020 8441 0813 •

01295 236101 •

Airstream Facilities

Europe’s leading supplier of Airstreams,

with a fleet of over 40.

Add a touch of class to any event

07775 802611

Luxury Toilet Trailers, Event Loos,

Themed Toilets, Shower Units &

Accommodation Hire

01256 384 134



British Made Bespoke Design

Contemporary cedar

wood hot tubs from

£2,495 + VAT

01453 767171

01934 832 801



Cabins and

BBQ Huts




01389 887205



24 Hours with…

Shell Robshaw-Bryan

of Camping With Style

We join glamping ‘influencer’ Shell Robshaw-Bryan on a short trip

away creating content for her blog which ranks first in Google



Shell is a professional content

marketing and SEO expert who

started blogging following

a serious snowboarding

accident that left her with a

broken back.

Realising that camping in the

back-to-basics way was no

longer an option for her, she

turned her attention to the

emerging glamping trend,

putting her marketing knowhow

to use and starting the

Camping with Style blog in

March 2014.


In the past four years Camping

with Style has quickly grown

to become the number one

camping blog in the UK,

working with many of the

biggest names in the camping

and glamping industry.

With a commitment to helping

independent site owners

receive more publicity, the

blog features reviews and

features on UK glamping

providers as well as articles,

tips and advice aimed at

inspiring people to get active

and spend more time enjoying

the great outdoors. www.

THIS MORNING (a very rare Saturday morning at

home!) I start my day at 8am, and the first thing I do is

look out of the window to check the weather. Autumn

can be a challenging time of year for photo shoots;

no one wants to see a sad looking tent in the rain, but

I’m relieved to see clear blue sky.

I make a mug of cinnamon tea and, still in my

PJs, settle onto the sofa with the cats to sift through

dozens of emails from various brands asking us to

work with them. Over the last two years the volume

of product reviews I’m approached with has reached

such a level that I’ve had to look for help, and now

have a small team who work on a volunteer basis.

I’m left with three promising sounding emails. One

from a glamping site owner in Portugal looking for

more exposure, one from a tent manufacturer that

I’ve not worked with before and another from a new

outdoor clothing brand launching on Kickstarter.

Once my emails are done, I check my traffic levels

and take a look at my top performing content in

Google Analytics, then I have a quick look to see what

our top search terms are. Occasionally I find topics

that people are searching for that give me ideas for

new content, and keeping on top of things from this

perspective is one of the reasons why the blog ranks

so well in Google and makes it easy for brands and

glamping site owners to find us.

I’ve already booked a one night stay at a local

campsite, so it’s time to pack the car with my tent and

large amount of camping gear, including the camp

storage unit I’m reviewing. I’ve already used the unit

on a previous camping trip, but due to poor weather

and a duff camera battery, didn’t manage to get all

the shots I wanted.

Around lunch time I arrive at the site close to


Delamere Forest in Cheshire and set up camp. Social

media plays a big role in what I do, so I am constantly

updating Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and I post

photos of my tent and the campsite.

Setting up always takes me a long time – I really do

live and breathe the “camping with style” ethos, so

rocking up with a tiny pop-up tent and sleeping bag

really isn’t my thing! I stop and make lunch on my

camp stove, a huge portion of leek and potato soup

I made the other night, and think about the shots I

want to get.

Photos and video taken, by mid-afternoon it’s time

to chill out and enjoy myself. I head into Delamere

Forest to go walking, again taking more snaps on my

phone so I can post on social media.

One of the things about so called ‘influencers’

is that they are often accused of presenting a fake

lifestyle, and I think in fashion and lifestyle blogging

that can certainly be the case. I pride myself on being

as authentic as possible though; I couldn’t find the

energy or passion to put the hours in that I do if I

didn’t genuinely live the lifestyle, and I like to provide

a glimpse at my ‘real’ life. Not just the good or the fun


After a lovely walk I’m feeling calm and return to

the campsite via the pub. I figure after lugging all my

camping gear around and my walk I deserve a bit of

a feast. After dinner I head back to the campsite and

my cosy little tent set up the way I love. As night falls,

I’m reminded of just how lucky I am to do what I do

and share it with people who love the

great outdoors just as much as me.


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