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July 2021

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

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ISSUE 43 | July 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

BUSINESS

DOMES & TENTS

FUNCTION VENUES

› Adding Value

› Land for Events

/ /

GLAMPSITES

› Insta Ads

› Bell Tent Hacks

EVENTS

› ERP Findings

› Event Glampsites

CASE STUDIES:

LOST VILLAGE OF DODE • SPERRIN VIEW GLAMPING • BASE CAMP PLUS


ISSUE 38 | October/November 2020 | www.openairbusiness.com

ISSUE 35 | March 2020 | www.openairbusiness.com

BUSINESS

BUSINESS

ISSUE 39 | January 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

ISSUE 33 | January 2020 | www.openairbusiness.com

FUNCTION VENUES

BUSINESS

/ /

GLAMPSITES

EVENTS

> Legalities

> Biophilic Design

> Seasonal USPs

> Bespoke Structures

> Wedding Insights

> Professional Services

CASE STUDIES: HEATON HOUSE FARM • BROOK MEADOW • DOGFEST

FUNCTION VENUES

OAB Gathering 2020 – Don’t miss our very own conference this March!

Alfresco Dining

› Promoting Events

› Market Research › Testing Times

› Contingency Plans › Booking Channels › Necessary Change

CASE STUDIES:

SKIPBRIDGE COUNTRY WEDDINGS • TRECOMBE LAKES • WEEKEND AT THE ASYLUM

> Events Report

> Changing Diets

> Marquees

/ /

GLAMPSITES

CASE STUDIES:

FUNCTION VENUES

› Venue Searches

› Customer Excellence

EVENTS

STAYCATION

INVESTMENT

GLAMPSITES

› Tree Advice

/ /

› Glamping Show

CASE STUDIES:

FUNCTION VENUES

› Changing Habits

› Industry Taskforce

CHILLI BARN • MAD DOGS & VINTAGE VANS • HEVER CRAFT AND DESIGN FAIR

EVENTS

› Event Glamping

› Coping with Covid

/ /

GLAMPSITES

› Casual Excellence

› Planning Exemptions

EVENTS

THE ORCHARD AT MUNSLEY • HOLLY WATER HOLIDAYS • LANTERNS AT CHESTER ZOO

Customer

First

2021 Predictions

› Marketing Post-Covid

FUNCTION VENUES

› Delegation

› Instagram 1

› Start-up Venues › Small Space Design

CASE STUDIES:

HOUCHINS • THE PADDOCK RAMSBOTTOM • FRINGE BY THE SEA

/ /

GLAMPSITES

BUSINESS

EVENTS

› Placemaking

› Covid Insurance

ISSUE 40 | February 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

SUPPLIER

SHOWCASE

BUSINESS

Spread the Word

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If you know someone who would benefit

from a print subscription, please let them know!

With big thanks,

The Open Air Business Team

www.openairbusiness.com/subscribe


ISSUE 43 | July 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

WELCOME

SO THE big news is that mass gatherings in the form of live events

don’t have much of an impact on Covid transmission when social

distancing and face masks are removed. Results from Phase 1 of the

Events Research Programme (ERP) are in and out of 56,000 people

there were just 28 reported cases – 11 identified as potentially

infectious at an event and 17 at around the time of an event (see

pages 56-57). While there may have been more cases (only about 15

per cent of people returned post-event tests), it is considered to be

a decent enough sample size to remain positive about things.

Unfortunately the government is holding out for yet more data

from Phases 2 and 3, and still won’t underwrite cancellation costs

for those events that were primed to run. Will the rest of the season be a write off? Just how

much of the industry will we lose?

As we’ve showcased previously, there are still organisers out there who are creatively

realising different formats for their events, and in this issue we feature Base Camp Plus, a

reimagining of Deer Shed Festival at Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire. Following the trend for

socially distanced camping festivals, I believe this model will remain popular post-Covid. As

such, we’ve asked experienced event glamping supplier Tom Critchley to advise on creating

the perfect site.

Capacity at weddings has been a hot topic for months, but our venue case study specialises

in intimate gatherings at the most gorgeous and ancient church at the Lost Village of Dode in

Kent. It makes me want to get married all over again so I can have a reason to book it…

For the glamping case study we head to Sperrin View Glamping in Northern Ireland. These

bespoke pods are absolutely unique, double storey and beautifully appointed – I love the

external colour choices too. Pleasing design all round!

Clever architecture is front and centre of the diversification in our Entrepreneur’s Chat too.

We talk to Caroline Hamilton about the £1.9 million contemporary wedding venue her family

has created on their Scottish hill farm.

Contents ISSUE 43 | July 2021

Tally Rix

Editor / Publisher

PUBLISHERS

Steve Rix - steve@openairbusiness.com

Tally Rix - tally@openairbusiness.com

EDITOR

Tally Rix - tally@openairbusiness.com

ADVERTISING SALES

Marney Whyte - 01892 677743

marney@openairbusiness.com

ADMINISTRATOR

Kirsty Farrow – 01892 677740

kirsty@openairbusiness.com

DESIGN

James English -

www.jamesenglishdesign.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY

Coffee Shop Media Ltd

www.coffeeshopmedia.com

Milroy House, Sayers Lane,

Tenterden, TN30 6BW

01580 848555

OPEN AIR BUSINESS IS

NO LONGER FREE

To start a paid subscription, please visit

www.openairbusiness.com/subscribe

UP FRONT

4 News

7 Product News

11 Entrepreneur’s Chat

– Caroline Hamilton,

Cairns Farm Estates

FUNCTION VENUES

16 The Lost Village of

Dode – a 900 year old

church in a magical

setting

20 Adding Value –

upselling for the

benefit of all

23 Hybrid Flexibility

– get your venue

ready for new style

business events

24 Land for Events – is

yours suitable?

28 Infrastructure –

products in action

GLAMPSITES

31 Sperrin View

Glamping –

contemporary cabins

in Northern Ireland

36 Trade Secrets – bell

tent hacks

39 What is a Glamper?

– researcher Greg Watt

strives to find out

42 Insta Ads – the nuts

and bolts behind

paid exposure on

Instagram

44 Tents and Domes –

products in action

EVENTS

48 Base Camp Plus –

the reimagined Deer

Shed Festival

52 Event Glamping –

creating the perfect

event glampsite

56 ERP Findings – an

insight into the

numbers

58 Infrastructure –

products in action

62 Spotlight

63 Classifieds

65 Behind the Scenes –

Bronte Hall, Garden

Weddings Tipi Hire

Find more expert advice online:

www.openairbusiness.com

SUBSCRIBE

ONLINE

DOMES & TENTS

/ /

FUNCTION VENUES GLAMPSITES

EVENTS

› Adding Value

› Insta Ads

› ERP Findings

› Land for Events

› Bell Tent Hacks

› Event Glampsites

CASE STUDIES:

LOST VILLAGE OF DODE • SPERRIN VIEW GLAMPING • BASE CAMP PLUS

COVER PHOTO

The modular Unidome with transparent panel options.

Opaque and coloured panels also available for a

unique finish and different levels of privacy. Perfect

for glampsites, festivals and dining. 07776 263163,

james@unidome.co.uk, www.unidome.co.uk

BUSINESS

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 3


Staycations

Here to Stay

DESPITE LOCKDOWN restrictions

easing, interest in holidaying within

the British Isles isn’t showing any

sign of diminishing reports holiday

home manufacturer Victory Leisure

Homes.

In a recent study it found that

holidaymakers are more likely to

holiday in the UK due to concerns

about environmental impact and

value for money.

Two thirds (66%) of the 2,008

people surveyed by Censuswide

said that the environment

played a big part in their holiday

planning. Two in five surveyed

(40%) considered value for money/

financial benefits as important

factors in their decision and 51.2%

agree that their priorities when

holidaying have shifted since the

outbreak of the pandemic. 25-34

year olds are most likely to holiday

in the UK.

Gary Corlyon, MD of Victory

Leisure Homes, said: “Every year,

we create close to 3,000 luxury

lodges and holiday homes for

holiday parks across the UK and

Ireland. Our orders have doubled

since the outbreak of Covid-19, as

interest grew exponentially.”

Extension of

56 Day Limits

FOLLOWING A concerted

campaign led by outdoor

accommodation booking

platform Pitchup.com, and

supported by a number

of national bodies, popup

campsites in England

will now be able to open

potentially until 31 October

this year.

In a government statement

issued on 28 June, local

authorities have been issued

with guidance not to take

enforcement action against

temporary campsites opening

this year under Permitted

Development Rights (PDR) to

ensure “planning controls are

not a barrier to local tourism

and hospitality’s economic

recovery”.

This effectively offers an

extension of the current 56

day limits, allowing sites

to make the best use of the

weather until the end of

October 2021.

The campaign to extend

PDR was backed by a range of

rural organisations including

the NFU, the Countryside

Alliance, Historic Houses,

the Campaign for Pubs and

the Federation of Small

Businesses. The statement

does not remove the

requirement for a camping

licence (for tents being on the

land for over 42 consecutive

days or over 60 nonconsecutive

days). However,

the government “will work

with local authorities to

facilitate a quick licensing

process this summer, and

authorities are encouraged to

expedite new applications for

licences to provide certainty

for applicants”.

Because a licence is only

required when tents are

on the land, this would

enable a longer season for

temporary campsites by

enabling moveable structures

to be sited for more than

56 days without a planning

application (i.e. up to 60

non-consecutive days of tent

camping without needing

a camping licence, with

moveable facilities on the

land for longer).

Sarah Lee, director of

policy and campaigns,

Countryside Alliance, said:

“This announcement is

welcome news for the many

rural land based businesses

who have been badly hit

over the last year. Relaxing

enforcement of PDRs means

there will be a larger number

of camping and caravanning

pitches available, providing

businesses with greater

flexibility and many more

families with a welcome

break in the countryside.

It will give a much needed

boost to the rural economy,

as businesses slowly start to

return to normality.”

Mansion Undergoes £20m Retreat Transformation

FOR THE past 35 years, the mansion on the

Gisburne Park Estate in the Ribble Valley has

operated as a private hospital.

This month, however, estate owners Guy

and Amber Hindley (see Entrepreneur’s

Chat, Open Air Business, Issue 36) have

taken back the keys with plans to invest

more than £20m to transform the 400 year

old mansion into a private members’ club,

luxury hotel, garden spa resort and art

centre.

When Guy inherited the estate in 2003

he turned it into a holiday destination

complete with luxury lodges, historic

houses, cottages and a boutique glamping

venue alongside a wedding destination.

Last year he held one of the country’s first

socially distanced music festivals.

Guy said: “I always had ambitions to

transform the hall into something great,

though never imagined I’d have the

opportunity to own it. I always assumed

it would be a project for my sons. Having

acquired the keys, Amber and I are now

setting out to transform hospitality in the

North and create a destination like no

other. We’re looking to create an exclusive

environment that blends art and culture

with like-minded people in a setting that is

unrivalled in the UK.

“We want our members and guests to

treat this as a second home. Here, guests

can dine, stay, work and play and, most

importantly, escape.” Work will begin later

this year.

4 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Glamping at David Lloyd Clubs

DAVID LLOYD Leisure, which operates

99 clubs in the UK and a further 23 clubs

across mainland Europe, is trialling

plans for customers to stay overnight at

glamping sites on its grounds. Bosses

claim that its wide range of facilities

and social events make it the perfect

staycation destination and is applying for

official ABTA accreditation.

Steph Holland, head of lifestyle

products at David Lloyd Clubs, said: “We’re

all wondering if and how we are going to

get away this summer, and for many the

gym is not the first place they’d look to

for a holiday. But David Lloyd Clubs are

so much more than a place to work out.

Clawford

Lakes

Resort

A BRAND new lakeside

holiday resort is set to open

this autumn in Holsworthy,

North Devon. Clawford

Lakes Resort and Spa is in

development after major

planning permission was

secured for the 80 acre site.

It will be home to

a selection of holiday

accommodation positioned

around 17 lakes including

144 luxury self-catering

lodges, nine floating lodges

and a private floating

With our pools, spas, entertainment and

kids’ clubs, and a friendly community vibe,

many of our members already think of us

as their holiday home. So providing short

breaks was a natural extension of our

offering.

“We’ve got so many exciting activities

planned, with our outdoor areas turning

into resort retreats with family splash

parties in the outdoor pool, beach inspired

games and pizza making classes. The

evenings will see these areas become

relaxed adult zones with cocktail master

classes and gin and wine tasting sessions

all sound-tracked by an eclectic playlist

and live-streamed music on giant screens”.

terrace, angling pods and

unique ‘luxury cocoons’.

Stephen Twiss, CEO at

Lakeshore Leisure Group,

said: “Set in this incredible

rural valley, Clawford Lakes

Resort and Spa has an

amazing 30 acres of lakes

and is quite simply the

perfect canvas to design a

very special self-catering

holiday experience”.

Bespoke Pods

for Theme Park

PLANNING PERMISSION has been

given for 20 bespoke pods to be built

in a woodland area of the 100 acre

Twinlakes theme park on the outskirts of

Melton. RIBA Chartered HSSP Architects

have been commissioned to design the

glamping pods.

Glamping

Diversification for

Racecourse

THE OWNERS of Bangor-on-Dee

Racecourse in North East Wales have

revealed plans to create a glamping site

to improve the viability of their business.

Chester Race Company has applied for

permission for four glamping pods and

two shepherd huts for both racegoers and

tourists.

Consultants acting on the firm’s

behalf said: “The proposal would form a

valuable addition to the racecourse and

ensure the long term commercial viability

of all the associated businesses on site”.

Seeking Participants –

What does it Mean to go

Glamping?

CAN YOU help with contributor Greg Watt’s

university PhD glamping research? “To

date, no research study has investigated

glamping from the views and opinions of

those who have either experienced it or

are involved in it on a day-to-day basis,”

says Greg. “While previous research has

looked at glamping statistics, this study

looks at what people think about it. It is,

after all, how people feel and think that

will determine glamping’s future”.

Greg is seeking participants to

contribute their perspectives to the

research. You can view the study overview

at https://lnkd.in/g72yunH

CREDIT: HSSP Architects

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 5


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PRODUCT

New Unidome Roof System

UNIDOME IS pleased to release a new roof system for the

popular Unidome 12 model, handmade in house using the same

materials that the dome is constructed of. This addition increases

the rigidity of the structure and is easier to install and hang

lighting and decorations from. It can also be easily repaired if

damaged. Midland Domes have recently purchased five Unidome

12s with the new roofs and kindly supplied the picture.

Unidome is also pleased to be moving into Europe with a new

working partner in The Glamping Revolution that has been doing

great work spreading the word and putting domes up in desirable

locations in Lisbon.

07776 263163, james@unidome.co.uk, www.unidome.co.uk

New ICED COOLERS 15

Litre ‘Picnic’ Cool Box

COOL BOXES UK, long time distributor of the legendary

Icey-Tek range of cool boxes, is proud to announce a new

partnership with ICED COOLERS – starting with the 15 litre

‘Picnic’ Cool Box which debuts at this year’s Glamping Show.

The ICED COOLERS 15 Litre ‘Picnic’ is a premium cool box.

Construction is incredibly strong with a handy stainless steel

handle. The ideal cooler for beach visits, picnics, lunches out

and so much more, its pressure-injected commercial grade

insulation foam will keep its contents cooler for longer.

The 15 litre ‘Picnic’ comes complete with two gel packs, two

baskets and a compartment divider – plenty of options to let

you configure the cool box to work for your needs. Available in

Cool Coral, Army Green and White to suit all tastes.

Cool Boxes UK is offering a five year warranty and continues

to offer the first class customer service that has gained the

company a consistent 5 Star rating on the independent review

site Trustpilot.

01326 555765 / sales@coolboxesuk.com

www.coolboxesuk.com

12 Week Lead Time for

Huts Crafted in Yorkshire

TAKE HOME your very own piece of Yorkshire

tranquillity, whether you’re looking for a cosy retreat, an

exceptional home office or a home away from home.

Oliver’s Huts are the proud creators of unique,

sustainably crafted shepherd huts. Based in the North

Yorkshire countryside, the company draws on two

decades of carpentry experience, love and care.

“I’ve always had a passion for small spaces,” says

owner Oliver Molyneux. “From treehouses and horsebox bars to studios and offices – you name

it, I wanted to build it! It was this passion that first led me to pursue a carpentry apprenticeship at the

Cowdray Park Estate in West Sussex.

“We currently have a fast turnaround with a 12 week lead time and are including all white goods and a

mattress with every shepherd’s hut. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about us and

what we can do for you.”

07891 747946 / contact@olivershuts.co.uk / www.olivershuts.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 7


PRODUCT

Wimbledon Stamps Down on Waste Plastic

WIMBLEDON INTERNATIONAL Tennis Tournament has saved hundreds of

thousands of single-use plastic cups going into landfill by partnering up

with Green Goblet and using reusable cups on site this year.

With specially designated return bins, and instructions on the cups/

goblets to return them to these bins, the vessels were able to be

professionally washed and dried overnight by the Green Goblet team. They

were then delivered back to site the next day ready to be used again and

will be used many times over in the years to come.

The reusable cups were well received by the tennis fans who enjoyed

drinking out of a sturdy eco cup. Wimbledon used its influence as one of

the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world by showing that we

should all be looking at ways of becoming more environmentally friendly.

They certainly got the message out there with ‘Please Help Us Reduce

Plastic Waste’ written on the cups.

Well done Wimbledon for a highly successful tournament and for using

the initiative of saving the planet one cup at a time.

01278 238390, info@green-goblet.com, www.green-goblet.com

Six Weeks of Silent Discos at

Cloud Nine Glamping

SILENT NOIZE Events, the Birmingham

based headphone supplier, will be

bringing the 'silent' party to the Cloud

Nine Glamping festival series which

takes place at three sites in Dorset, the

Cotswolds and Norfolk this summer.

Duncan Strain, director of Silent

Noize, said: “We are so excited to

partner with such a fantastic brand and

to bring the silent sound-track to the

party this summer at these amazing

family glamping festivals! I’m a family

man and know how much kids and

grown-ups alike love dancing together

without necessarily having to share the

same taste in music. Our silent discos

are guaranteed to get the whole family

moving and lost in the joy of music

together.”

Silent Noize Events have added

the Cloud Nine festival series to their

increasingly busy summer portfolio

showing that the appetite for live events

is as strong as ever.

“After what's been a tumultuous time

for the industry, organiser and audience

confidence seems to be growing stronger

every day, which is fantastic to see. Like

everyone in the live event sector, we can't

wait to be back out there doing what we

love this summer!”

0203 727 5382

info@silentnoizeevents.com

www.silentnoizeevents.com

8 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


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PEOPLE

ENTREPRENEUR’S CHAT

Caroline

Hamilton

A family with a stellar skill set pull together to create a £1.9

million diversification of their Scottish hill farm

BELOW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Son Alistair,

daughter Joanna, Caroline with husband

Graham, son Bobby


PEOPLE

The incredible transformation of

Cairns Farm from hill sheep farm to

contemporary wedding and events venue

was a whole family decision. Fourth

generation farmer Graham and his wife

Caroline, both approaching 60 “alarmingly

quickly”, were struggling to realise an

income from their 450 head of Scottish

Blackface ewes. “Our 1,200 acre hill farm

just wasn’t enough. We could rent more

land but it just isn’t economical,” says

Caroline, “and of our three children, we

have bred no farmers!”

They have in fact produced an interior

designer (daughter Joanna), a joiner

(eldest son Alistair) and a banker (middle

son Bobby) – a perfect combination as it turns out to

drive an ambitious £1.9 million diversification project.

“Despite their lack of interest in raising sheep,

the children were desperate not to lose the farm.

Following a difficult time four years ago, we started

to think about how we could secure things for the

future. It was a whole family decision and there was

no way we would have undertaken the venture had

the children not been 100 per cent behind it; we

would have sold up and moved on to something

else.”

Having toyed with the thought of creating an

events venue at the farm for over a decade, it was

February 2017 when the decision was made. “The

location is very beautiful,” says Caroline. “We have a

body of water in front of the house and hills behind.

Despite being close to civilisation (about 15 miles

from Edinburgh) it feels very remote.”

In deciding on the style of venue, the family’s vision

was for something unlike anything else the area had

to offer. “There are a few other venues around but

not like us – they are either barns, marquee venues,

castles or stately homes, so we set out to be totally

different.”

Caroline describes the resulting building as a

contemporary take on a modern farm building

conversion. “Using what you already have is always

a good idea,” she says. “We had two metal framed

sheep sheds that were used for sheep handling and

were about 30 years old. They had the potential to

be pretty ugly but we used them as the basis of the

conversion. The result is a contemporary structure

with tradition woven in, and we have continued this

theme with the décor and landscaping.”

The family used a local architect, Chris Duncan

from Mill Architects with whom they had worked

before. “We went to Chris and said ‘this is what we

want to do – help’. He came up with a vision and we

said ‘you’re mad’. Then we thrashed it out between

us. Chris is great – he likes to think outside the box

but is easy enough to rein in.”

The family’s skills really came into their own during

the project. “Joanna’s design skills were invaluable

and she worked closely with the architect, Alistair was

the practical one and project managed the build and

Bobby would say ‘you can’t afford that’.”

The building features two huge rooms – a

ceremony room and a function room – with capacity

for 140. A commercial kitchen and sleek bar area is

complemented by an outdoor terrace with firepits.

“We are 900 feet up and have some glorious

weather and also some awful weather,” says Caroline.

“The day before our first ever wedding we had the

most revolting weather but the beauty of the building

is that it is solid, safe and secure and enormously

light inside, no matter what’s going on outside.

12 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


PEOPLE

“The only thing we couldn’t quite stretch to was

renewables to heat and power things. That said, we

designed in the ability to retrofit technology when we

have enough money to do so.”

NO EASY RIDE

Despite the family team’s perfect skill set, the

project nearly fell at the first hurdle. “Planning was a

nightmare,” says Caroline. “We used consultants for

everything – pages and pages of flooding reports, noise

reports, engineers’ reports – I didn’t know there were

so many consultants out there! I’d advise anyone going

through this process to read everything. You’ll find

that some consultants copy and paste whole chunks of

their report, assuming things will be applicable to you

when in fact they aren’t. Ours assumed we would want

to tarmac everything and need £1,000s of attenuation

tanks and a sewage system running up a hill.

“We were very apprehensive that we would get

planning so we didn’t fight our corner as well as we

could have. At the pre-planning meeting the planners

were behind our proposals but, strangely, the

economic development team was not! They eventually

came round but the whole process was tiresome and

troublesome.”

Funding was another nightmare. In total, the project

cost £1.9million. “We couldn’t get a bank or a rural

mortgage lender to support us. It was 2018 and lenders

had been badly bitten 10 years previously. In addition,

as our project didn’t fall into either agriculture or

hospitality, we didn’t tick the right box. Eventually we

went through a broker and topped up our lending with

everything we had, including our pensions. We also

got a second loan from Business Loans Scotland and a

forestry grant – every penny helped!”

The money hasn’t just gone on the venue building.

“THE DAY BEFORE

OUR FIRST EVER

WEDDING WE

HAD THE MOST

REVOLTING

WEATHER BUT

THE BEAUTY OF

THE BUILDING IS

THAT IT IS SOLID,

SAFE AND SECURE

AND ENORMOUSLY

LIGHT INSIDE,

NO MATTER

WHAT’S GOING ON

OUTSIDE”

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 13


PEOPLE

It was used to finance the

renovation of the main

farmhouse which is now used for

guest accommodation. “It sleeps

10 and forms part of an exclusive

hire package. We also spent

money on the landscaping and

six luxury cabins, which can be

hired in addition to a booking.

“It is our intention to refinance

next year when everything has

stablised and we have a clearer picture of what the

future might hold. My banker son gives me so much

confidence in steering the business. He often reminds

us that we need to find a balance between repaying

the borrowing we’ve taken out and also having some

more time for ourselves and our family. We also need

a new tractor – ours has nearly had it!”

PARTNERSHIP

The new venue is being run in partnership with local

events company Hickory on a commission basis.

“Hickory are contracted to us and we are tied into

quite a long time period. We get a commission on

every event held here and they do all the marketing,

administration and organising. Our job was to build

the venue and now to maintain it. It works well for us

as I don’t need a T-shirt that says ‘I run weddings’.

“My friend is a business consultant and introduced

us. We met Hickory in June 2017 and they were

influential at the planning stage and in the design of

the building in terms of its capacity etc.”

Caroline reports having 28 weddings booked

in for the remainder of this year and 44 for 2022.

“Our first was on 21 May. We could have opened

in June last year but obviously Covid put paid to

that. It is incredible we were ready given that we

had 20 contactors onsite on 18 March then we

were suddenly down to two and a half people! My

husband, eldest son and a digger driver worked away

before slowly, slowly the trades started to come back.

“It was a real cat and mouse game throughout

Covid – it was a stressful and difficult time. We could

have paid more people to get finished quicker but we

“WE WERE

FORTUNATE TO

BE ABLE TO TAKE

BOOKINGS FOR THE

VENUE, DESPITE

IT NOT BEING

FINISHED. HAVING

RENOVATED THE

MAIN FARMHOUSE,

WE USED IT FOR

SHOWROUNDS TO

DEMONSTRATE OUR

STYLE AND LEVEL

OF FINISH”

had little coming in, and no guarantee of when

events would be able to start again. What money

we had, had to be stretched over an undefined

timescale and as a new business with no track

record we were not eligible for any support

“We were fortunate to be able to take

bookings for the venue, despite it not being

finished. Having renovated the main farmhouse,

we used it for showrounds to demonstrate our

style and level of finish. We also made good use

of computer generated images.

“The farmhouse sleeps 10 and a bridal

party gets exclusive use of it with any wedding

booked. We had investigated building some

more cottage accommodation but the planners

were adamant they didn’t want any more

houses on the site so we went for the cabins to

increase accommodation in a relatively simple

fashion. We were fortunate to secure some

LEADER funding for them – the holy grail of

funding!”

LOOKING FORWARD

Caroline and Graham live on site in a cottage

and still farm the sheep. “We have a dream of

building our own eco house here but will get to

that once we have recovered from this project

and have more time and energy!

“The possibilities are endless with the venue

and if I was 30 years younger the business

might look very different. The ideas are still

there though, as is the enthusiasm to create

something that can help cement the community

in the area”.

The family has plans to investigate corporate

events, wellness breaks and outdoor activities.

“There has been a huge upsurge in agri-tourism

in Scotland and should the idea of the cabins

being taken as part of wedding packages fall flat,

we’ll look into offering short breaks.

“I believe in always moving forwards; never

look back. I had an intern that stayed with us

throughout the summer last year and she was

often heard saying, “there she goes again!”

14 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


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FUNCTION VENUES

CASE STUDY

The Lost

Village of Dode

Abandoned in 1349 when the

Black Death wiped out the

whole of the village of Dode

in Kent, Dode Church was

purchased by Doug and Mary

Chapman 30 years ago. Now

lovingly restored, it hosts

‘circle of life’ ceremonies from

baby namings and weddings

to memorial services. The

ancient and spiritual site

is also home to a sacred

stone circle and two tranquil

holiday cottages. We talk to

ceremony coordinator Becky

Mayger about what makes

Dode such a unique and

special place.

A 900 year old abandoned church with

an intriguing history in north Kent

When did you start your venue business

and what is its history?

The Lost Village of Dode is owned by retired

couple Doug and Mary Chapman (although

Doug prefers the term ‘keeper’) who still

keep a close involvement in its running. They

purchased the derelict Norman Church with a

couple of acres of land on an impulse 30 years

ago. It had been abandoned at the time of the

Black Death in 1349 and essentially unused

since then.

History has always been Doug’s passion

and the opportunity of restoring and

conserving a building that was 900

years old, with such a mysterious

and intriguing past, was too good

to miss! The church stands

on a manmade mound

and was built in 1100

but the origins of the

site go back much

further into the

mists of time. The hill

that surrounds and protects it is known as

Holly Hill, a corruption of Holy Hill, and is

approached by a lane that goes nowhere. Its

ancient name is Wrangling Lane, clues to a

site of great antiquity.

Tell us about your location and site

The location of Dode is truly unique, it is

literally lost, some few miles up a single

track road in a valley in the North Downs of

Kent – almost at the end of a lane that goes to

nowhere. Many people in the general vicinity

16 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

recent years open air, naturebased

handfastings have become

an extremely popular part of our

offering.

don’t even know it’s there, or if they

do they’re not always exactly sure

where it is! This is both a challenge

and a blessing.

Perhaps the silence is its most

noticeable feature or the church’s

commanding position on its ancient

mound overlooking the valley.

What facilities for outdoor

functions do you offer?

Our facilities for outdoor functions

are purposefully limited so as not to

detract from the natural beauty and

setting of the site. Civil ceremonies

and receptions are all held inside

the small unassuming church.

In the meadow below the church

is a stone circle, within which

our hand fasting ceremonies are

conducted. A recent addition is a

‘circle of life’ conceived, refreshed

and maintained each year by our

gardener Chris.

Artfully concealed by trees and

hedging, a canopy overlooking the

site is sufficient to provide shelter

to our guests if needed and extends

over the lawn. Tucked away behind

the church are two purpose built

“A RECENT

ADDITION

IS A ‘CIRCLE

OF LIFE’

CONCEIVED,

REFRESHED

AND

MAINTAINED

EACH YEAR

BY OUR

GARDENER

CHRIS”

retreat cottages to sleep up to six

guests, one with a hot tub in the

bedroom.

What services do you offer?

In keeping with its original purpose

Dode principally celebrates ‘the

circle of life’ but now in a nonreligious

or Humanist setting.

Weddings, baby naming /welcoming

ceremonies, renewal of vows and

memorial services are our principal

business although within more

Describe how you researched and

sourced your structures

Apart from the church the only

permanent structures currently on

the site are the retreat cottages, built

some 21 years ago. Designed in the

vernacular style of a building of the

16th century to blend unobtrusively

into the landscape, the oak frame

was sourced and provided by a

local specialist company and uses

reclaimed materials as much a

possible (including many found on

site).

How do you work with your

customers to make their event

unique?

We only offer 42 ceremonies a year

and, as ceremony coordinator, I

support couples from start to finish.

I have first-hand experience as my

own ceremony was held at Dode

and I am only too happy to become

as involved as a couple may wish.

Build Your Own

Shepherd Huts

With Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts original parts.

Call 01262 470475 or

Visit www.shepherd-huts.com

and click on the ‘self build’ page

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 17


FUNCTION VENUES

How do you publicise yourself?

We have grown very organically

over the years and the majority

of our couples come to us via

recommendation or have an interest

in local history and happen to have

stumbled across us one day. We

also have our website, social media

channels, some directories we use

and of course Google!

How would you describe your

style or unique selling point?

Where else in the UK can you

celebrate with loved ones within the

stone walls of an ancient 900 year

old church, lit by candlelight and

with the smell of hops and straw

strewn across the floor?

What challenges have you faced

historically?

There have been many challenges

(all of which have been overcome)

but undoubtedly the most difficult

to understand historically was the

attitude of the Church of England

who tried unsuccessfully to ban the

use of Dode for civil weddings, made

even more baffling as some years

before we had offered them the use

of the church free of charge!

The resultant national publicity

however quite literally proved ‘a

godsend’.

How has Covid-19 impacted you?

Like many others, the majority of

our 2020 couples postponed to

2021/22 however we were fortunate

to do a few smaller ceremonies

during the various lockdown

lifts last year. We are closed from

January to April anyway so we were

lucky in this aspect to not be too

affected. We worked closely with

our couples to be able to move

their dates swiftly and with the least

stress possible.

How large is your team – any

special people you’d like to

mention?

We are a small family team. Doug

and Mary have looked after Dode

for the last 30 years and then we

have myself, ceremony coordinator,

who runs everything plus our on the

day host Graham, and finally our

celebrant Paul. We also work closely

with a great group of suppliers to

provide packages to our couples, for

example our caterers The Flying Pig

Kitchen, our florist MoodyBlooms

and photographer Matt James

Photography.

Have you worked with any

industry bodies or consultants?

We have followed news from the UK

Wedding Taskforce closely regarding

the updates in government

guidance and restrictions, and

take advice from Bridebook HQ.

On Facebook, the Wedding Venues

Members club run by Host Venue

Consultancy has been a fantastic

source of information and support

from fellow venues especially during

this period of Covid.

What are your plans for next

season?

For us the season has begun with

our couples proceeding with their

intimate and special days. With

most of 2020 weddings having

moved into 2021 we are busier

than ever and already over half

18 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

full for the 2022 season. Currently

we are really trying to change the

public perception of Dode from a

‘wedding venue’ back to a church

which celebrates the circle of life, of

course in non-religious or humanist

ceremonies.

Describe your average day

mid-season

We generally host between one to

three exclusive events a week during

our open season (April-October

and December), whether this be

a full day wedding/reception, a

handfasting ceremony or a baby

naming ceremony.

Typically a wedding day begins

with our host Graham opening up

the church in the morning to start

the task of setting up and lighting

all the candles. Ceremonies are

generally held at around 1-2pm so

guests would arrive via minibus

from 12.30pm and are welcomed

by Graham. Some choose to have

non-alcoholic welcome drinks

while others will wait until after

the ceremony. Civil ceremonies are

conducted within the church but for

spiritual blessings and nature-based

handfastings these generally take

place around our sacred stone circle.

Drinks and canapés on the

lawn follow the ceremony while

the couple spend time with the

photographer. Receptions would

begin by around 5pm, seated inside

the church on two long banquet

tables. With Dode providing a

relaxed and informal atmosphere,

table plans are kept minimal with

“WITH DODE

PROVIDING A

RELAXED AND

INFORMAL

ATMOSPHERE,

TABLE PLANS

ARE KEPT

MINIMAL WITH

COUPLES

CHOOSING

TO SIT

WITH THEIR

WEDDING

GUESTS AS

OPPOSED TO

‘TOP TABLES’”

couples choosing to sit with their

wedding guests as opposed to ‘top

tables’. The meal, frequently based

on a hog roast banquet, is served

followed by the cake cutting, first

dance and music into the night.

Transport arrives at 10pm to ferry

guests home.

What do you enjoy about the

business and why?

We love meeting so many wonderful

and diverse people all with their

own styles and visions for the day.

Many of the people who have their

ceremony at Dode form a long

lasting attachment.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in?

We run various non-profit

community events throughout the

year such as afternoon teas, history

talks, supper nights etc. Our on-site

retreat cottages are also on Airbnb

when not in use by wedding couples

and we attract a large number

of people from the city looking

to escape and wind down for a

weekend.

What are you most proud of?

We are proud of those simple

villagers all those many years ago

that originally built the church.

Without them we wouldn’t have

what we do now.

ADDRESS BOOK

FURNITURE

Locate to Create –

www.locatetocreate.com

DIRECTORY SITES

Bridebook – www.bridebook.com

Hitched – www.hitched.co.uk

DETAILS

The Lost Village of Dode

Great Buckland

Luddesdown

Gravesend

Kent DA13 0XF

01622 734205

www.dodevillage.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 19


FUNCTION VENUES

Adding Value

Nervous of upselling? Try the term ‘adding value’ to increase

sales instead says Caroline Cooper

GETTY IMAGES

AS BUSINESS owners we know that often

the profit is in those all important additional

sales – more so now than ever if you

have a reduced capacity. But gaining that

additional revenue from each booking isn’t

always easy.

Over the years I’ve delivered many

workshops focusing on ‘upselling’, and

written training materials for clients that

included sessions on it. But whenever I get

involved in this topic there are always one

or two people who find the idea of upselling

uncomfortable.

The challenge is we (and our team) often

feel reluctant to upsell. We don’t want to

be pushy or be seen to be manipulating

customers into buying something they

simply don’t want. Which means there’s

hesitation in how and what we suggest,

which of course the customer can sense.

Or worse, we simply don’t even attempt

to upsell as we’re fearful of losing the

customer’s trust. But just think about it for a

moment… Let’s see what can happen when

we don’t upsell on experiences.

Imagine you’ve just been on your holiday

of a lifetime to Fantastique (made up place,

obviously!). Because it was a special holiday

you decided to book through a personal

travel agent. You had a wonderful time, and

when you get home you’re chatting with

some friends about your amazing holiday.

Then one of them asks you, “What did you

think of Awesome Island?”

You look at them blankly, and ask

“where?” To which they reply

“What! You mean you went all

the way to Fantastique and

didn’t go to Awesome

Island?! You would have loved it! It’s the best

thing about the place!”

How do you now feel about your holiday?

You know you’ll never go back there, but

now you find out you’ve missed one of the

best things to do/see. Why on earth didn’t

your travel agent tell you about this place?!

When upselling is done for the right

reasons it’s a good thing, as it can add

real value and enhance the customer’s

experience. Although we don’t want to be

pushy, if we don’t offer other items we may

leave the customer not even realising they

exist. Result? Disappointment. Frustration.

Regret.

So, if you or any of your team don’t feel

that upselling is a part of their job, reframe

the way you see and describe it. Instead, get

into the mindset of ‘adding value’.

ADDING VALUE

It isn’t just about increasing the customer

spend, it’s about giving the customer a

better all-round experience, giving them

something they might have forgotten to ask

for, never thought of, or maybe never even

knew existed.

Just like that little prompt we see when

we buy anything on Amazon “Customers

who bought this item also bought…” or

“Frequently bought together” – we are

simply giving the customer a choice.

I DIDN’T KNOW YOU DID THAT!

One of the most frustrating things to hear

from a customer is when they say to you,

“Oh, I didn’t know you could supply that;

I’ve just bought it from so and so down the

road!”

Not only have you lost out on a potential

sale, but you’ve also given the customer

more work, and potentially allowed them to

go to a competitor.

A thorough product knowledge is crucial

for everyone in your team if you expect them

to make the most of opportunities to upsell.

There are three factors at play here:

Product knowledge

1 This might sound obvious, but try this

exercise with your team. Ask everyone

individually (you included) to write down

everything your venue can offer a customer.

Don’t worry too much at this point about

dividing it into different categories, in fact

it’s better if you don’t as very often we

forget to cross sell between departments or

different types of booking/events.

Now ask everyone to share their list (and

ideally capture these on a flipchart as you

go). I can almost guarantee you that as

you go round your team there will

always be one or two products or

services on someone’s list that

20 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

no one else has thought of.

Repeat this exercise for everything you

can source for your customers through

joint-venture partners/other local

businesses. You’ll be amazed just how

much is potentially on offer. Admittedly,

not everything on this list will be things you

typically want to promote; they may be

loss leaders, or involve a disproportionate

amount of effort, but at least you can make a

conscious decision as to whether or not you

want to promote these items/services or not.

Spotting opportunities

2 Involve your team in identifying

situations that lend themselves as an

opportunity to upsell not just in their own

department but across all areas. Putting

themselves in the customer’s shoes. What

might be a logical addition to get the most

out of their stay/event, based on the needs,

expectations, and the type of experience

your customer wants to create?

Know your audience and review the

buying patterns of your most profitable

customers. What types of things do they

frequently buy together? Is this something

you already offer, or is this something where

a joint venture with another local business

would make things easier for you and your

customer, but still keep the business in

house?

It's also about timing – bombarding

customers with all the potential extras from

the outset may be overwhelming, whereas

once the priority products/services are

secured, a customer may be more open to

consider additional items.

Getting emotional

3 Much of the buying decision for

additional sales will be based on emotion

rather than logic. Describing something with

enthusiasm and feeling can be hard when

you’ve not had any first-hand experience, so

as far as is reasonably possible expose your

team members to as much of the customer

journey, products and services as possible.

This not only makes them more memorable,

but your team will also be more willing to

promote if they’re confident to talk about

them. And it will certainly be easier to evoke

emotional appeal through vivid descriptions

of taste, smell, feel, if they've experienced

things themselves.

Use your internal team to train others so

they can cross sell. For example, your pastry

chef will do a better job of describing your

desserts or afternoon teas than a manager

who isn’t involved in making the cakes or

puddings. Involving others in the team who

you know have an interest and passion for

that service and/or products and who will be

more than happy to share their knowledge,

allows their enthusiasm to rub off.

GETTY IMAGES

If you don’t have the knowledge internally,

ask your suppliers to help your team feel

confident in explaining to customers what’s

available. No one is going to be able to

explain all the options for marquees or

stetch tents like your suppliers can, but they

can at least give your team a head start.

It’s all very well knowing what to say, but

you know how sometimes when you come

to say something the words just don’t trip off

the tongue as you might hope! Let your team

practise in a safe environment, based on

different scenarios.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Many upselling or cross selling opportunities

can never truly be foreseen. It’s only when

you listen carefully to the customer and

understand their expectations or dreams

that we see the opportunity; that quirky little

factor, or one component that adds that

magic touch.

It’s one thing, spotting these

opportunities, but it’s quite another for

your team to feel confident in suggesting or

offering this to your customers; to suggest

something that is not on your normal

offering, but could be the one thing that

really makes the difference.

Empower your team to think creatively

and be flexible; give them authority to do

whatever they see is the best fit for the

customer. You may still want to set a limit on

this so they know at what point they need to

get sign off, but the more flexibility you give

them the more likely they are to meet and

exceed that customer’s expectations.

RECOGNITION

The simplest form of recognition is to share

and review good examples of upselling

and cross selling and the impact on the

business and the customer’s experience.

Assuming you do some kind of regular team

briefings or a debrief after each event, this

is a good time to review your upselling and

cross selling success stories. This helps your

team recognise best practice, which in turn

helps and encourages them to spot further

opportunities.

You may consider linking your upselling

activity to some goals. If you do go down

this route, there are a few factors to bear in

mind. Whatever goals you set ensure they

are clearly measurable and achievable, so

there is no subsequent dispute. Check that

any incentive is equitable, so everyone is

motivated to contribute; the last thing you

want is one person undermining or working

against a colleague in order to qualify

for the incentive. Finally, make sure that

any incentive does not lead to pushiness

or inappropriate recommendations for

customers.

IN SUMMARY

Letting your customer know about other

products or services that might complement

what they already have, you can really help

to enhance the whole experience as well as

your bottom line!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Cooper is the

founder of Naturally Loyal

and has over 30 years' training

and development experience

in hospitality. Recognising that

managers in hospitality often get

promoted into positions without much

training, her key focus is on developing newly

promoted and junior managers to lead and

engage their teams effectively. Caroline has

a number of free resources and guides you

can access at www.naturallyloyal.com/freeresources

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 21


THE POD BODS

NATURE DWELLINGS | OUTDOOR LIVING | HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS

Visit: thepodbods.com | Call: 01924 677002 | Mail: Info:@thepodbods.com

22 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ARS ELECTRONICA - ROBERT BAUERNHANSL

GETTY IMAGES

INDUSTRY COMMENT

Business Events

Hybrid Flexibility

Being flexible will be the most important trait for the next 12 months

as we all hope that stability returns to the corporate events market

ABOVE: Ars Electronica

Festival for arts,

technology and

society offers a ‘Home

Delivery’ service of

virtual and interactive

seminars. The 2021

hybrid event takes

place in Linz, Austria,

and at more than 100

locations around the

world

THE ONE thing that corporate event

organisers have learned recently is that

the show must go on. Their need to train,

motivate and reward their employees is still

there, although the medium through which

this is delivered has changed. Events have

migrated online and for some this works

perfectly well while others fall short.

The whole purpose of an event is to

create interaction and build relationships.

However, from behind the aperture of

a webcam it just doesn’t have the same

impact. Fractious internet connections, ‘you

are on mute’, and a work life recently lived

out on Zoom means online events will wane.

Wane but not cease.

Accountants must also be having a heyday

as they realise the potential cost savings of

hosting events online. Why pay for travel,

subsistence and DDR or 24 hour rates when

you can stream and record your online event

and share it with every single employee in

your organisation?

HR conversely are pressured to rebuild

company cultures lost through 15 months

of online communications. Worst still is

instilling company culture to new recruits

who have never even set foot in the office

and have only met their teams online.

We’ve seen over the last 14 months

that some events genuinely work better

online such as classroom-based learning,

conversely an awards dinner doesn’t.

No fist punch and no slap on the back is

the equivalent of a wedding without the

dancing.

STUDIO EVENT SPACES

Hybrid or blended is the way forward and

venues need to be up to speed with their

packages. Hybrid events bring a certain

amount of delegates together, the event is

streamed online and recorded enabling a

wider audience to listen to the entire content

or edited highlights.

The benefits are huge and there is less

reliance on all speakers being in one place at

the same time as they can be pre-recorded

or streamed in, or better still be present at

the event. Delegates who were previously

invited to the event but may have been

periphery to the content can be invited

online instead of being a more costly in

person attendee.

There’s also a school of thought that some

delegates would be better dialling in due to

their rank in the company potentially leading

to a new slant on ‘company politics’!

Some venues have already built studio

style event spaces and readily offer hybrid

as part of their portfolio. Alternatively a

hybrid set up can be dropped in as and when

required (however, instillation and derig is a

costly business). Speak with your preferred

AV company or go broadcast quality with

Platinum Productions who have mastered

hybrid.

For sure, venues who are actively

promoting blended or hybrid events are

setting themselves apart in a volatile market

place where flexibility is a must. Our business

networking is all the more important and

while we can’t shake hands face-to-face,

shaking hands online remains an important

part of business relationships.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

www.triggerfish.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 23


FUNCTION VENUES

Land for Events

Could your land play host to public events?

asks Charlotte Winship

IF YOU are fortunate to sit on a significant

piece of land then you could be of great

interest to outdoor event organisers.

You may even be tempted to organise

something yourself. However, be it a

partnership agreement, dry hire or inhouse,

creating events requires careful

consideration.

As with any new business venture it pays

to do your homework and make a plan.

Planning a public event is definitely not for

the faint-hearted but it is a lot of fun and the

euphoria at the end of a successful show is

hard to beat.

Do not underestimate the amount of

work that goes into planning any size of

event. Administration, sales, marketing,

coordination, operations, security, health

and safety, legal liability, infrastructure

etc. The larger the event the bigger the

workload but smaller events do still require

plenty of planning, particularly if you

have not hosted one before. How much

involvement will you have? Do you have

the capacity to take on an event yourself or

should you consider hiring a professional?

Should you consider simply renting your

land out to an event organiser?

1

CHOOSE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL

Before you start you need decide on

your business model. Renting your

land to an organiser is certainly the most

simple route and will be preferable if you

are already very busy and just looking for a

straightforward income supplement. The

income you achieve from renting your land

will be determined by a number of factors.

The size and type of event, the attractiveness

of your event site, the location, what existing

facilities you can offer and the competition.

Before you enter into any discussion with

an organiser, decide how much you need to

derive from each event to make it worth your

while. Speak to other local landowners about

their experience and find out their hire rate.

You will still carry some liability for public

safety but essentially you are simply the host

“IF YOU ARE ENTERING INTO

A CONTRACT WITH A THIRD

PARTY, FIND OUT AS MUCH AS

YOU CAN ABOUT THE EVENT

ORGANISER BEFOREHAND”

and the event organiser is responsible for

everything else. Agree a hire fee for the use of

your land and consider adding a refundable

damage deposit.

If you are hosting and organising the

event yourself then you may achieve a better

income however with this comes increased

investment in both time and money. It also

brings increased risk. Outdoor public events

are notoriously high risk; the British weather

is increasingly unpredictable and it can often

take several years for new events to turn a

significant profit. You may want to consider

profit share with the event organiser though

this partnership also carries similar risks.

If you are entering into a contract with

a third party, find out as much as you can

about the event organiser beforehand. As the

landowner you still carry liability and duty

of care over members of the public visiting

your land. It is also your name attached to

the property and your reputation as a future

events holder that you need to protect. Who

are they? What experience do they have?

Where have they worked previously? Do they

have all the correct licences, insurances,

policies etc? Don’t be afraid to ask for a

reference from another landowner. If you

are already in possession of a Premises

Licence then it may also be wise to ask the

event organiser to make their own licensing

arrangements – you do not want your future

license jeopardised by the activities of

another event organiser.

Before entering into any formal

arrangement, I strongly advise seeking

legal advice and asking a lawyer to help you

to draw up a Licence To Occupy. This is a

contract for an event organiser to use your

land for a set period and purpose under

specific terms and conditions. Make sure

your contract defines limits of liability and

obligations of responsibility relating to health

and safety. It should also specify required

insurances, indemnities and recovery of costs

in case anything goes wrong.

2

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION

Outdoor events are seasonal; spring,

summer, early autumn and Christmas.

Will the event interrupt any other business

activities such as weddings or holiday letting?

Will your other business activities have an

impact on the success of the event?

Are you farming the land? How long can

you feasibly set-aside land? No-one wants to

be dancing in cow-pats or sitting on stubble!

A freshly mown, soft, grassy, dry meadow is

ideal!

24 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

LEFT & BELOW: The Great Estate festival at

Scorrier House, Cornwall

How can you partition your land or

premises to ensure that one activity does

not infringe upon the other? How can they

operate in tandem? Can you temporarily

cease one activity to allow for another? Do

you have the acreage to isolate activities

from one another? Consider health and

safety as well as simply the enjoyment of

visitors and guests.

3

FIELD FIT FOR A FESTIVAL

Assess the suitability of your land.

Does it have a steep gradient? Though

hilltops can supply amazing vistas, they

are not always ideal for building temporary

structures. What happens when it rains? Does

the field turn into a lake or do you have good

drainage? What is going on overhead? Trees

and overhead power lines are not helpful

for large temporary structures. Likewise,

underground utilities need to be avoided. A

plan of your land showing the location of the

event site in relation to power lines, trees and

any water pipes is vital.

What existing infrastructure do you have

in place? Do you have access to mains

water? If not, then you or any organiser will

likely need to hire additional fresh water. It

is also likely that you/they will require an

additional temporary power supply from

a generator. You/they will need to speak to

everyone involved and calculate their power

requirements in advance to gauge the power

supply needed. You/they will also likely

require a contractor to remove excess waste.

If you or an organiser are intending to

promote a ‘green’ event then you/they will

also need to look at ways to minimise waste,

discouraging the use of plastic and looking

at ways to separate materials for recycling or

composting.

Conduct a site risk assessment. Are there

any hazards that could impact the safety and

wellbeing of visitors, event staff or suppliers?

4

PLAY TO YOUR EVENT AUDIENCE

In organising an event, you need to

ask: Who is your audience? What’s their

demographic? Where are they coming from?

How long will they be on site at the event?

What will they need whilst they are on site?

Answers to these questions will impact the

facilities you will need to provide.

If visitors are coming from far away then

they will likely bring a car and will require

parking. Do you have good road access? How

close are you to public transport? Can you

offer adequate car parking space? Can you

offer on-site accommodation? Camping,

holiday cottages, glamping, hotel, bed and

breakfast? You will certainly need toilets and

drinking water.

You should also consider the type and

timing of the event. Daytime events are

a different animal to night-time events.

Daytime events are more family friendly and

attract a broader demographic. They are less

likely to attract the risk of alcohol related

incidents. Night-time events are less sociable

for your close neighbours, particularly if there

is loud music involved. They also require

additional infrastructure in terms of lighting

after dark.

5

EVENT ADMIN

Organising public events yourself

requires plenty of administration in

terms of licences, insurances, assessments,

plans and preparation. Make a detailed plan

early on. Include what the event is, what

will be needed to organise it successfully,

who will be attending, who will be involved

in delivering it, when it will take place and

any other deadlines, where it will take place

including a detailed site plan, how you will

deliver it including any actions that you

will need to take to prepare the site or your

business for interruption and impact.

It is a good idea to speak to your Local

Authority at least six months before the event

to check what permissions and licences you

will need. Depending on the nature of your

event, you may or may not need a Premises

Licence. A Premises Licence is required for

all licensable activities including the sale

of alcohol, live and recorded music, the

performance of a play, film screenings and

indoor sport.

If the event is a one-off, you can apply

for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). This

allows you to temporarily conduct licenced

activities for up to 499 people including the

sale of alcohol. Please note that you can only

apply for a limited number of TENs each year.

More information can be found on your local

council’s website.

Other licences you may need, depending

on the nature of the event, are an

Entertainment Licence which allows you

to play live or recorded music, Single Title

Screening Licence which allows you to screen

films, and an Alcohol Licence for the sale of

alcohol.

Before granting licences, the local

authority may want to know about your

event. What activities you have planned,

what emergency planning is in place, your

Health & Safety plan, risk assessments and

insurances.

All events and activities involving members

of the public will require some form of

Public Liability Insurance. If you are directly

employing staff, whether on a permanent

or temporary basis, you will also require

Employers Liability Insurance.

It is good practice to notify the emergency

services of your event in advance and also

provide advance notice to the public. If you

are intending to stage fireworks then you will

also need to make an application to the fire

service.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 25


FUNCTION VENUES

6

EVENT LEGACY

If you are planning on holding successive

events then make sure your neighbours

enjoyed the first one! How close is your

nearest neighbour? What impact will the

event have on them? Are there any covenants

on your land which may preclude the local

authority granting permission or give your

neighbours cause to frustrate the event? It

is wise to keep an open dialogue with your

neighbours from the beginning. Listen to

and acknowledge their concerns. What

measures can you put in place to mitigate

their disturbance or inconvenience? They

have the right to object if the event is deemed

a nuisance and this could cause the council

to limit the scope of the event or even revoke

your licence in the future.

Who else could the event impact? High

traffic volume in an otherwise quiet part of the

countryside can cause immense problems to

all road users. Plan how visitors will access the

event site. You certainly don’t want frustrated

visitors arriving (or not arriving). If narrow

roads surround your property, can you put in

place a one-way system to avoid congestion?

Is there good access to public transport? Can

you encourage people to walk or cycle to your

event?

How will the event impact your land? Is

there risk of damage to good pasture or arable

soil? What environmental impact could it have

on waterways and other fragile ecosystems?

7

TELL THEM AND THEY WILL COME

Last but not least, sales and marketing.

An event is nothing without a crowd of

people, small or large. Amidst all the planning

and preparation you will also need to be

talking about the amazing event you are

planning. How are people going to hear about

it? How will they book tickets?

Having an event website is a good idea as

it gives credibility and authenticity. It is also

a great communication device for answering

questions, providing information and helping

people find you. Social media is also very

powerful at helping to tell the world about

your event. Choose a platform suitable for the

audience you are trying to attract and focus

your attention here. Make sure you set aside

the resources to manage sales and marketing,

whether this is your time or another’s, it is

fundamental to your success.

Equally if you have decided to go down

the route of hiring your land to other event

organisers don’t expect the phone to start

ringing as soon as you have made a decision

to do it. You will need to go out to market and

tell people. Build a website, add photos of

your event site, highlighting all its attractions

and virtues. Communicate what types of

events are best suited for the site, give people

an idea of the cost of hire and explain if

there are any specific hire conditions eg. no

fireworks. Also, use social media targeting the

audience you are looking to attract eg. festival

organisers. It is also worth reaching out

directly to event organisers and inviting them

to visit your site. The Association of Festival

Organisers (AFO) is a great resource for finding

festival and event organisers and also seeking

advice and support.

As you can see, there is plenty to consider

when deciding to open up your land for events

but there are certainly rewards. The first event

is always the hardest but like most businesses,

once you have a good system and process

in place it will become easier. You will also

encounter unexpected problems which are

usually solved with a supportive team around

you, a sense of calm, patience and good

humour.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charlotte Winship has

over 20 years’ experience

transforming good wedding

and events venues into

great ones. She is an expert

in helping venues reach their

ideal customers, maximise sales

opportunities, increase profitability,

establish effective teams and streamline

venue operations. 07493 350303, charlotte@

charlottewinship.com,

www.charlottewinship.com

Voices of the West End' at Broadlands, Hampshire, in partnership with Ginger Boy Productions

MATT PYCROFT

CASE STUDIES

OLLIE WILLIAMS, SCORRIER HOUSE,

CORNWALL

We started with garden openings

and small agricultural shows at the

estate 30 years ago but it was really

only in the last five years that we got

into the festival business. It took a

very long time to find the right fit with

an organiser as we had a vision for a

family friendly event on the parkland

in front of the house. We talked to

various agents and promoters and

were very specific about what we

wanted.

In Cornwall there is a relatively

small group of people involved in

events and it didn’t take long to get

to know them. We ended up working

with Ben Hall from Quick Panda

Productions and launched The Great

Estate as a joint venture. We knew we

wouldn’t be making a huge amount

of money and took the view that the

event would be several years in the

making.

The event does have a big effect

on the running of the estate. We have

a number of operations including

farming, conservation and weddings

to fit in and there are a lot of moving

parts. This year it is running over the

August bank holiday and takes up

about a fifth of the total land usage

when you include parking, camping

etc.

Being a farm we had to put in quite

a lot of development in order to

produce large scale public events and

have been careful how we planned the

roads, electrics and water points.

We also run a number of drive in

cinema events and garden openings

in spring. At the moment around an

eighth of our income is from public

facing events, but there is also the

26 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

LEFT: The Great Estate festival at

Scorrier House

knock on effect to our broader business

including weddings. We obviously do

lose income over the event dates when

weddings can’t be booked and we do

worry about any impact bad weather

will have on the land, so we always

have wet weather plans in place to try

and avoid any muddy field impact.

We use a dry hire model for private

parties and weddings but with public

events, where our brand and image is

at stake, we prefer a joint partnership.

This year we are embarking on a new

venture and are one of the locations

for Paul Ainsworth’s Travelling Feast

festival.

EDWARD BARHAM, HOLE PARK, KENT

My wife Clare and I arrived here 18 years ago and each generation makes its own

choices of how the place is managed. To diversify our income streams away from

farming and traditional property-based sources, it seemed natural to host events,

particularly as we have the most beautiful place.

We looked around for a few organsiers to try and encourage here and very soon

identified the Wealden Times fairs, which at that time were on a very small site

nearby. I believe they would concur that it has been a wonderful arrangement for the

last 10 years.

The amount of events we run depends on enquiries, and to a certain degree what

you consider to be an event. We had a fantastic cross country fun run last weekend

which has minimal set up and this weekend it is the Wealden Times Midsummer Fair,

which is a huge expensive event. We also do many car rallies, often with motorsport

sections (driving the cars as opposed to standing around chatting about them), and

Napoleonic rallies. Last year we did a series of outdoor concerts but the organisers

have gone elsewhere (I hope they get struck by a plague of frogs, thunderstorms and

the events are disasters, as the penalty for not coming back to Hole Park!).

We are a dry hire venue only, agreeing licenses with the organiser. I do not have the

staff nor significant number of events to warrant any organisational infrastructure of

my own. This gives people great freedom. We do get involved in the site preparation

and any practicalities of an agricultural nature. I think our tractors will be busy towing

cars in and out this weekend, but fingers crossed.

Our events are part of the mix at Hole Park. They do impact how we use the field,

which would otherwise be grazed or cut for silage in support of the dairy herd, but

I will be honest and say that the income generated from these alternative uses is

rather in excess of an agricultural rent. So, the fair wins and the grazing and crop of

grass takes second place.

Voices of the West End, Broadlands

RICHARD JORDAN-BAKER,

BROADLANDS ESTATES, HAMPSHIRE

Events have been held here at

Broadlands for a very long time. The

Romsey Show for example was first

held here in 1881.

We normally hold between six to

10 events per year using a number of

business models – dry hire, a profit

share with an organiser and totally

in house. Currently we do a mix of

dry hire and a profit share mix but

are willing to discuss all kinds of

arrangements. We do not self-promote

at present.

Managing how the events side of

the business integrates with our other

operations can be complex, especially

with a hay crop and grazing cattle! Post

Covid, our aim for events to bring in 10

per cent of our income.

The Wealden Times

Midsummer Fair, Hole Park

DAVID MEREWETHER / WEALDEN TIMES

The Romsey Show, Boradlands

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 27


FUNCTION VENUES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Infrastructure

Waterside Kitchen and Bar,

Cotswolds Waterpark

Product: Unidome 12s with gull wing door and integrated flooring

Supplier: Unidome, 07776 263163,

james@unidome.co.uk, www.unidome.co.uk

Details: Situated on the peaceful banks of Walters Lake at

Cotswolds Waterpark, the Waterside Kitchen & Bar is attracts

friends and family for relaxed dining. Operated by Relish Group,

owner Phillipa Sawyer wanted a solution for outdoor dining that

was eye-catching and functional. Unidome was able to install over

a couple of days and create a space for people to dine in, in all

weathers.

Customer feedback: Phillipa Sawyer, owner of Relish, said: “The

domes have been enjoyed by many families and friends. Thank

you to Unidome for making that unique dining experience possible

during this time”.

Kew Gardens at Wakehurst

Product: Temp-A-Path and Hex Road

Supplier: EFS Europe, 01509 768252, sales@efseurope.co.uk,

www.efseurope.co.uk

Details: EFS Europe was commissioned to install 1,150m2

of Hex Road as an extra car park for Glow Wild, a winter

illumination event at Kew’s Royal Botanical Gardens at

Wakehurst, West Sussex. Taking place from 10 December

2020, 72,500 visitors enjoyed the beauty of Kew's wild

botanic garden in the dark.

EFS's Hex Road is a heavy duty, hexagonal roadway

system ideal for instant access and car parking at events and

exhibitions. A versatile non-metal interlocking system, it is

suitable for all types of ground and usage, protecting land

from long-term damage.

Alongside the Hex Road, 800m2 of Temp-A-Path was

installed with geomembrane to allow visitors to safely

navigate the enchanting lantern trails. Temp-A-Path,

designed, manufactured and installed by EFS Europe, is

a lightweight, interlocking modular flooring solution. It is

ideal for creating instant temporary flooring for marquees,

warehouses, pedestrian walkways and emergency access.

The system is quick and easy to install and is perfect for any

indoor or outdoor event.

Feedback: Speaking about the event, Jeremy Simpson,

EFS's managing director, said: “With Temp-A-Path already in

use at Kew Gardens in 2019 and again in 2020, the product

had proven itself to the event organisers who knew it would

stand up to the anticipated heavy footfall. We supplied the

flooring with geo-membrane to further protect the beautiful

gardens. We were delighted to be asked to supply Glow Wild,

which was another knock out success with three brand-new

artists creating stunning installations.”

28 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

The Oaklands Hotel, Norfolk

Product: Outdoor dining sets and six seat outdoor round rattan bar sets

with ice buckets and parasols

Supplier: Gardenman, 0330 021 0171, customerservices@gardenman.

co.uk, www.gardenman.co.uk

Details: Gardenman is one of the UK’s fastest growing outdoor furniture

retailers, helping families and businesses find the garden furniture sets

that meet their needs and aesthetics. This is exactly what they did with

The Oaklands Hotel in Norwich, a local business needing to adapt their

outside space throughout the pandemic, catering to the ever changing

restrictions.

Gardenman provided a range of garden furnishings to incorporate into

the bar and decking areas, including lounge and bar sets. These were

particularly successful due to the impressive ice bucket feature that each

bar set includes in the centre of their tables, reducing contact between

staff and customers.

The hotel’s newly renovated outside seating and bar area became

so popular that it decided to keep it as a permanent fixture for outdoor

dining, weddings and other events.

Gardenman can provide a range of garden furnishings for businesses,

organisations and events for a multitude of occasions. Whether you’re

looking to furnish your outside garden, decking or patio areas for a

wedding, fundraiser or party function, Gardenman can help you find the

perfect sets to fit the particular styles, seating arrangements and sizes that

you’re looking for. The company stocks garden furniture including sofa

sets, dining corner groups, fire pit sets, daybeds and much more.

View the collection online or at the Suffolk showroom.

Stradey Castle, South Wales

Product: PERFO-AK Anchor Tiles

Supplier: PERFO Ground Reinforcement (S2T Group),

01992 522797, info@perfo.co.uk, www.perfo.co.uk

Details: To increase the viability of Stradey Castle as

a venue for weddings, events and filming additional

parking space was required. However, due to the

sensitive historic and rural setting, a tarmac or

concrete car park was not desirable. Instead a

solution was required which was permeable, would

blend in with the surroundings and that met with

strict requirements of CADW, the Welsh government

body responsible for the protection of historic sites.

The area selected for the car park was overgrown,

uneven and poorly drained, but the best location

option due to space constraints. This area needed

to be cleared and levelled and a sub-base prepared.

Prior to installation of the selected PERFO-AK Anchor

Tiles, a project meeting took place, with S2T Group’s

expert advising on the most appropriate installation

method. A 100mm bedding layer of 5-10mm crushed

stone with added seeded soil for greening of the

parking spaces was prepared, into which the PERFO-

AK Anchor Tiles were embedded using appropriate

compaction equipment. Finally, the surface was

dressed with additional stone to enhance the overall

appearance.

Feedback: The car park has met with the customer’s

expectations in terms of functionality and

appearance, and blends in well with the castle and its

beautiful surroundings.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 29


FUNCTION VENUES

PRODUCT

The Perfect Alternative to

Concrete

Mudcontrol

01536 669630

sales@mudcontrol.co.uk

www.mudcontrol.co.uk

MUDCONTROL slabs can solve

a wide range of mud related

problems. If you need instant,

DIY, porous, removable and

reusable hardstanding for

anything from a path to a car

park, or in any other high traffic

SNAPSHOT

areas, these slabs are the answer.

With minimal to no ground

preparation, they are the

sub-base and base in one, can

be applied straight onto the

mud/soil/grass, and you can

drive vehicles and machinery

of up to 60 tonnes over them.

Made from ecologically

sound, playground certified

recycled material with a 20 year

manufacturer's warranty, they

are the perfect alternative to

concrete.

The FoldTable for Hire or Purchase

GT Trax

01487 823344

info@gttrax.co.uk

www.gttrax.co.uk/events/foldtable

The FoldTable from GT Trax is a heavy duty, picnic style

table that seats eight people and can be unfolded and

made ready for use within eight seconds. Each table is

manufactured from 18mm WBP birch marine plywood

with a polyethylene structure. The plastic can be easily

recycled and no harmful substances are released if burnt.

The wood top is waterproof and exceedingly strong; it

rarely splinters and it is moisture resistant. Up to 10 tables

can be transported on just one stillage.

One event organiser said: “The FoldTable is easily

handled and installed by inexperienced volunteer staff.

Similarly, the gloss-finish to the seat and table-top allows

the unit to be cleaned easily and effectively”.

The FoldTable is distributed in the UK by event hire

specialists, GT Trax. They offer a nationwide hire, sales and

installation service for all types, styles and sizes of outside

events.

YORKSHIRE YURTS

Strong, Lightweight Marquee Flooring

Marquee Floors by William Armes

01787 372988

info@marqueefloors.co.uk

www.marqueefloors.co.uk

Marquee Floors by William Armes is

a market leader, supplying marquee

matting to the hospitality and outdoor

event industry for more than 50 years.

Its best selling DandyDura matting offers

the perfect all-weather flooring for

marquees, tipis and outdoor structures.

Made from durable polypropylene,

the matting is immensely strong yet

lightweight – easy for storage and

transportation. Properties include being

UV, water and bacteria resistant so

matting can be re-used time and again.

DandyDura is proving very popular

in the hospitality sector in pubs and

restaurants offering outdoor socialising

and dining.

30 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Photos above and below courtesy of The Bell Tent Shop Blackdown Shepherd Huts at Dimpsey - Ben Carpenter Photography Photo by thepartyphotos.net Photo courtesy of Charlton and Jenrick

THE

BUSINESS

EVENT

FOR GLAMPING

DISCOVER the latest products & services

LISTEN to the most respected experts in the industry

LEARN strategies & tactics to start & grow your business

SHARE the experience and knowledge of your peers

3 DAYS THAT WILL SHAPE THE

FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS

REGISTER NOW:

www.theglampingshow.com

16-18 September 2021

NAEC Stoneleigh


32 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

CASE STUDY

Sperrin View

Glamping

Converting a disused

quarry on his father’s land,

Michael Quinn has created

a star gazer’s heaven with

unique pods designed

by friend and architect,

Chris Quinn. Visitors can

walk from the Bronze Age

Beaghmore Stone Circles,

believed to be the first

ever ‘observatory’, to the

modern-day version at the

OM Dark Sky Park. We talk

to Michael.

Situated in an international Dark Sky Park, this glamping site

makes the absolute most of its incredible night time views

with bespoke stargazing pods

What’s your back story – your life before

glamping?

I lived in Australia for five years working in

construction. While there I went glamping,

something that wasn’t very popular in

Ireland at the time. On returning home

I decided I wanted to create a site of my

own. I envisioned something unique

which offered guests something that they

couldn’t get anywhere else. We created

Sperrin View Glamping on my father’s land

and opened our doors in January 2020.

How did you research the business

before entering it?

We did a lot of research by seeing what

was out there and what was on offer

across Ireland and the UK. We also got a lot

of guidance – our local enterprise centre in

Cookstown offers advice and guidance for

start-up businesses.

Tell us about your location and site

Our glamping site is set in the heart of

Mid Ulster on the foothills of the Sperrin

Mountains. The area has recently gained

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 33


GLAMPSITES

international Dark Sky Status. It

is located within one of two Dark

Sky Parks in Ireland and is the 78th

area in the world to be accredited

as an International Dark Sky Park.

Each of our glamping pods

has its own custom built viewing

window which means you can

lie in bed and star gaze. We are

situated right beside the ancient

Beaghmore Stone Circles and

just a few miles away from the

brand-new OM Dark Sky Park

and Observatory in Davagh

Forest, where astronomy meets

archaeology. While staying with

us guests can also try out the new

Solar Walk, which will be opening

this summer. Visitors will be able

to walk from what is believed to

have been the first observatory at

Beaghmore Stone Circles, to the

modern-day observatory at OM.

The 3.4km Solar Walk will link

the observed solar system in

the sky with the astronomical

solar and lunar alignments at

Beaghmore.

How did you tackle planning?

The glamping site is built in

a disused quarry. We didn’t

encounter too many difficulties.

How did you finance the project?

The project was partly financed by

the DAERA, but mainly by myself.

What glamping accommodation

do you offer and why did you

choose it?

We are open year round and

offer four luxury glamping pods

34 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

plus a communal hub building.

The pods all have controlled gas

central heating, a private shower

and toilet, kitchenette and private

outdoor area.

Designed by friend and architect

Chris Quinn, each pod has a single

triangular window that funnels

the view towards the sky from the

comfort of the bed. A second day

bed makes use of the roof void.

The pods were prefabricated

and clad in corrugated metal, each

in a different tone to integrate with

the surrounding heather. Siberian

larch is used for the covered

entrance to the rear. Each pod has

its own private outdoor space with

rocks and native plants. Although

not complete, a wildflower

meadow will be planted to help

soften the surroundings and

further integrate the site into the

wider landscape.

“DESIGNED BY

FRIEND AND

ARCHITECT

CHRIS QUINN,

EACH POD

HAS A SINGLE

TRIANGULAR

WINDOW

THAT

FUNNELS

THE VIEW

TOWARDS

THE SKY

FROM THE

COMFORT OF

THE BED”

What occupancy levels and price

per night do you achieve?

Our prices start at £110 per night

based on two people sharing. Last

summer, and since reopening in

May, we have achieved 100 per

cent occupancy levels, seven

nights a week. We are fully booked

until October 2021 and have

no weekend availability until

November.

How did you work out your

brand and how do you publicise

yourself?

We had a vison of what we wanted

our brand to be, however we got

another friend, Michael from MJD

Designs, on board and his input

was extremely helpful. The website

is built using WIX and our booking

system is a plugin. We get the word

out through social media and take

100 per cent of all the money from

bookings. We tried Airbnb but we

had a problem with the calendar

synching.

How would you describe your

ethos and unique selling point?

We are a family run business; we

like people to feel at home in a

relaxed environment which caters

for all. We like to make ourselves

available at all times should

a guest have any questions or

queries.

How did you choose your

interior decoration?

All our décor and interiors were

chosen by ourselves and our very

creative family!

What challenges have you faced?

The main challenge has been

Covid. We had only been open six

weeks when Covid hit and we had

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 35


GLAMPSITES

to close the site. That was both

disheartening and scary, we didn’t

know what lay ahead. It has also

been a big adjustment entering

the hospitality industry as this is

something we had never worked

in before. However, we are really

enjoying the experience and love

meeting so many different people.

How have you coped through

Covid?

Covid has been difficult, mainly

due to the uncertainty it brings,

especially within this industry. We

were lucky in that our pods were

built to be very self-contained

and private, therefore families can

remain within their own bubble

very easily.

What are your plans for next

season?

We are working on some new

plans for the site and aim to keep

building on what we already have.

We have recently added hot tubs

to two of the pods.

Describe your average day midseason

Our days vary. We have a

wonderful small team behind

us who help us keep everything

running smoothly. This includes

my girlfriend Mairead Doyle.

Do you enjoy the business and

why?

We love meeting new people and

being able to enjoy a more varied

work day than we would have

previously.

What are you most proud of?

The uniqueness of our site and the

“THERE IS

NOT A LOT OF

DOWN TIME.

IF YOU’RE

NOT AT WORK

ENSURING

EVERYTHING

IS READY FOR

YOUR NEXT

GUESTS,

YOU ARE

RESPONDING

TO EMAILS

AND QUERIES

AND

PREPARING

THINGS FOR

THE NEXT

DAY”

area in which it is situated. It has

so many amazing things to offer in

such a small radius.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in?

At the moment we only offer

glamping. Some guests prefer to

book out our whole site and use

our communal hub as somewhere

they can all get together under one

roof (restrictions permitting).

What advice could you give

to someone coming into the

industry?

There is not a lot of down time.

If you’re not at work ensuring

everything is ready for your next

guests, you are responding to

emails and queries and preparing

things for the next day. You have

to be fully committed. At the

beginning I certainly didn’t intend

this would be my full-time job,

however, upon opening in became

apparent it had to be!

ADDRESS BOOK

POD ARCHITECTURE

CQ Architecture

www.cq-architects.com

POD MANUFACTURE

HSJ Joinery

www.facebook.com/hsjni

BOOKINGS SYSTEMS

MJD Designs / WIX

DETAILS

Sperrin View Glamping

71 Blackrock Road

Cookstown

Co. Tyrone

Northern Ireland BT80 9PA

028 867 51154

www.sperrinviewglamping.com

36 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


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WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 37


GLAMPSITES

TRADE SECRETS

BELL TENT HACKS

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite tips and tricks for the ubiquitous bell tent

Protect the top cap

TOP

TIP

For tents kept up for long periods of time, or for tents exposed to windy conditions,

consider protecting the top cap to stop the king pole bursting through it and incurring an

expensive repair bill. Buy a metal bowl with a 7-8cm diameter base from a kitchen shop

or Amazon and place it up inside the top of the tent where the king pole stopper rests.

This increases the surface area of where the pressure is applied and prevents wear on the

rubber of the stopper – it is when this rubber perishes that the pole can push though the

canvas.

There is an additional benefit to this hack too. Punch holes around the rim of the bowl

and use metal hooks to provide a handy hanging function – great for lights, decoration and

hanging storage.

Mould or

mildew?

Nothing beats a professional

wash and reproof, but even then

you might end up with stubborn

mould around seams. Treat any

spots with Astonish Mould and

Mildew Blaster. The great news

is that it is just £1 from a number

of places including Wilko, The

Factory Shop, ASDA and Amazon.

We tested it on a very mouldy

4x2.6m awning. It took two

bottles (£2) but brought it back to

gleaming canvas.

Timber treatment

Looking for a cheap way of staining wood?

Consider soluble ferrous sulphate (often used

to kill moss and improve lawns). You buy it

in power form from garden centres, eBay or

Amazon for about £5 per kg – also known as

iron sulphate.

Mix with hot water (2.5kg of powder to

15–20L of water) and either spray or sponge it

on to any timber that you want to artificially

age. Coverage is 8-10 m2/L for planed timber

and 4-5 m2/L for rough sawn timber.

The solution will work on any wood and

will turn it an attractive and lasting browngrey

to silver-grey colour by reacting with the

tannins when left in the sun. It is also believed

to enhance protection from rot and mildew.

It doesn’t contain any VOCs, is super cheap

and you will find various DIY recipes online

for further increasing its protection abilities

by adding baking soda and other natural

substances.

38 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

DO IT

YOURSELF

ORANGE SCREW

ZIP GONE?

The local dry cleaners are unlikely to want to take your 20kg

bell tent canvas in to replace a zip… The great news is it is

really simple to do yourself. There are plenty of kits on Amazon

and lots of step-by-step tutorials online too. It might be worth

investing in the hardware and swotting up before the season

starts – see here www.wikihow.com/Fix-a-Tent-Zipper

If you have to get an emergency repair done to the fabric

of the zip (where it meets the canvas) Google ‘sewing awl’

and ‘wax thread’ to stock up, or make friends with your local

scouts group. They will be nearby, helpful and grateful for any

donations to the charities they support.

For a DIY guide, see here: www.instructables.com/How-to-Fix-

Separated-Nylon-Zipper-Teeth

Small space?

Reducer poles are perfect to minimise

pitching footprint but also to stop guests

tripping over guy ropes. You can buy purpose

made poles but broom handles work just as

well, especially if you cut a notch into the top

of them.

This hack works on any size of bell tent so

long as the poles are the same height as the

tent wall.

CANVAS CAMP

Loose ground?

If you are pitching on sandy soil or have recently

landscaped and are working with loose,

uncompacted ground, you will need to replace

your group pegs with screws. They work by literally

screwing into the ground and anchoring in with

more grip.

A favourite brand is ‘Orange Screw’. They are super

lightweight and come with a clear cylinder that fits

though the top of the screw to make it easier to turn.

This cylinder also acts as protection for guy ropes

that pass over the edge of a deck and may rub and

fray. Just thread them through to create a protective

channel.

Fed up of tightening guy ropes?

All tent owners know that guy ropes need to be checked regularly.

If you have numerous tents or are exposed to regular gusts of wind,

you might want to consider a metal frame bell tent. Have a look at

the ‘Nomadic’ model from BCT Outdoors, available in 4, 5 and 6m

diameters. It may take a little longer to assemble but once it’s up it’s up!

BCT OUTDOORS

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 39


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OL 1/4 page ad B 2021.indd 1 16/06/2021 10:18


GLAMPSITES

What is a

Glamper?

GETTY IMAGES

Getting scientific about terminology

gives an insight into the future of

glamping, reveals researcher Greg Watt

WHILE THE term ‘glamping’ has established

itself within recognised lexicons, the term

‘glamper’ is less acknowledged. Much of

this has to do with exclusivity. People that

go glamping don’t always go glamping. It’s

not an all or nothing designation. For some,

glamping is captivating, and they constantly

seek to get away at every chance. However,

for others, going on a glamping trip may

just round out their holiday choices (which

may be varied). For the former, glamping is

a passion; for the latter, it is a novelty. Both

have been glamping, and therefore both can

be perceived as glampers.

Glamping had manifested itself in various

forms before the millennium, with the

advent of European styled comfort camping,

African safari excursions, Middle Eastern

Bedouin desert experiences, and niche

Asian resorts embedded in local ethnic

rurality (Bali being the exemplar). Patently,

glamping characteristics have been around

for generations without any mainstream

appeal. So, what changed?

It is clear that glamping in the UK

obtained significant publicity from the likes

of the Glastonbury Festival and gained

modest popularity from 2005 onwards.

Despite this, Google Trends 1 reveals

that “glamping” as a term received little

attention until about August 2010 in the

UK and most other countries the following

year. From this time forward, glamping and

the idea of being a ‘glamper’ became more

prominent, more substance was attached

“IS IT THE PULL OF

GLAMPING THAT ATTRACTS

PEOPLE, OR IS IT THE PUSH

OF SOME INNER NEED OR

DESIRE WITHIN PEOPLE

THAT MAKES GLAMPING

SOMETHING THEY CHOOSE

TO DO?”

to the terminology, and identifying as a

glamper took on some significance.

Is it the pull of glamping that attracts

people, or is it the push of some inner

need or desire within people that makes

glamping something they choose to do?

Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Reasons

are eclectic and chaotic, regardless of the

theories that attempt to pigeonhole their

motivations. For some, being a glamper is

as superficial as it is fanciful – to get great

Instagrammable photos!

HAVE ‘GLAMPERS’ EVOLVED?

Today's busy work-life is performed in

confined environments, with stressful

challenges, under impossible timeframes.

For some there is the necessity to escape

and find time to re-evaluate their life,

re-energise themselves and revise their

pathways. Glamping provides that time

away.

Some academics hypothesise an ‘evolution

model’ for glampers. That relating oneself

as a glamper is the result of mental and

emotional attachment to ‘getting back to

nature’. All people hold a view of the world

and how we impact it. Further, everybody

has a self-image of how they relate to that

world. Identifying as a glamper allows

people to express empathy for notions

associated with glamping such as the

natural world and the simpler things in life.

Further, in a world governed by social

media postings, it is not sufficient for

identity representations to be kept personal.

In this regard, not only are glamping spaces

and experiences inherently photogenic,

many of the notions associated with

glamping have positive social connotations.

In the evolution model, glampers have

made decisions about themselves, who

they are, what they stand for and how they

want the world to be. Commitment to

glamping is therefore likely to be steadfast

and enduring.

ARE GLAMPERS CREATED?

Have ‘glampers’ been created? Have they

been born out of the consequence of

external events? Did the global financial

crisis, and now Covid, cause people to have

staycations for their holidays, revitalising

taking time out in the country?

There is no doubt that the global financial

crisis affected a broad cross-section of

society everywhere and caused both

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 41


GLAMPSITES

economic and social upheaval. While the

publicised collapse of financial institutions

occurred in 2008, its widespread effect

would not be felt in Europe until 2009 and

2010, with breathtaking damage to the UK

economy and the Eurozone 2 . Reacting to

adversity, vacationers looked to staycations,

with camping holidays gaining substantial

interest (Daily Mail, 2010).

However, a new attitude presented itself.

No longer were such vacations to be a test

of outdoors endurance, but instead, the

trappings of comfort and the pretence of

luxurious consumption were introduced. If

the ideal holiday became unavailable due

to financial constraints, then its semblance

could be created. New advances in tentage,

cosy beds, laid on power, gourmet food

and new adventures in socialisation fuelled

upscaled and upmarket camping.

In this fashion, it can be argued that the

advent of the glamper is not an evolution of

tourist preferences, but instead, the sharp

reaction to political and economic events.

n Global Google searches for ‘glamping’

n UK Google searches for ‘glamping’

A BIT OF BOTH

It can be argued that it was not the

immediate impact of the financial crisis,

nor the resultant surge in staycations,

that created ongoing interest in glamping.

Instead, it was the more contemplative

and introverted view of life that living in

the outdoors nurtured. People who would

not normally spend time in the wild found

themselves enjoying country landscapes.

This secondary, but no less critical

consequence, was a reconnection with

rurality and the natural world. Many

were urbanites who viewed the societal

carnage occurring around them and began

to re-assess their pathways, the things

they thought were important, and the

differences they now wanted to pursue.

Reinforcement of core values also came

with the rising awareness and gradual

acceptance of global warming and an

increasing political instability presenting

itself globally.

GLAMPERS AND COVID-19

If glampers have come about through any

of the pathways above, what then has

happened as a consequence of Covid-19?

and equally important, what will happen

to glampers as the effects of the pandemic

diminish?

The Google search for ‘glamping’ as

a word both globally and in the UK has

enjoyed a constant increase year on year

since 2010. However, in 2020 searches

doubled from the year before. This was a

direct consequence of Covid-19 and the

increased popularity of staycations. In the

following year, 2021, glamping has not been

searched for as much.

While glamping as an online term enjoyed

appreciable year-on-year increases since

2010, it truly obtained a watershed moment

during the European summer of 2020.

Google Trends shows that “glamping” as

a term received 150 per cent searchable

interest globally, with this increasing to

around 190 per cent in the UK.

GLAMPERS POST-COVID

If glampers have, in fact, been created by

circumstance, there is a concern that they

are merely transitional travellers, and when

whatever is to come actually comes, they

will simply morph into another transitional

entity. Are glampers fickle, and glamping

merely a fad, and not a sustainable trend? If

that occurs, what happens to the glamping

industry?

The latest Google Trends statistics

provide some clues. In almost every world

region, searches for glamping in 2021 have

reduced compared to 2020. However,

the reduction is not a collapse. Simple

statistical smoothing indicates that the

growth in interest in glamping (and, as a

consequence, glampers) is consistent with

pre-Covid predictions. If this is true, then

REFERENCES

1 Google. (2021). Google Trends: Glamping. Retrieved June, 2021, from https://trends.google.com/

trends/explore?date=all&q=glamping. 2 BBC. (2013). UK economy: The Story of the Downturn. Retrieved

June, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-22283940. 3 Daily Mail. (2010). Boom Time For

The Happy Glampers. Daily Mail, 21.

Covid has provided a short impetus to the

industry, which has since settled.

Growing world instability, environmental

concerns, and financial worries are likely

to fuel people’s desire to escape, if only for

a time. Driving the popularity of glamping,

and an increase in those identifying as

glampers, is the new interpretation of

luxury. If the global financial crisis initiated

the reflection and realignment of goals and

values within the societies of developing

nations, then Covid has been a stark

reminder of the fragility of humankind. In

re-evaluating and recasting themselves to

meet future challenges, people are likely

to deliberately take time out in spaces

away from their everyday lives. Becoming

a glamper, and spending time in natural

sanctuaries where life is much simpler, may

quickly become a lifestyle necessity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Watt is currently a

candidate for doctor of

philosophy at Auckland

University of Technology.

An avid traveller and

advocate for authenticity in

travel, Greg’s research concerns

a global study of glamping spaces and

experiences. His interest stems from an

association with small boutique and

community tourism projects within

Vanuatu and New Zealand. Both countries

are blessed with beautiful landscapes,

along with an outdoor presence. Greg also

writes informative articles about topics,

destinations and social entrepreneurship

within tourism at https://watt.nz

42 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


See us at The Glamping Show for toilets and

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WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 43


GLAMPSITES

TOP TIPS

› Emojis work on Instagram ads

› Consider what copy has been successful

on your posts and try to use similar

› Define your customers’ pain points and

why your product or service can help

them

› Make sure that you respond to questions

or comments on your ads – people may

be about to book with you and need a

little more advice to get them over the line

GETTY IMAGES

› Don't touch your ads for at least 72 hours

after they start as they will still be in

the learning phase. You need to let the

algorithm get going to find you the people

who are most likely to respond

› Keep checking your data and results. Do

this daily

› Try different copy, images, video, calls to

action etc.

› Word of warning. Be prepared to curse

frequently when using Facebook’s Ad

Manager – it’s great but is peppered with

tripwires!

Instagram

Advertising

The low-down on running Instagram ads with

social media expert Lisa Bullen

YOU CAN either grow your organic social

media followers by creating great, engaging

and relevant content, referred to as “organic

growth”. Or you can run ads. Often referred

to as “paid social”.

Instagram Ads will look like regular

Instagram posts but they have a

“Sponsored“ label at the top. This means

that they have been paid for. They will

appear in the Feed, Stories or Explore

placement in Instagram.

HOW MUCH BUDGET DO I NEED?

There's no single answer here. The cost will

depend on your targeting choices, the ad

placement, the ad format that you select and

the time of year. You control your Instagram

ads cost by setting a campaign spending

limit, a daily budget and a bid strategy.

TYPES OF INSTAGRAM ADS

There are a variety of different types of

ad formats, including Stories ads, Photo

ads, Video ads, Carousel ads, IGTV ads and

Shopping ads. Let’s focus on the most useful

in this instance, namely Carousel, Stories

and Video ads.

Each ad type works for different business

goals and has different call to action options

available including Book Now, Contact

Us and Send Message. As with all of the

Instagram ad types, think about which

call to action best supports your goal. Do

you want to send visitors to your website?

Your Instagram profile? Or push them to a

conversion?

THE BEST AD TYPE

This is the key question you need to

ask yourself. What's the end goal of your

Instagram ads? Do you want to raise brand

awareness, generate engagement or drive

visitors to your website? Will you be using

video ad copy or single image copy? Think

about what sort of content gets the best

response in your Instagram feed, and what

doesn't get any.

With Instagram advertising, there is one key

rule. You must keep testing all the time. Test

different formats, test different ad copy, test

different images. By looking at your Insights

you can see which ads are getting the results

that you wanted. Do bear in mind that there

are certain times of the year when running

ads will be very expensive (Christmas, Black

Friday, Mother’s Day etc.) and expect to pay

more to get results as you will be bidding

against many other businesses.

HOW TO GET STARTED

There are two ways to set up your ads on

Instagram. The simplest way is to simply

promote an existing post directly within the

app. However the method that offers the

most customisation options is to create your

Instagram ad using Facebook Ads Manager

(Facebook owns Instagram). If you haven't

ever used Ads Manager then it is genuinely

a cumbersome maze. It is constantly being

updated and so nothing ever feels familiar or

looks the same!

44 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

The simplest way is to go via the

app and promote an existing post on

your Instagram profile. If you have a

post that's performing well and getting

lots of engagement then this is a quick

way to reach more users. You will need

a Business or Creator account to do

this. Then go to your chosen post and

click Promote underneath. Follow the

options to choose who will see your

ad, where you want to send them, how

much to spend and for how long you

want your ad to run. Then tap ‘Create

Promotion’.

The alternative option is to run

ads using Facebook Ads Manager.

Although more complex, this option

is much better as it offers you a very

sophisticated targeted (and retargeted)

options and the opportunity to run

different creative copy as opposed

to being limited to using a selected

Instagram post that has already run.

If you do go down the Facebooks Ads

Manager route, there are two immediate

options; Guided Creation (good for

those new to ads) and Quick Creation

(good for those already familiar with the

set up).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Bullen is director

of Social Media Sussex

and co-founder of

the award winning

The Secret Campsite.

Her online course

“How to use social

media to grow your

campsite or glamping

business” is priced at

£97 and available to

purchase from www.

socialmediasussex.

com/courses

Lisa offers social

media consultancy and

training for all abilities.

Do get in touch at lisa@

socialmediasussex.com

1

QUICK STEPS

Choose your campaign objective from, amongst others,

Brand Awareness / Reach / Traffic / Engagement / Video

Views / Lead Generation.

2

Identify

your audience via Facebook’s very sophisticated

targeting options – these will go way beyond age,

gender and location and include setting audiences who

“Lookalike” to your uploaded customer profiles (note all

data is hashed in line with stringent privacy settings).

3

Select your ad placements – here you decide where

your ads will appear on Instagram (and Facebook if

you choose to run on there as well). This is separated into

automatic placements or manual placements where you

can choose exactly where you want the ads to appear.

4

Choose your budget and schedule – choose either

a daily budget, offering a daily maximum spend,

or a lifetime budget for an ad with a set lifespan (eg. a

promotion for half term). As you adjust and set your budget

you will see the estimated daily reach telling you how many

people you can expect to reach each day with your ads.

5

Create your ads – choose your format then your pictures

or video, pick a payment option, review your ad and

click confirm.

Superior Cool Boxes

coolboxesuk.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 45


GLAMPSITES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Tents and

Domes

Beavers Retreat

Glamping, Wales

Product: Bespoke geodesic domes

Supplier: Pro-Domes, 07827 614404,

07581 216244, info@pro-domes.com,

www.pro-domes.com

Details: Pro-Domes was created in

2021, with the aim of providing the

highest quality geodesic domes to

the glamping world. After running

a successful glamping site in South

Wales for six years, and gaining a

vast amount of experience in the

glamping sector, the team knows

exactly what it takes to give glampers

that something extra special.

Pro-Domes offers high spec

geodesic domes, delivered to your

door, anywhere in the world. Its

structures are fully customisable and

allow you to choose the size, colour,

insulation, doors, heating, flooring

and much more. Optional stargazer

windows in the roof of the domes

allow guests to gaze at the sky from

the comfort of their bed.

A user-friendly configurator allows

you to visualise your dome so you are

entirely satisfied with how it looks,

before purchasing.

Guest feedback: “We stayed in

the Stargazer domes which were

beautifully furnished and well

equipped. Being very early April the

nights were cold but the log burner

was incredibly efficient and warmed

the dome perfectly.”

“My partner and I stayed in one

of the domes and had a lovely time!

The dome was beautifully furnished;

it honestly felt like you were inside a

home. Perfect escape from your busy

life.”

46 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

Camp Kátur at Camp Hill Eastate, North Yorkshire

Product: Two Clear Unidome 15s

Supplier: Unidome, 07776 263163,

james@unidome.co.uk,

www.unidome.co.uk

Within the beautiful landscape of the Camp Hill Estate,

and at the gateway to the Yorkshire Moors, Camp Kátur

offers three separate sites, each with its own character

and amenities and all offering a dose of eco-therapy:

The Meadow is an off-grid, back to nature site with a

quirky range of accommodation including yurts, safari

tents, pods and clear Unidomes.

Unidome supplied Camp Kátur with two Unidome 15s. These hand crafted

domes are constructed from ash and sapele laminates to a furniture grade quality

finish. They use zinc plated fittings with stainless steel screws and were fitted with

one zip door and one of Unidome’s trademark gullwing doors.

The domes were positioned in a secluded forest setting and were specified with

transparent coverings and a clear stargazing roof. Unidome hand delivered and

installed the product on a specified base and the team at Camp Kátur installed

the flooring and dressed the domes for their clientele.

Customer feedback: Robert Roper, owner at Camp Hill, said: “James from

Unidome was a pleasure to work with. We have worked with him for many

years and he has delivered the products as promised. The response to our clear

Unidomes has always been fantastic. They are extremely popular with our guests

and are easy to erect and dismantle in-between seasons and maintenance is

minimal.”

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Designer/Makers of Yurts in Yorkshire

The Really Interesting Tent Company

01262 470475

info@thereallyinterestingtentcompany.co.uk

www.thereallyinterestingtentcompany.co.uk

Small Footprint Safari Tent

Clear Sky

0333 241 2660

sales@safaritents.net

www.safaritents.net

The Comet from

Clear Sky

is a classic

glamping

lodge which

can fit on any

campground pitch.

The Comet has a small

footprint and the efficient

layout enables guests to experience

all the comfort they need from a basic

glamping lodge.

Clear Sky designed the Comet with a compact inner tent of 4.5x4.5m

(20.3m2) and still managed to keep the layout identical to the

superseded Safari Cabin. It is the perfect entry-level canvas lodge and

comes at a competitive price.

Available with a grey, brown, beige or green roof, the Comet also

features vertical windows on the front and side, providing more light to

the kitchen and living area. With no guy lines, it will fit directly onto a

standard pitch and still leave space for your guests to park their cars.

As designers/makers of yurts in Yorkshire, The Really

Interesting Tent Company understands that clients want a

top quality product that will withstand everything the British

climate can throw at it, year after year.

The team also knows that customers want a one-stop

supplier that can build a base, install a wood burner, service

and support their yurt, dome or tent for many years to come.

Whether you’re a business, a public sector organisation,

a charity or an individual, whether you’re looking to buy

one small yurt or a number of super-sized yurts, contact the

friendly team and they’ll be happy to discuss your needs and

advise on how they can help you.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 47


EVENTS

CASE STUDY

Deer Shed: Base

Camp Plus

A scaled down version of Deer Shed

offering family friendly festival vibes

and socially distanced camping

Selling out in 2019 with 10,000

paying attendees, the 2020

Deer Shed Festival was a very

different affair as husband and

wife organisers Oliver Jones

and Kate Webster went back

to the drawing board in light of

Covid. The resulting reduced

capacity, socially distanced

camping festival is back again

this year – Step 3 compliant

with flexibility to relax

measures if the 19 July unlock

date holds. We talk to Oliver.

Describe your event and how

many people it attracts?

Deer Shed Festival is a family

focused music, arts, science and

sport weekend camping festival in

North Yorkshire. It started in 2010

as a one day, 1,000 capacity event

and has grown organically over

the years, attracting over 10,000

paying attendees at the sell-out

2019 event. After that landmark

year, we were granted a capacity

of 15,000.

Deer Shed was created by

myself and my wife Kate Webster

all those years ago as we felt no

other music festival offered an

authentic – but safe, secure, and

inclusive – experience that catered

for every member of the family.

The full version of the festival

sadly had to be postponed until

2022, but we are running Deer

Shed: Base Camp Plus in its place,

a socially distanced, reduced

capacity festival which abides by

Step 3 restrictions.

Explain a bit about your venue

and its history

Baldersby Park is owned by our

family, so that eases some of

the stresses that can be placed

on other events. We use around

100 acres of the parkland and

woodland for Deer Shed. It also

contains an old deer shed which

the festival is named after, an 18th

century stone obelisk, a lake at

the centre, and the River Swale

on its outskirts. It’s used largely

as a home for the local sheep

when we’re not disrupting them!

Queen Mary’s School is based on

the park and we maintain a good

relationship with them as our

neighbours.

We redesigned the site in 2018

to relocate the main stage to a field

which is naturally bowl-shaped.

This essentially meant the area

became a natural amphitheatre.

Wherever you stand, it’s

impossible to get a bad view.

How does the relationship work

with the venue you hold the

event at?

The venue belongs to my Fatherin-law,

so far so good as long as

the Sunday dinners round at ours

keep on rolling.

48 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


How did you find applying for

permission to run the event?

Going back over 10 years, the

original premises licence was a

bit of a battle with some local

opposition from the neighbours of

Baldersby Park. Sense prevailed

however and we have always

enjoyed a constructive relationship

with our local authority which we

hope will continue.

Base Camp Plus has been

designed from the ground up to be

Step 3 compliant and as such has

not attracted too much attention

relating to its Covid safety. We are

of course in ongoing conversations

with local public health officials to

make sure that they are happy with

our plans and also to negotiate any

mitigations that can be relaxed as a

result of changes to restrictions.

How have you planned the layout

of the event?

Our event is much smaller than

usual and so we have certainly

reflected this in the structures.

Our main stage is considerably

smaller (boo) and we have not

used any marquees that don’t lend

themselves to easy ventilation.

How did you research and source

your marquees, flooring,

bars etc?

We have thankfully been able to use

our existing contractors for all of

these areas. They have survived and

still answer the phone!

What entertainment do you offer

and how did you choose and

source it?

Deer Shed aims to provide

“IT’S LIKE

THE PIXAR

FILM

FORMULA:

EVERYONE

HAS A GOOD

TIME, NO

MATTER

THEIR AGE”

something for every member of

the family. It doesn’t matter if your

kids are into art, sports, science, or

anything else, there’s no doubt they

will find loads of stuff to keep them

entertained. We counted all the

performance and workshop times

up in 2019 and it equalled over

2,000 hours of content packed into

three days.

We feel it’s essential that

our content is never dumbed

down for the kids, so most of the

performance programme can

also be enjoyed thoroughly by

the adults. It’s like the Pixar film

formula: everyone has a good time,

no matter their age.

What provisions do you make for

power, lights and sound?

We have used Pearce hire for the

last five or so years for generators

and wiring the place up. HPSS

provide us with stage sound and

lighting, we have used them

since year one and we’ve grown

up together. For site lighting

(festoons etc.) we install our own kit

ourselves.

How do you manage admissions

and visitor safety?

How long have you got… Safety

for families has always been one

of the main selling points at Deer

Shed, and we’ve enjoyed very low

levels of crime over the years due to

our admissions and security team.

We have trusted managers who

we’ve worked with for some time

overseeing those areas on-site.

Please detail the measures

you have taken specifically for

Covid-19

The event we’re putting on this

year is a reduced capacity, socially

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 49


EVENTS

distanced affair. If the 19 July

unlocking date holds, then we will of

course be able to relax some of the

social distancing measures, such as

masks in covered areas. The event is

designed to be flexible.

While a negative Covid test is

not currently a prerequisite for

attending, we will be strongly

encouraging audience members to

do a test before they arrive.

What ground protection do you

use for cars and footfall?

For Deer Shed we use steel trackway

for heavy traffic and deliveries. For

Base Camp we don’t use anything –

it’s not necessary as we have much

lighter traffic.

How do you publicise the event?

We have a PR and marketing team

who take care of the publicity. We’ve

never wanted to grow the festival at

a rate where it suddenly becomes

unrecognisable to folk who have

been with us from the start – and

there are many of them – so our

growth has been steady.

I suppose the big difference

between promoting Deer Shed

Festival and Deer Shed: Base Camp

Plus is that we lost the ability to

market through flyers at shows and

advertising at local venues, so we’ve

essentially moved fully online for a

while.

What challenges have you faced?

In terms of logistics and production

co-ordination, there isn’t much that

phases us. At the beginning of 2021,

we had multiple event

plans to choose from for

the various situations we

thought could play out.

We were prepared to

jump through most

hoops in order to put

on a safe event for

our audience,

but the lack

50 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

of available Covid cancellation

insurance, or a government-backed

alternative, made the financial risk

too high. Base Camp Plus is a much

smaller event and is broadly within

tolerable limits in terms of financial

risk for us as an independent

promoter.

What are your plans for next year?

While we have made the most of

a bad situation two years running

with the Base Camp format, the

prospect of getting back to the

full version of the festival in 2022

is really exciting for everyone

involved. We were officially granted

a capacity of 15,000 just before the

pandemic hit, after our sell-out

10-year anniversary in 2019. The

support our audience have shown

throughout the last 18 months has

been humbling and I’m confident

that the consistent, steady growth

of our first decade can be carried

forward into the next one.

In a normal year, we start the

process of planning the full festival

by dreaming up a theme – the

most recent being Generation XYZ,

Making Waves, The Wilderwild,

and At The Movies – and use that

to inform many of the activities

and workshops programmed. We

obviously don’t want to give too

much away, but the theme will

revolve around the joys we’ve

largely been denied during the

pandemic; experiencing different

places and cultures, sharing ideas

with friends and family, and being

exposed to new things you may not

even have realised existed.

What advice could you give to

someone coming into the outdoor

event industry?

Work as many festivals as you can,

have fun, work hard and buy a

Leatherman.

ADDRESS BOOK

POWER

Pearce Hire www.pearcehire.co.uk

STAGE, SOUND & LIGHTING

HPSS www.hpss.co.uk

DETAILS

Deer Shed: Base Camp Plus

30 Jul –1 August

Baldersby Park

Thirsk

North Yorkshire

www.deershedfestival.com/

basecampplus

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 51


EVENTS

ALSO FESTIVAL/DEBBIE BUTTERFIELD

Creating

Event Glampsites

Tom Critchley from Caboose & Co. shares his expertise

on designing the perfect event glamping zones

HAVING SPENT the last 18 months in

national lockdown there will be a public

clamouring to fill diaries with as many

large-scale events and social occasions as

possible. The sense of anticipation for these

events to deliver a spectacle like never

before is palpable and event organisers need

to plan ahead to ensure that as an entire

sector we do what we do best and put on a

show.

With home experiences only getting

more immersive, think large 3D TV screens,

surround sound and virtual reality headsets,

it creatively forces us to up our game further

when out on site. For us at Caboose & Co.,

that means working with event organisers

to help maximise people’s enjoyment of

an event by extending the length of stay

and offering pop-up accommodation that

“GLAMPING, OVER CAMPING,

IS QUICKLY BEING DEEMED

THE ESSENTIAL WAY OF ‘HOW

TO DO A FESTIVAL’ SO SITES

NEED TO CATER FOR ALL

DESIRED COMFORT LEVELS”

is just as much of a talking point as the

entertainment itself.

Now more than ever the public wants

to embrace the opportunity to not rush

home after the final song and continue

enjoying overnight hospitality – it allows

more time to be together with friends or

family, experiencing something new and

making memories. This increase in demand

is precisely why our flat-pack glamping pod

with viewing platform, the Maverick Hard

Deck, was recently launched, catering for a

growing market of individuals to whom basic

camping has never appealed by providing an

alternative option.

Glamping, over camping, is quickly

being deemed the essential way of ‘how to

do a festival’ so sites need to cater for all

desired comfort levels. Festivals have led

the way in glamping for the last 30 years,

but it’s only recently in comparison that

non-music events have also recognised

that extending the guest experience can

be a vital additional component – for

example camping villages at The Open Golf

Championship, Badminton Horse Trials and

the Rat Race Dirty Weekend.

52 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

Glampsite at ALSO Festival

ALSO FESTIVAL/DEBBIE BUTTERFIELD

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

In my opinion, the trick to creating an event

camp- or glampsite that is going to deliver

on wow-factor is to ensure it has its own

identity and a welcoming feel on arrival.

The site deserves to be a destination in its

own right just as much as any other part

of the event. Apart from the obvious need

for essential facilities, guests are looking

for that comforting feeling of walking into

an area and instinctively knowing they are

with likeminded people. The site should be

a quieter haven where they can escape the

mayhem of the main event for a few hours if

need be.

These days, a shower block and row of

portaloos in an empty field is not going to

cut the mustard so take the time to invest

in creating home-from-home comfort and

a sense of familiarity. In order to achieve

this and deliver it successfully, site planning

should begin as early as possible. It’s vital

that the location of the site is given just as

much weight and consideration as where

the main stage would go. This is the only

way you are going to ensure that the guest

experience at your event is unparalleled.

Working out the placement of your key

services (like water in and waste out routes)

is key – this will be the backbone on which

all other decisions are hung. Put yourself

in the shoes of a reveller and think about

their journey to the site – where can guests

park on arrival, how far do they have to

walk, what accessibility alternatives are

there, what terrain are they having to cart

belongings over?

On arrival at the site itself, have a clear

strategy in your head regarding the level of

hospitality and guest welcome that will be

offered. A basic campsite requiring minimal

check-in will have very different crew and

infrastructure requirements to that of a VIP

pop-up hotel with a personal concierge

service. Find what naturally fits your event’s

tone and logistically work backwards from

there.

KEEPING GLAMPERS HAPPY

Regardless of the hospitality style you are

opting for, the common denominator across

all sites is the desire to keep glampers

happy. My recommendation is to ensure you

have a dedicated and experienced cleaning

team to keep the whole area, but particularly

the toilets and hot, high-pressure showers,

looking neat and fresh 24/7. The positive

impression guests leave with as a result is

worth its weight in gold; it projects a wellrun

site whilst deterring guests from making

mess.

A good bar within the campsite helps to

create the identity previously advised and

provides an alternative option for those

wanting to carry on enjoying themselves

whilst slightly away from the main buzz of an

event. Visible security operating a rigorous

wristband process offers the comfort to

campers that the site is alert to unwanted

guests or antisocial behaviour.

Scaling event site capacity up or down to

reflect a change in anticipated demand can

be a very tough thing to do and your options

may be limited depending on the site you

are working with. In normal circumstances,

the best advice is for organisers or glampsite

managers to ensure tickets or pitches are on

sale as early as possible, giving you time to

scale up if a higher demand requires it.

Knowing your target audience is not

only vital for campsite design but also for

ensuring your targeted branding resonates

to effectively convert into sales. A young

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 53


EVENTS

Site plan for the Golf Open

crowd will be looking for an affordable

party atmosphere, whereas the ‘seasoned’

festivalgoer with a family will be seeking a

quiet, peaceful night sleep with the option to

dip in and out of the party.

This summer in particular, however,

pre-planning is nigh-on impossible with

the constantly-moving goalposts of when

post-lockdown events can resume once

again. As an industry we are used to working

to tight deadlines but, with the financial

uncertainty and cashflow dilemmas many

organisers have faced, this has delayed the

announcement of so many dates we usually

expect to see.

At the point of returned confidence,

the pressure on our sector to propel from

0-1,000 at the drop of a hat will be like

nothing we’ve experienced before. On the

whole, I’m not sure the general public is

aware just how many months of logistics

planning and site building goes into

constructing a three-day festival – there may

be an expectation that fingers can be clicked

and sites pop up immediately, which will

dramatically decrease lead-in times for site

installation and ticket sales. Every cog in

the wheel this year and into next will need

to display adaptability and a flexible can-do

mentality in order to pull off events late in

the season.

TALKING BUSINESS

Every event and contractual agreement is

different, so start having conversations as

early as possible with glamping operators

or event organisers directly to find a format

that works for all parties involved. There will

be plenty of discussions to be had around an

“THERE IS NO SET FORMAT BUT ESSENTIALLY WHOEVER

TAKES THE BIGGER RISK GETS THE BIGGER REWARD WHEN

IT GOES RIGHT”

agreed commission structure on bookings

taken or liaising with nearby land owners to

operate your own site complementary to the

event's own offering.

There is no set format but essentially

whoever takes the bigger risk gets the bigger

reward when it goes right. Financially, each

glamping operation is different with so many

variables in place to affect the profit margin;

the goal in the first year for any operation or

supplier is simply not to lose money – simple

but true! After that, collectively work as a

team to build on the brand, not just of the

whole event but of the glamping site itself,

scaling it to add more services which act as

additional revenue wins for you, eg. pop-up

massage treatments, beauty bars, pool table

or hot tub hire etc.

Finally, take time to consider which

accommodation structures will be hired

and aim to select a range that provides

customers with choice at different price

points. As glamping becomes more

mainstream, with bell tents, yurts, safari

tents and tipis becoming commonplace,

customers will continue to seek out an

accommodation experience that has never

been seen before. The Caboose & Co. range

usually causes a stir as converted shipping

containers or brightly-coloured ‘space-age’

tents don’t usually appear in green fields,

but equally it’s about those added-value

experiences. As well as the accommodation

units themselves, think about private

discos in a yurt, hot tubs for VIP pampering

or private dining on a Caboose Maverick’s

roof terrace above the Maverick sleeping

quarters!

Caboose & Co's. Maverick

glamping structure

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Critchley has over

15 years’ experience in

the live events sector,

installing and operating

glamping sites for worldclass

festivals and sporting

events internationally.

Whether you are seeking to

purchase pop-up accommodation options to

provide versatile, off-grid rural stays, source

a summer hire fleet or require campsite

management consultancy, Tom can help. Get

in touch – info@cabooseandco.com or

call 01273 086368.

54 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


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www.eventclean.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 55


EVENTS

Covid Test

Event Findings

ABOVE: The First

Dance, one of

the pilot events

at Liverpool's

Bramley-Moore

Docks

The Event Industry Forum’s Jim Winship summarises the

Events Research Programme report published on 25 June

THE GOVERNMENT has published the

report for Phase 1 of the Events Research

Programme (ERP) which set out to

investigate how events with larger crowd

sizes could return without social distancing,

while limiting the transmission of Covid-19.

Additional ERP events continue to gather

further evidence and, as yet, no decisions

have been taken on the full reopening of

mass events. The government will set out

its position on this ahead of Step 4 on its

roadmap.

The first phase of the ERP ran from 17

April-15 May and consisted of nine pilots:

› 17 April-3 May: World Snooker

Championships (10,150 participants)

› 18 April: FA Cup Semi Final (2,800

participants)

› 25 April: Carabao Cup Final (7,800

participants)

› 28 April: ACC Business Event, Liverpool

(150 participants)

› 30 April- 1May: Circus Nightclub (3,100 and

3,900 participants)

› 2 May: Sefton Park Concert (6,100

participants)

› 11 May: The BRITS (3,500 participants)

› 15 May: FA Cup Final (21,000 participants)

› 15 May: Reunion 5K Run (2,000

participants).

Events ran in variety of indoor and

outdoor settings, with seated, standing,

structured and unstructured audience styles

and a range of participant numbers. The ERP

will continue to run pilots as part of Phase 2

and 3 of the research programme.

KEY OBSERVATIONS:

› Outdoor spaces are generally lower risk

than indoor spaces. However, all venues

are different and may have indoor spaces

such as toilets, food/drink concessions

and corridors which can pose higher

risks

› Large indoor events with high crowd

density and proximity may pose a higher

potential risk of transmission as a result

of close proximity and poor ventilation

› Mitigations such as face coverings,

ventilation, testing, restrictions on

food and drink, and social distancing/

capacity caps all contributed to reducing

transmission risk

› Compliance with social distancing, face

covering and testing requirements was

56 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

Event Event

Outbreak

Control

Measures

The Good

Business

Festival

Venue: ACC

Exhibition Centre

Circus Presents

‘The First Dance’

(Circus Nightclub),

Night 1

Circus Presents

‘The First Dance’

(Circus Nightclub),

Night 2

Sefton

Park Pilot

Venue: Sefton

Park, Tented stage

Snooker

Competition

Venue: Crucible

Theatre

Emirates FA Cup

Semi-Final

Venue: Wembley

stadium

Carabao Cup

Final

Venue: Wembley

stadium

Tickets

Included in

analysis**

(+ scanned*)

LFT-ticket

linked

(before

event*)

Preevent

+ve

LFT

PCR Test

Return

Rates

PCR days

-1-3 ‘preevent’

149* 97%* 0 65

(44%)

3140* 97%* 1 353

(11%)

3872* 98%* 0 312

(8%)

6101* 98%* 4 1587

(26%)

7,483 76% 2 1237

(17%)

2,564* 86% 1 451

(18%)

6,526 87% 0 555

(9%)

PCR days

4-7 ‘postevent’

68

(46%)

830

(26%)

1185

(31%)

2739

(45%)

1006

(13%)

467

(18%)

1489

(23%)

Both tests

done:

‘pre’ and

‘post’

51

(32%)

227

(7%)

237

(6%)

1245

(20%)

603

(8%)

171

(7%)

198

(3%)

Cases

Associated

with

Events

Index

cases

0 0

2 3

1 4

1 1

1 5

0 0

0 2

Putative

secondary

cases

likely to attend events with pre-event

testing than non-vaccinated people

› People belonging to an ethnic minority

or those aged 16-29 are 8% more likely to

attend an event if it has social distancing

mitigations in place

› The availability of food and drink is more

important to those in the 16-29 and

30-49 age groups when considering their

likelihood of attending an event

› Men are also less likely than women to

attend an event where face coverings are

required for more than two hours.

The full ERP report goes into detail on

behaviour, movement, ventilation and

testing and has shown that with mitigating

factors, such as social distancing at pinch

points, face coverings and staggered entry

and exit times, events can be conducted

more safely at increased capacities

while maintaining a low risk of Covid-19

transmission. Based on findings from

Phase 1, the government will update

existing guidance, including organised

events guidance. The guidance will be

applicable to any organised event or

gathering of any size, both indoors and

outdoors.

BRIT Awards

Venue: The O2

Emirates FA Cup

Final

Venue: Wembley

stadium

Reunion 5k

Venue: Kempton

Park

3,312* 91% 0 1684

(51%)

16,197 88% 2 4446

(27%)

1,975* 96% 0 1,454

(74%)

TOTAL 51,319 10 12,144

(24%)

generally high across all events where

they were required, particularly in indoor

environments (98.3%) in comparison

to events conducted outdoors or with a

substantial open air element (92.1%)

› Pre-event lateral flow testing,

questionnaire-based screening and

consent to link event booking and test

result data, as conditions of admittance

to events, were accepted by audiences

for most types of events and helped

public health teams to respond to any

potential outbreaks

› Low uptake of PCR testing before and

after events meant evidence of direct

transmission at events was challenging

to determine.

1268

(38%)

4111

(25%)

1,308

(66%)

14,471

(28%)

1,125

(34%)

2701

(17%)

1,206

(61%)

7,764

(15%)

0 0

6 0

0 2

11 17

Index cases are those detected in pre-event PCR tests and therefore infection is assumed to have taken place before the

event. Secondary cases associated with events are inferred or ‘putative’ to date as it is difficult to ascertain exactly where

transmission occurred, at the event or in other activities being carried by that individual. Table entries marked with a *

were collected through Liverpool’s enhanced public health data systems.

ATTENDEE ATTITUDES

Evidence from ONS’ Opinions and Lifestyle

Survey (survey of 3,810 adults in Great

Britain, 28 April-3 May 2021) suggests the

following mitigations will have an effect on

event attendance:

› Covid-19 pre-event testing: 15% more

likely to attend an event

› Social distancing (1m+): 2% less likely to

attend an event

› Face coverings required (2hrs): 28% less

likely to attend an event

•› No food/drink allowed at the event: 43%

less likely to attend

› 2-hour delay to enter and exit: 62% less

likely to attend an event

› Vaccinated people say they are more

28

RESPONSE FROM NOEA

The National Outdoor Events

Association has responded to the

report, saying: “Despite the initial

delay, we are extremely pleased to

see that the Phase 1 Events Research

Programme report is now published.

However, it is clear that further results

from Phases 2 and 3 are wanted by the

government in order to open up our

sector.

This again means more delay for

the outdoor events sector during

our most important peak time of the

year, which is hugely frustrating for

our members. It seems, without clear

government guidance, which has

still to be produced, and the lack of

insurance, time really is running out

for our sector and the many hundreds

of businesses within it.”

MORE INFORMATION

Read the full report at: www.gov.uk/

government/publications/events-researchprogramme-phase-i-findings

Read the Events Industry Forum Guidance

(including weddings) on keeping audiences

and workers safe at:

www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk/index.php/

features/14-keeping-workers-and-audiencessafe-during-covid-19

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 57


EVENTS

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Infrastructure

CarFest, Cheshire and

Hampshire

Product: Silent disco and headset hire

Supplier: Silent Noize Events, 0203 727

5382, info@silentnoizeevents.com, www.

silentnoizeevents.com

Details: Created by Chris Evans, CarFest

is the UK’s biggest family fundraising

festival and takes place in both Cheshire

and Hampshire. Over the past nine years,

the event has raised over £16.5 million for

children’s charities including BBC Children

in Need, the Teenage Cancer Trust and

Rainbow Trust among others.

Silent Noize supplied CarFest with 500

wireless headsets to both the Cheshire

and Hampshire event spaces to cater for

the capacity of the festival’s silent disco

offering. Prior to the event weekend, Silent

Noize also provided 1,000 headsets on the

preceding Thursday to cater for its ‘Big

Early’, for guests eager to start the party

early.

Silent Noize first collaborated with

CarFest in 2013 to provide the festival with

additional entertainment to cater to its

25,000+ attendee event, and has continued

to support the event ever since. The event

RHS Chatsworth Flower

Show, Derbyshire

Product: Temp-A-Path

Supplier: EFS Europe, 01509 768252,

sales@efseurope.co.uk,

www.efseurope.co.uk

Details: The Royal Horticultural Society’s

flower show in Derbyshire is set in the

stunning grounds of Chatsworth House.

The show offers the opportunity for

visitors to experience ‘Capability’ Brown’s

unforgettable landscapes, relax on the

banks of the River Derwent and indulge

in the views of one of the UK’s most

spectacular stately homes. The show

takes place over five days and attracts

thousands of people.

At the heart of the site sits the Floral

Marquee, home to nurseries, specialist

societies and floral design. EFS provided

the flooring for this impressive marquee

with its Temp-A-Path, a lightweight,

robust, interlocking flooring system.

The flooring is installed to improve

accessibility, enhance visitor experience

and provide comfortable and safe all

weather terrain for the thousands of

visitors.

The installation took place over two

days with seven men working eight

and a half hours per day, with the uplift

taking the crew the same amount of time.

Altogether 5,700sqm of light grey Temp-A-

Path was installed. It was laid on top of a

geo-membrane to improve protection to

the ground below.

Temp-A-Path, designed, manufactured

and installed by EFS Europe, is a

lightweight, interlocking modular

flooring solution. It is ideal for creating

instant temporary flooring for marquees,

warehouses, pedestrian walkways and

emergency access. The system is quick

and easy to install and is perfect for any

indoor or outdoor event.

Customer feedback: Adam Walker,

operations assistant for the Chatsworth

Flower Show, said: “I just thought I'd

pass on this snippet from our feedback

summary from the first day: Brilliant

flooring of large marquees with all stalls

very easy to walk on, and if it does rain it

will be great.”

58 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

seeks to provide the British public with great

family memories, also a core principle for

Silent Noize.

Silent Noize provided the full silent

package to complement the main stage,

inclusive of experienced DJs and a team of

buzzing staff to ensure a smooth-running

disco which kept guests on their feet for up to

two hours.

Given the family audience of CarFest, the

multi-channel headsets were the perfect

solution for people of all ages, allowing users

to easily switch channels and engage with

fellow party goers, which resulted in the 2019

silent disco arena maintaining full capacity

over the course of the whole weekend.

Customer feedback: Izzy McGough,

CarFest’s creative producer, said: “A huge

thank you for all your hard work over the

weekend. Your efforts and enthusiasm made

the Big Top Silent Disco a huge success. The

feedback has been so positive.”

Collingbourne Beerfest, Wiltshire

Product: A customised curved bar installation with back bar and refrigerator

Supplier: CORE Bar & Event Hire, 0845 299 6499, sales@core-barandeventhire.

com, www.core-barandeventhire.com

Details: The Collingbourne Beerfest featured live music and a wide selection of

beers and ciders from local brewers and breweries as well as a gin and fizz bar

positioned in a marquee on the recreation ground at Collinbourne Cricket Club.

The bar was set up on the morning of the event in a corner of the marquee and

customised to have Gin & Fizz Bar decals applied. A black bar was chosen and a

back bar installed to provide a further working surface as well as a place for the

refrigerator to be located.

This stylish bar provided an alternative to guests who wanted something

different from the beers and ciders on offer at the event by serving a range of

locally sourced gin and prosecco options. The Gin and Fizz Bar was a great success

and managed to sell out of product by the end of the night, raising significant

funds for the organisers which were subsequently fed back into local projects.

Customer feedback: The Collingbourne Beerfest committee wrote: “Your support

enabled the committee to plan, organise and deliver an event which surpassed

and exceeded our expectations. The feedback we have received locally about the

event has been tremendous”.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 59


EVENTS

CAMRA Festival, Essex

Product: Duradeck and Tufftrak

Supplier: All Weather Access, 01371

700510, info@all-weatheraccess.co.uk,

www.all-weatheraccess.co.uk

Details: All Weather Access has

supplied the CAMRA (Campaign for

Real Ale) Festival in Essex for the past

six years. This event has been running

now since 1977, making it 34 years old

this year.

The quirky, yearly festival always

promises a fantastic weekend for all

the visitors, with an average footfall

of 5,000 across the two days. Due to

a rainy weekend in 2014, the area the

festival is held in suffered tremendous

ground damage, which forced the

council to seek a company that could

protect the ground for the following

festival. The next year, All Weather

Access stepped in to help.

After a site visit it was established

that the event would need two forms

of ground protection, Duradeck

and Tufftrak. The medium duty

matting, Duradeck, would be used for

pedestrian pathways and car parking

areas, while the heavy duty matting,

Tufftrak, would be used for enabling

access to the many HGVs dropping off

deliveries and supplies.

After two days of setting up, both

types of matting worked exceptionally

well. The grass was protected and

enabled both vehicles and pedestrians

to move around the festival smoothly.

Undisclosed Music Festival,

Germany

Product: 400 3m x 2.4m foldable secure

sleeping pods

Supplier: VRC Modular, 01223 459931,

mgp@vrcmodular.co.uk, www.vrcmodular.

co.uk

Details: VRC Modular supplied 400

foldable, secure sleeping pods were

supplied to a festival in Germany to combat

theft of belongings when festivalgoers were

away from the accommodation zone. The

pods were put up on site using two people

per pod and taking just five minutes to

erect.

The pods are made from insulated panels

and have one window and a lockable door.

Pods come flat packed meaning five times

as many pods can be transported to site

than pre-assembled units at any one time.

Organisers can enjoy more revenue from

rental rather than spending it on transport,

and clients enjoy the knowledge that their

belongings are safe.

Feedback: The festival’s guests loved the

pods, which allowed them to relax when

away from the sleeping area.

60 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Attractive Alternative to a Marquee

GT Trax

01487 823344

info@gttrax.co.uk

www.gttrax.co.uk/events/starshade

For your next outside event or show why not hire a Star

Shade? Star Shades are an attractive alternative to a standard

marquee. GT Trax has both single and double Star Shades

available to hire.

A single Star Shade is 17m in diameter with a height of 6

metres; this will cover up to 136 people or seat 80 persons on

10 FoldTables. A double Star Shade measures 14.5x22.5m and

5.5m in height. This will cover up to 180 people or 160 persons

on 20 FoldTables.

Star Shades are eye catching, practical and just right for

parties, meeting points, demonstration areas, or for rest

and eating places. GT Trax provides a full installation and

dismantling service throughout the UK, by directly employed

experienced personnel.

First Class Cleaning and Waste Management

Eventclean

01443 844492

info@eventclean.co.uk

www.eventclean.co.uk

Eventclean specialises in event cleaning and waste

management. With over 25 years' experience, it has catered to

some of the most high profile events in the country including

the Rugby World Cup Fanzone in 2015, the UEFA Champions

League Final in 2017 and the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018. It

also introduced waste sorting and recycling services to the

National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay in 2018 and has been the

cleaning contractor for the RHS Flower Show for many years.

Whether you are looking for first class cleaning and waste

management or quality toilet hire, you can rely on the team

for the highest standards. Services include event cleaning

and litter picking, waste management and disposal, waste

recycling, portable toilet cleaning and attending, and the

supply of compostable food packaging and cleaning products.

Stretch Tent Flexibility

Tentickle Stretch Tents

07826 843099

info@tentickle-stretchtents.co.uk

www.tentickle-stretchtents.co.uk

Tentickle Stretch Tents, based in

the West Midlands and operating

nationwide, has a wealth of experience

offering temporary structures. As

the need for suitable outdoor spaces

increases, stretch tents are the perfect

solution. Their modernist form appeals

to style conscious clientele and the

flexibility of the technical fabric allows

tents to be installed in numerous

positions and spaces, creating unique

installations for each setting.

Size and colours can be chosen to suit

a venue’s environment and complement

the surroundings. Come rain or your

shine, guests will be perfectly covered

as these tents are built to endure

even strong storms and will protect

from direct sun thanks to the UV light

absorbing fabric which blocks rays and

keeps people comfortable underneath.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 61


Spot light

A roundup of products for the outdoor hospitality industry

BESPOKE GEODESIC DOMES

Pro-Domes

07827 614404 / 07581 216244

info@pro-domes.com

www.pro-domes.com

Brand new to the UK, Pro-Domes

provides high quality, luxurious

and bespoke geodesic domes

to the glamping market. We

offer complete customisation

of our structures with our new

3D configurator so you can offer

your guests that something

extra special. We have a range

of dome sizes and colours, as

well as additional features such

as insulation, log burners and

stargazer windows to create

the perfect space – all at a very

affordable price! We provide

almost everything you need to

start a new glamping venture or

develop an existing site.

PREMIUM TOILET AND SHOWER

MODULES

VRC Modular

01223 459931

mgp@vrcmodular.co.uk

www.vrcmodular.co.uk

Toilet and shower modules for

premium sites clad in British larch.

These steel framed units have

insulated walls and ceilings and

feature either LPG or electric hot

water and thumb turn door locks

with optional timed entry.

Other options include Altro Pisces

flooring and Altro welded walling,

infrared heating panels, low wattage

blade hand dryers, electric towel

rails, thermostatic tube heaters,

wall mounted down draft heaters,

PIR sensor internal lighting and

occupancy indicator external lighting.

Ranging from two person upwards,

modules are available with bespoke

layouts. Either 2.4m or 2.8m deep and

up to 12m long. Kitchen and laundry

rooms also available.

PERFO GROUND REINFORCEMENT

SYSTEM

S2T Group

01992 522797

www.perfo.co.uk

S2T Group’s PERFO range of ground

protection products comprises

a system of interlocking, selfanchoring

permeable plastic

tiles which are embedded into an

existing surface, eg. a mature grass

area or prepared base consisting of

a layer of crushed stone chippings,

depending on the application.

A number of light to heavy duty

solutions are available to suit

varied ground conditions, traffic

profiles and loading requirements.

Unlike other geogrid systems,

PERFO tiles are usually installed

without the need for excavation,

being compacted directly into the

existing surface using rollers or

compactor plates. Installation is

therefore rapid and planning issues

less problematic.

EVENT EQUIPMENT HIRE

GT Trax

01487 823344

info@gttrax.co.uk

www.gttrax.co.uk or call

Established in early 2005, GT Trax

is one of the UK’s leading suppliers

of temporary roadways, walkways,

flooring, seating, fencing and

structures. They offer a complete

delivery, install, uplift and

collection service, with fully trained

and experienced site personnel.

Their range encompasses heavy

duty trackway and hardwearing

non-slip walkways, alongside

picket and Heras fencing. They

also have a line-up of single and

double Starshades, with seating

provided by the unique Foldtable.

So, for your next event, get in

touch with the GT Trax hire desk

and see how their equipment can

enhance your visitor experience.

62 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

Eco Structures (Sutton Hospitality

Consultants, UK agents)

0191 5197477

hello@suttonhospitalityconsultants.co.uk

www.suttonhospitalityconsultants.co.uk

If you’re thinking of adding

high-standard glamping

accommodation to your park this

year, then you’ll be pleased to hear

that the choice available is now

greater than ever. Eco Structures

are environmentally friendly, fully

customisable units which will

help you meet increasing demand

quickly, with an average twoday

installation time. Think bath

pods, en-suites, decking and glass

front doors – these are not only

competitively priced for you, but

they are also seriously tempting

places for discerning staycationners

to stay in, so once you’ve installed

them, your guests will be sure to

follow…

To find out more, contact UK

agents, Sutton Hospitality.

Classified Directory

C RE®

BAR& EVENTHIRE

STYLISH CUSTOMISABLE BAR RENTAL

DRY HIRE OR FULL SERVICE

T: 0845 299 6499 - E: sales@core-barandeventhire.com

www.core-barandeventhire.com

Advert - small.indd 1 16/04/2021 16:04:43

Finman

Glamping

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From

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UNIQUE • QUALITY • CUSTOMISABLE

01389 887205 www.logspan.com

Call 01262 470475 or visit

www.shepherd-huts.com

www.vrcmodular.co.uk

01223 459931/ mgp@vrcmodular.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 63


Classified Directory

Keeping Things

Together

Probably the largest selection of textile fasteners in the UK

www.opas.co.uk

Modular Flooring

for all Applications

02037 959090

www.everblockflooring.co.uk

01453 767171

www.bondfabrications.co.uk

enquiries@bondfabrications.co.uk

01278 238390

64 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


PEOPLE

Behind the Scenes with…

Bronte Hall

We chat to Bronte Hall about starting over post-pandemic

hiring out giant tipis for weddings and events with her

partner Brett Jackson

ABOUT BRONTE HALL AND

BRETT JACKSON

Bronte and Brett have been in the

wedding industry for 10 years. Four

years ago, Brett launched his tipi hire

business and two years ago, Bronte

joined the team. The perfect duo,

Brett heads up operations and is most

often found on site with his factor

50, not too far away from a tipi pole.

Bronte is usually in the office chatting

to clients or buried in a gripping excel

spreadsheet!

ABOUT GARDEN WEDDINGS

TIPI HIRE

Covering Yorkshire and surrounding

areas, Garden Weddings Tipi Hire

erects giant tipis for weddings, parties

and events. The office is based at Brett

and Bronte’s home and flagship venue,

Skipbridge Country Weddings.

www.garden-weddings.co.uk

THE LAST 18 months have been

challenging, to say the least; the whole of

the weddings and events industry has felt

the effect of the pandemic but I’m sure

we’re not alone when we say that we really

can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

For the last three weekends we’ve been

“sold out” – it’s wonderful to walk into the

unit and see it stripped bare of all of our

equipment because it’s at various sites

across Yorkshire. It’s out doing what it

does best – creating the perfect backdrop

to a memorable wedding, party or event

for our lovely clients.

This is a stark reality in comparison

to this time last year when the unit was

empty because we’d decided to sell

everything. Tipis, furniture and anything

that we didn’t need had to go. We really

battened down the hatches and cut all of

our overheads to ensure survival through

such an uncertain time in life, let alone

business.

Fast forward to today and we’ve got 10

brand new giant tipis, bespoke furniture,

new vehicles and a fresh team of build

crew. The challenges we’re facing now

we’re back in the season and actually

building tents are those we can cope with

– vehicle maintenance, staff shortages,

someone’s missed an essential bit of build

kit when loading up, so you’ve got to run

it out last minute… But this is all part and

parcel of what we do and keeps things

interesting and each day different.

If I said the typical day started a good

hour before the crew arrive to the unit,

with a civilised breakfast and a cup of tea,

I’d be lying… This is always our grand plan

but during the season we work seven days

a week and sleep is a luxury! The reality

for us is a 30 minute dash from throwing

the quilt off, to jumping in the shower,

then grabbing a quick slice of toast (with

a boiled egg for Brett) before opening the

front door and stepping into the unit…

Usually there’s two or three of our crew

already there cracking on with the day’s

tasks.

Duties in a morning rarely differ; the

clients and job builds are different,

but we always follow the same format.

Vehicles are loaded/unloaded, checked

and secured to get on the road. Tools

and packed lunches are loaded then the

different crew teams set off for their day on

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 65


PEOPLE

site. Usually, we have two teams out daily,

this amounts to four vehicles with trailers

and 10 crew members.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve

talked through the plan, checked the

vehicles and job packs there is always that

little niggle that you’ve forgotten something.

Nine times out of 10 we haven’t and it’s just

your over active brain playing tricks on you

because it knows the pressure we put on

ourselves to make sure our jobs are perfect.

Everything we do has an element of

urgency. With our events we rarely see

repeat clients. The majority of our business

comes from weddings and these are a

once-in-a-lifetime event, there’s no second

chances so we must get it right first time.

Each of our clients and couples get our full

attention in the lead up to their event. This

starts in the office with six and four weekly

check lists and is carried right through to

the build day when the crew create the tipis

in the exact formation that has been 12-18

months in the planning.

We don’t like problems – we don’t really

have time for them… Of course, the nature

of the job means we do encounter things

that don’t go quite to plan occasionally but

the show must go on and in the fast paced

environment that we work problems get

solved.

Brett and I are lucky that we are

surrounded by a team that are smart

and hard working. Each member fully

understands the ethos of what we do and

why we do it.

TAKING TIME

We do rush around on a daily basis and

run out of hours in the day and days in the

week, but believe that taking some time

“AT THE END OF THE DAY WE ARE MORE OFTEN THAN NOT

EXHAUSTED! BUT WE CAN’T COMPLAIN TOO MUCH…

OUR WORKLOAD IS CONCENTRATED TO SIX MONTHS

OF THE YEAR”

out is important, not just for us but for the

team. I could quite happily sit at my laptop

from 8am–8pm and not stop but this isn’t

healthy or productive, for anyone. Brett

and I try and make sure we have 30 minutes

for lunch. When we can we’ll have lunch

together, often with Katy our event planner.

It’s a good time to fill each other in on the

different elements of our days and also

assign action tasks to each other’s ever

growing lists!

At the end of the day we are more often

than not exhausted! But we can’t complain

too much… our workload is concentrated to

six months of the year. April to September

is when we’re in the season and it’s seven

days a week and countless hours each day.

October to March is when we take stock, get

a regular sleeping pattern back and spend

more time with our loved ones (who get

somewhat neglected during the summer

season).

The reasons we love doing what we do

are quite literally endless. If we didn’t have

the love for weddings, events and tipis it just

wouldn’t work! No two days are the same,

none of our clients are the same, none of

the builds we embark on are the same. This

keeps it interesting – we never quite know

what to expect when the vehicles leave the

yard in a morning, but you can guarantee

the crew will come back with a story…

We’re unbelievably proud of what we’ve

achieved, proud of our team, and proud

of each other. What we do isn’t easy, it

takes hard work, dedication and all of your

time but the results we get make it more

than worthwhile. Receiving feedback from

ecstatic couples, birthday guys/gals, their

family and friends puts it all into context.

We can say, proudly, that we contribute to

a huge part of our clients’ events and our

contribution forms part of their memories

that will stay with them forever. To add to

this, we do it together – every step of the

way.

66 66 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


The Biggest and the Best

- NATIONWIDE -

Specialists in the hire of outdoor cinema

equipment. Packages from £795+vat

07739 710272 | info@skylightcinema.co.uk

www.skylightcinema.co.uk

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