We Are The Fair’s Rob Dudley shares two complex and bespoke builds created as differentiators in a crowded festival landscape.
As large-scale event and festival producers we have plenty of experience at We Are The Fair in delivering complex projects on behalf of our clients year-round. The pre-pandemic festival calendar (and, fingers crossed, the post pandemic landscape) was getting busier and more competitive, meaning that many of our clients were keen to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
These differences can span many aspects of the event such as the line-up and talent, the location (although once a great location has been established, it’s a hard decision to move), the ancillary entertainment (wellbeing activities, screening, talks and discussions, workshops and so on), the food and beverage offerings and the event’s overall look and feel.
We have helped many of our clients achieve these differences for their festivals and events and of these a few really stand out in our minds for the unique challenges they presented and the successful impact they had on the audience. Here are two of my favourite examples.
Kisstory on the Common
Kisstory is the sister station to Kiss FM, playing non-stop Old Skool anthems. In 2018 we produced their first large scale festival, Kisstory on the Common (Streatham Common, London). Acting as the focal point of the show, the client wanted to make an impact with their main stage. We worked with our set build partners to design and produce the iconic ‘Boombox’ stage. This structure was made using Layher scaffold which was then clad with wooden panels, integrated with LED screens and artistically set-painted. The finished structure acted not only as the DJ booth but a performance stage for live PAs and dancers, even allowing for safe dancing on the top.
The whole project was overseen by one of our production managers working closely with one of our event safety advisors and was delivered in conjunction with our set builders to an enthusiastic reception, from both client and audience alike. We were really pleased with the outcome; the stage looked great, the DJs and dancers really enjoyed performing on the structure and it made for a great photo opportunity. The process was lengthy, intricate and involved multiple client meetings, site visits with suppliers and discussions with local authority building control and structural engineers.
As the structural elements of the Boombox were delivered using Layher, once the show was over these were dismantled and then used again on other events. The scenic panels were carefully removed and were placed in storage, ready for future events. These were successfully re-used for 2019 but as we all know, unable to be used in 2020. We are currently planning to bring them out of storage for a return to action this Summer… fingers crossed!
The Eastern Electrics brand is well established and in 2019 the festival was in its tenth year. Our team has been producing the show since 2017 and, during that time, the event had firmly established itself in its then home of Morden Park.
To make it stand out in 2019, the client drew inspiration from Ibiza Rocks and decided they wanted a pool party at the London day festival… Well, why wouldn’t you? We subsequently rose to the challenge, and what a challenge it was; uneven ground, nervousness from the local authority, considerations for capacity management, changing facilities and overall health and safety as well as the practicalities of delivering 30,000 litres of water each day (and then chlorinating and testing).
The pool was designed around an existing temporary swimming pool product which was then engineered to incorporate a steel deck surround and dressed with astro turf. We installed changing rooms and sourced a competent team of first aid trained life guards. We developed and implemented comprehensive operational and safety management plans and managed to achieve agreement from the local authority that the pool could be included at the festival.
The pool went down a storm with the festivalgoers. Luckily the weather was on our side and the pool was busy throughout the event!
About the Author
Rob Dudley is a director at We Are The Fair, a specialist festival production and event safety agency. Rob has over 19 years of event production experience and heads up The Fair’s Health and Safety and Licensing division. His experience in managing and producing both large scale live events, festivals and exhibitions spans the UK, Europe and the US. Rob specialises in event and festival Health and Safety, helping a wide range of clients deliver their sometimes challenging events safely, in venues ranging from civic squares and private estates to green fields and London parks. www.wearethefair.com