Behind the Scenes with… Joanne Howard

Meet Joanne, aka Mrs Claus, Seventa Events’ Bournemouth Christmas Market event manager.

Bournemouth Christmas market

On a typical day on the lead up to the build of the market, I wake up at around 6am and it’s time for a cuddle with my two daughters. I tell them I am going to be cleaning off Santa’s sleigh today! Lots of excitement… Coffee for me and tea for my mother in law, who is currently babysitting while I get ready for Christmas.

I turn up at work at 8am, grab another coffee and start with any calls or meetings needed to set me up for the day. This is the time of day where I much prefer to speak to people, and it means that I can action anything that comes up throughout the day.

At 11am I need another warm drink and a banana, or any other snacks I can lay my hands on – I am a total snack addict, especially when I am busy.

A typical day of work comprises updating floor plans, budget work, schedules and speaking to suppliers to make sure we are all working as a team. We have a lot of kit to pack up for Christmas so it’s all hands on deck to make sure everything is ready to go on site.

The early evening is spent making sure that I keep on top of any last-minute requests, emails and queries before we go on site for the big build. Today I am fitting signage and ordering tools and materials.

I am home at about 7pm, where I get a crazy couple of hours with my girls and the cat watching YouTube videos and having tickle fights. I am in bed by 9pm – it’s always early to bed on week nights, I am such a lightweight!

Bournemouth Christmas lodge

Market time
Organising a Christmas market of this scale is a big undertaking and such a complex project means looking at it all year round. We are in year three of a five year contract at Bournemouth and expect nearly three million visitors over the 49 day trading period – the market has seen a 50 per cent uplift year on year since we started.

There are 40 trading huts as well as theming and props and an impressive double storey Alpine Lodge Bar created by our sister company Innovative Hire. This structure is formed from two 40ft container bars joined and topped by a marquee structure, provided and installed by Mar-Key Group, a local partner to the market.

The bar is proving more popular than ever this year, with the capacity to host 180 downstairs, 100 upstairs and an additional 250 in its surrounding outdoor area. The structure boasts two large bars and an abundance of rustic furniture and décor, giving it that perfect après ski vibe. The whole site is serviced by power from generators provided by CES Electrical.

We are simplifying processes constantly and with each event it gets easier but when you get down into the detail you kind of forget about Christmas. That said, Christmas is a really fun time of year and it’s great to be working on something that is so appealing to such a wide audience!

Security at Bournemouth Christmas market

I really enjoy working with our dedicated suppliers and the camaraderie that builds when you are planning an event like this. I don’t know if it’s the Christmas spirit or the spirit of events in general, but it’s great when we are all pulling in the same direction and supporting each other.

This year I am particularly enjoying the food. We have some new concessions and I have a terrible sweet tooth, so I’ve been chowing down on churros and crêpes… always to be seen with a snack in my hand!

I also love a few glasses of mulled wine. It’s my absolutely favourite so I’ll definitely be sampling some of that in my down time. I’m also interested in the mulled gin… I’ve never tried that before and I’m up for something new!

Crowd at Bournemouth Christmas market


Bournemouth Christmas Market
Bournemouth’s Christmas Market is owned by Seventa Events and returns for its third year alongside the custom built two-storey Alpine Lodge Bar, provided and installed by sister company, Innovative Hire.

Having won the market contract in 2017, the events agency set about updating and re-theming the festivities to bring something new to Bournemouth residents and to attract crowds from further afield.

Lady planning for Bournemouth Christmas market event

Seventa Events
Seventa Events provides event planning, management and production services for a range of clients. It is known for its personality, experience and creativity, designing events and experiences that leave an impression.

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