A chance to decompress in the beautiful surroundings of Northamptonshire’s Kelmarsh Estate.
As event organisers pivot their offerings, Kambe Events has reimagined its flagship festival’s site and, instead of Shambala, is offering a socially distanced glamping event with added extras. We talk to Kate Burgess.
Describe your event
Carry On Kelmarsh is a safe, socially-distanced camping experience in the beautiful surrounds of Shambala Festival’s site. It is a spacious pop-up campsite running over August 2020 in the uniquely stunning grounds of Kelmarsh Estate, and is a chance for people to connect with nature and roam about. It will run over three separate weekends: 7-10, 14-17, and 21-24 August.
Explain a bit about your venue and its history
Kelmarsh Hall is situated in the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire, and the longstanding home of our flagship event, Shambala Festival. There are over 200 acres of grounds, lakes, stunning gardens and enchanting woodlands. For the first time, it’s a chance to see the estate in its gorgeous natural state, including areas normally off limits over the Shambala weekend.
What is the event’s history and what made you decide to run it?
Carry On Kelmarsh emerged out of the challenging landscape of a festival season devastated by coronavirus. We were compelled to cancel our festivals Shambala and Starry Skies leaving us very much in the red, as well as our crews and suppliers.
As we emerged out of lockdown, we wanted to offer people a way to get out in the fields in a genuinely safe manner that connected like-minded souls to beautiful countryside and offered the high production value expected from our events. It is the first of its kind, and is born out of this uniquely strange time.
How have you planned the layout of the event?
We’re incredibly lucky to have a longstanding relationship with the Kelmarsh Estate, and have been able to plan Carry On Kelmarsh so that it delivers safe, socially distanced camping while making the most of the beautiful grounds.
By making the entire event pre-pitched we have been able to guarantee that each pitch is at least 10m apart, erring on the side of caution with social distancing measures so our guests can totally relax and feel safe. It is very exciting to be offering people the chance to decompress by uninterrupted views of the lake, wander in the enchanted woodlands (with some art installations) and also, for the first time, experience the house grounds.
We are using some of Shambala’s beloved glamping providers, Vintents and Fred’s Yurts, with plenty of options to choose from. These will all be pre-pitched and deep cleaned between each weekend. By using trusted suppliers we not only support some of the folk that lost out on festival cancellations, but we can guarantee all the additional health and safety measures will be met.
How did you research and source your other structures?
As Carry On Kelmarsh is ostensibly a camping experience (with lots of lovely extras thrown in) there has not been the need for quite the same kind of infrastructure as that used at Shambala or Starry Skies. We’re very excited to be opening up our crew bar bus to the public, which lives on site all year round.
What entertainment do you offer?
Our fantastic production coordinator Abi supports our creative director in picking incredible and colourful content for our events. In record time, Abi has managed to adapt, discover and book an array of onsite activities, all of which are Covid-safe.
On offer there will be lawn games, den building, lip sync battles, pub quizzes, nature mandala and other craft workshops, orienteering, human football table tournaments, tai chi and yoga, musical workouts and more!
It was key that we could offer a range of entertainment that left space for guests and family to do their own thing and also get stuck in, in a socially distanced way. We wanted to focus on the outdoors, making the most of the beautiful setting and drawing inspiration from our other events that offer programming that connects us to nature
We also wanted to offer activities where people could really let loose, get creative and have a well-earned laugh. Making sure this entertainment could be delivered in a spacious way has been integral to drawing up a programme that complemented the rejuvenating camping experience we are offering, where campers know all safety measures are in hand.
What challenges have you faced?
Obviously producing an event with such a quick turnaround and government advice constantly shifting has thrown up challenges. Advice about outdoor gatherings, live music events and so on has drastically shifted, and grappling with that has been strange.
We feel confident that we have taken initiative in producing a totally safe camping experience that takes into account the needs of everybody with valid concerns about holidaying at the moment. We’re on track to present memorable weekends on ‘home turf’ that are fun, rejuvenating, relaxing and most of all safe.
For peace of mind, we have a cancellation policy that guarantees a full refund in the event of a cancellation relating to further coronavirus restrictions. As it stands we’re full steam ahead, with more incredible content being booked and visits to the site really making us itch to be back in a field filled (slightly) with other people!
Carry on Kelmarsh