Entertainment providers advise on how their offerings can help make your event a success

Trevor KayeTrevor Kaye, director
Crowded House Entertainments
07703 258595 / office@crowdedh.com

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
We believe that entertainment can often be an overlooked element of an event. Choosing the wrong band or an unsuitable act can break an event, therefore, we aim to ensure that our clients’ needs are catered for, whether this be the requirement of a family friendly show, a small band, show or a full-sized orchestra. We work closely with our clients to ensure the act/acts on stage fit the perceived audience and as a production company, we have more flexibility to adapt to a client’s wishes. For example, we are able to increase or decrease the size of the majority of our shows to suit any budget, or build something specifically bespoke. We have a team of professional musicians who are capable of writing or transposing music for any genre and choreographers to add dancers if required. In addition to main stage entertainment, we can also supply meet and greet and roaming artists; the more creative the better.

Live musicWe have found that entertainment for family audiences is generally the hardest, while themed or age specific audiences are, on the whole, more straightforward. Putting aside named artists and inexhaustible budgets, choosing the act(s) to draw an audience is ultimately a make or break decision for a successful event. Budgets are, even at the top end, getting tighter which is where using smaller companies with lower overheads can make a great deal of sense.

How does your business model work?
As a small company, financially, we tend to work on one of two ways. We offer the choice of a one-off buy out fee, or a reduced fee and a percentage of the box office/takings. When, supplying PA, lighting equipment, marquees, stages and crew, like everyone else this is fee-based and dependent on requirements.

What options do you offer for small, medium and large budgets?
We work on various types of events, anything from the Outdoor Theatre at Hever Castle, acts for festivals to stage, PA, lighting and entertainment for independent private schools. We have supplied headline shows on main stages where the audiences are circa 4000 and private events for an audience of 150. We endeavor to attend all our events when possible, which clients certainly appreciate. This gives us the ability to deal directly with any requests, for example recently we arranged for a band to play a song, not on the pre-arranged set list because the CEO suddenly wanted to hear it. This was one specific turning point in an evening impossible without professional playing musicians.

How has your attraction impacted events you have attended?
A personal touch and attention to detail, professional artists, and flexibility is the key to our success. We tend to let our clients speak for us and this quote pretty much says it all; “A big thank-you, in particular, for turning what could have been a disaster into a rip-roaring success”.

Freddie ParkerFreddie Parker, partner
Freddie’s Farm
07890 418133 / www.freddiesfarm.co.uk

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
Freddie’s Farm provides displays and entertainment across the country for shows, educational talks and corporate events. The Sheepdog Show is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the wonderful skills of working sheepdogs as the dogs are challenged to move ducks around an obstacle course. Full audience participation is encouraged and we always invite the children in to meet the dogs and ducks, as well as giving them a complimentary sticker for their help. In general, two shows (30mins each) are performed each day, and this acts as a great draw for families as well as adults interested in country ways. As an additional extra we can also provide a static stand offering another opportunity for children to ask questions and meet the animals. This invariably proves very popular as well as being educational with ducklings on display and other farming-related information available.

Ducks and dogHow does your business model work?
There is a daily rate for the Sheepdog Show, and we also offer our highly amusing Duck Racing for an additional fee. The Duck Derby runs three or four times a day (about 15-20 mins each time) with runner ducks competing for the Gold Duck Cup. Since the Duck Racing requires a static race track, this display can be used as a filler between arena acts to retain customer interest in the attractions as they setup and take down equipment. Tickets can be bought to bet on your favourite quacker, and the backers of the winning duck receive a small prize. We are also able to personalise the duck racing to suit the occasion, for example we held the ‘Race to the White House’ at a local show and have also had ducks dressed as the bride and groom for weddings. All proceeds from the betting go to charity being split between the charity choice of Freddie’s Farm and the event organisers.

How has your attraction impacted events you have attended?
Our shows allow a structure and focal point at events and fairs for families to join together for a bit of easy fun and laughter as well as being educational and very different. At a number of events children will specifically seek us out each year to update us on their own experiences in farming and agriculture. We hope to inspire shepherds of the future as well as illustrate some of the lost aspects of countryside management.

Bethyn BarrassBethyn Barrass, managing director
Odin Events
015242 63740 / www.odinevents.com

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
Keeping the younger generation engaged is key at events, if there is something for children and teenagers to do then parents are happy. We have taken our activities to all sorts of events, ranging from the NFL on Regent Street with our mobile climbing wall, to looking after all of the event entertainment at Pedal Norfolk (Holkham Hall) during a cycling festival, whereby it is imperative to have something for the children to take part in while waiting for mum or dad to finish the cycling. Good event entertainment, marketed correctly, is a huge draw to an event.

Family fun activitiesHow does your business model work?
If you were to hire Odin Events to look after your event entertainment, there would be a one-off hire fee. Any monies taken on the day are returned to the event organiser.

What options do you offer for small, medium and large budgets?
We can offer everything from a one-off activity to entertain a small number of guests, to a complete entertainment set up to include mobile climbing walls, trailer caves, Segways, giant human hamster balls and more.

How has your attraction impacted an event you have attended?
For the past four years, Odin Events has been providing children’s activities to the Bolesworth International Showjumping event. The activities are used as part of a ‘family zone’. The publicity for the event always includes the children’s activities, ensuring that it attracts families rather than just equestrian enthused individuals. In 2015, we also provided our mobile climbing wall for the ‘Gladiator Challenge’ at Bolesworth, which saw six of the original ‘Gladiators’ (Jet, Hunter, Saracen, Lightening, Wolf and Scorpio) go head to head with the showjumpers in a serious of games inspired by the original TV series.

Richard SavoryRichard Savory, owner and presenter
The Sheep Show

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
The Sheep Show is a live stage show about sheep, shearing and wool, and is ‘edutainment’ at its best. It is suitable for all the family, and its clever design makes it action-packed for the kids, while a humorous script makes it entertaining for adults as well.

It is set on its own 40-foot stage trailer and brings everything with it. All that is required is an area of reasonably flat ground and an enthusiastic crowd!

How does your business model work?
The Sheep Show charges a one-off fee including transport, and can deliver up to four 30 minute shows per day. Currently, it appears all over the country at over 130 different events from agricultural shows, rallies and family fun days, to food events, village fetes and festivals. The Sheep Show is suitable for large and small events and is very visible.

Sheep ShowWhat options do you offer for small, medium and large budgets?
The Sheep Road Show is a smaller version with just four sheep breeds, but it includes sheep shearing and is suitable for smaller audiences. The Sheep Show has been a great draw for a large number events and its popularity means it has a 75 per cent return visit portfolio. It is the easiest way of having the countryside come to town, giving a fantastic display while educating the general public at the same time.

How has your attraction impacted an event you have attended?
Lee Valley, near London, has been using The Sheep Show for its two schools days prior to a countryside weekend to educate over 2,000 6-11 year olds. A lot of these children have never seen a real sheep and certainly not seen a sheep shorn before. The Countryside Weekend itself invites the general public to learn about the countryside and The Sheep Show is a great favourite with visitors.

Shelley EckfordShelley Eckford, partner
Tropical Roadshow
07517 881396 / www.tropicalroadshow.co.uk

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
As a new business, in the last 12 months, Tropical Roadshow has attended a wide range of events, from large country fairs and comic conventions, to charity events and corporate morale days. At every event we have drawn a crowd; people are genuinely interested in what we have to offer. It’s not every day you see a 14ft python, a tarantula as big as your hand, or a tawny owl up close and personal. The most frequent piece of feedback we receive is how well our service works in ‘bringing the family together’. Even events where you would not expect to see something like ourselves, such as food festivals, have enquired about our services in order to ensure their more adult themed event has a child friendly element, thus keeping all members of the family entertained! Children especially enjoy the experience of learning about the different creatures we bring, as well as having the opportunity to get physically ‘hands on’ with animals they would ordinarily never have access to. An important note to add is that we do not perform at set times, we are fully interactive with the public throughout the entire show day/session.

Tropical RoadshowHow does your business model work?
The business model works on a hire fee basis. Standard hire includes the use of our purpose-built exhibition trailer, fully trained animal handlers, as well as a wide range of exotic animals (mileage fee calculated in addition to ‘trailer hire’ cost).

What options do you offer for small, medium and large budgets?
We recognise the need for flexibility, from both a price perspective and with regards to what we can offer. We can tailor our packages to suit all budgets and event sizes, both indoors and outdoors. Although our exhibition trailer is the most popular option, especially for outdoor events, we are also geared up to provide professional table top type set ups. This option utilises fun backdrops, camouflage table coverings, and animals presented in their own mini-display environments.

How has your attraction impacted an event you have attended?
In August 2016, Tropical Roadshow attended the Denbigh and Flint Show, a large local country event suitable for the whole family. As previously mentioned, people are attracted to the uniqueness of our business. The public is used to domesticated animals and livestock, whereas most individuals have never experienced the types of animals we work with. Due to this, we were certainly able to draw a crowd, what with people mainly associating Denbigh and Flint as a purely agricultural show. Adults and children alike commented on how fantastic it was to interact and learn about less commonly known species of animal. As a result of the impact we had on the entire show, we were hugely fortunate to win 1st prize for the best trade stand in attendance.

John LoweryJohn Lowery, operations director
Hire A Funfair
01759 371844 / www.hireafunfair.com

Describe the importance of the entertainment you offer at public events
A concern for organisers of events is how to keep everyone entertained. One way of doing this can be funfair attractions; either by hiring them in, so all guests ride for free, or charging an operator a fee to attend – they then charge the guests. If you are organising an event and looking for a ‘wow’ factor then funfair rides and games could be the answer.

How does your business model work?
Our business model is built around making sure the client gets what they want within their budget, and that the attractions we supply are first class in presentation, and are safely operated and maintained.

Merry go roundWhat options do you offer for small, medium and large budgets?
Some small family events have children’s rides such as the Cups and Saucers whilst larger festivals go with much bigger and more thrilling rides such as roller coasters and giant wheels. Costs for hiring rides start from £300 to £15,000 for the larger rides. The most common for corporate and private events are Ferris Wheels, Dodgems, Carousels and Waltzers.

How has your attraction impacted an event you have attended?
We have been involved in events for the last 25 years around the UK. Our clients have included the National Railway Museum, Jaguar/Land Rover, the London Fashion Show, Virgin Atlantic, Sky TV, Virgin Media, Mars, Microsoft, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and many more. We have also attended weddings, birthday parties and college balls so have experience dealing with all types of clients in all types of environments. The common thread is that our funfair attractions have been the focal point of all their events.

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