Field to Festival

Make monetising your spare field a reality with these tips from Katie Tann, founder of Field Lover – an online portal matching field owners with ‘field seekers’

We live in a ‘sharing economy’ world with an increasing number of online marketplaces at our disposal for renting out our surplus assets. The sharing economy is a real trend and one that is growing, creating new markets out of things that we wouldn’t have previously considered to be monetisable.

People partying at festival
Pic: Shutterstock

Field Lover aims to fill a gap in the micro-land rental market assisting landowners to advertise and rent their land to field seekers, who are primarily looking for short-term land rental for a variety of activities. From a simple day rental for the local church fête or amateur dramatics performance, to a sporting event such as Tough Mudder, pop-up open air cinema or local music festival – the list is ever growing. Outdoor events are fast gaining popularity, can be profitable and provide a valuable contribution to the community and local area.

As the landowner, you choose whether you rent your land to a third party who organises an event or whether you organise and run an event yourself. When hiring your land to a third party you have a duty of care to those assisting you and to people attending the event to ensure the site is risk assessed, hazards clearly marked and adequate signage is in place. Any activities related to the event itself are the responsibility of the event organiser, who has ultimate responsibility to carry out a more detailed risk assessment.

It is good practice, regardless of your event size, to undertake a risk assessment to identify the risks versus actions required for the prevention of accidents during your event. Once your event is assessed you can assign actions to the relevant people. If you are hiring in external services, such as a marquee company, fireworks display team, temporary power provider or catering company, then each individual supplier should undertake their own risk assessment for their activity and provide the event organiser with a copy or a certificate of compliance with the relevant safety regulations.

Where to start
First and foremost it is worth spending time carrying out some sound market research. Ask yourself questions such as, “What type of event?” and “Is it best suited to my site?” Consider your land from an outdoor event viewpoint – think about:

  • gradient
  • boundaries (walls, fences or hedges)
  • natural hazards (rocks, lakes, rivers or streams)
  • do any of the features of the land hinder the event requirements?
  • is the site within easy access from a main road?
  • is there sufficient space for traffic and suppliers to navigate the site and park?
  • how does the land cope after rainfall; will parking areas need stabilising and are you able to provide assistance if cars get stuck?
  • what are the existing amenities – consider water supply, power, outbuildings etc.

We have a wide range of fields listed on Field Lover and large numbers of ‘field seekers’ searching for land for a variety of uses. As we head into summer and longer evenings, land for outdoor events is in high demand. When deciding whether to hire your land for a public event it is worth considering your type of event using the ‘low to high risk approach’.

Women in historical costume
Pic: Shutterstock

A low risk event defines small scale events that require a lower capital investment, shorter planning period (+3 months) and generally have less than 1,000 attendees, such as:

  • car boot sales
  • charity fundraisers such as fêtes and dog shows
  • local food festivals or farmers markets
  • theatrical performances

Medium risk applies to events which require a larger investment and a longer planning period (+6 months), these could include:

  • country shows
  • car rallies
  • sporting events, such as obstacle course races and local horse shows
  • local music festivals

High risk events will have large attendee numbers and complex infrastructure such as staging, large scale amenities and parking, or they may have a high risk element to them such as a firework display. Initial investment is high and the planning period would be +12 months. They might include large music festivals.

Key considerations
Before planning any event, you need to ask some important questions:

1) Who are my anticipated audience?
Family-focused events tend to be lower risk than events aimed at young adults. Consider requirements for visitors such as the elderly or disabled – is the site suitable?

2) Where will visitors be travelling from?

Will your event attract visitors from further afield? Consider what the impact of increased footfall and traffic to the local area during the event period might be.

3) Is my site big enough?

A small-scale event is usually considered less than 1,000 attendees. For anything larger it is well worth seeking help from an event planner who has the knowledge, skills, contacts and experience in planning and organising larger scale events.

4) What is the timing of my event?

Events held during the daytime are lower risk than those which run into the evening. You’ll need to ensure adequate lighting can be provided to assist visitors with navigating the site after dark.

Next on your list is your Event Plan. Your event should be well planned from the outset, here you identify who is responsible for each area, the tasks leading up to the day, your list of actions and timeline to ensure everything is covered before, during and after the event, such as the clear up.

As a general rule, a low risk event will require less planning, resources, licensing and insurances than a higher risk event; plan your timeline accordingly.

Pair at festival
Pic: Shutterstock

Licences and notices
Identify early on which licences you need to apply for and what notices need to be issued. Once this has been done, draft a timeline to ensure you have all applications agreed and licences in place well before the event day.

Your first point of call is your local authority, this is the local authority where your event will take place. Give details of your event and they can advise on the appropriate time scales for planning, who to contact and any licence or other applications that are required. Expect to give at least six months’ advance notice for a large event with more than 1,000 people attending, or where public safety is a concern.

Don’t be put off by the thought of too much red tape. It’s pretty straightforward and can be helped by following simple checklists, and breaking areas down into a step by step approach can ensure the process is painless. Planning an event can be a lot of fun, very rewarding and profitable for both the landowner and event organiser. Careful planning and organisation ensures your event is successful and safe.

For smaller, lower risk events allow a minimum of three months for consultation with all services that may be affected – such as police, local authorities, fire and rescue, ambulance service, emergency planning department, event safety team and Highways, as well as to notify all properties, residences and businesses that may be affected by your event.

Below are some other licences you may need. As part of your enquiries and licence submissions you may need to provide maps, site or route plans.

  • Advance Notice – One month before your event you or your organiser must post a public advance notice stating the event details and effect of the event – make sure to describe any alternative route(s) available to traffic.
  • Temporary Event Notice (TEN) – Under the Licensing Act 2003, some events may require a licence or a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). Apply to your local authority where your event is being held, or online.
  • Entertainment Licence – It’s worth noting that it can take up to three months from application for an Entertainment Licence.
  • Film – If you plan to show a film publicly you will need a Single Title Screening Licence (STSL), obtainable online from BFI, Filmbank and MPLC.
  • Food and Drink – Will you be providing food or alcoholic drinks, and if so is a license or hygiene certificate required? It can take up to six months for an application for a Temporary Alcohol Licence, so ensure you submit as early as possible.
  • Fireworks, Chinese Lanterns or a Bonfire – It can take up to one month for an application for a firework display outside of the bonfire night and New Year periods. This must be submitted to the fire and rescue service

What about Insurance?
Whether you are hiring your land to a third party or organising the event yourself, you’ll need to investigate what insurance is required. Speak to an insurance broker who can help you with identifying the necessary cover for your event.

Public liability insurance
Organisers can be held legally liable for costs or damages relating to any injury or incident occurring during the event period, so it is strongly advised you take out a public liability insurance policy. In the event of any injury or damage to property you must write down full details of the incident and you should report to your insurers without delay.

Events which involve activities such as bouncy castles, fireworks or sporting events pose a higher risk than a local food festival, fête or car boot sale.

If you are hiring in external suppliers you should check that they have their own public liability insurance and they comply with the policy terms and conditions. Ask for a copy of their policy.

As the landowner, consider whether you include a clause in your hire contract requiring for public liability insurance to be held by anyone wishing to hold an event on your property.

Employer’s liability insurance
If you are recruiting anyone to help you with your event you will need employer’s liability insurance.

People running in race
Pic: Shutterstock

Further thoughts
Further questions you should ask yourself in defining your Event Plan include:

  • Fire – Do you have effective control measures in place and adequate provision for warning and assisting escape?
  • Public order and traffic management – How will you manage traffic, are cones or crowd control barriers required, are the entrances and exits on your site fit for purpose, controlled and signed and do they cater for disabled people?
  • How will you manage lost children and lost property?
  • Roads and public transport – Are any local roads affected, do you need to close or put signs on a road, does the event impact on a bus route?
  • Health, safety and first aid – What are your first aid facilities and emergency procedures? Are you in agreement with the relevant services, such as – Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance Service? Consider the first aid provisions available to you, such as the Red Cross, St John Ambulance or for smaller events first aid training.
  • Manpower – Do you need external suppliers or to recruit volunteers to fulfil the various services and tasks required for your event?
  • Site amenities – Do you need a water supply, how many toilets, are rubbish bins required?
  • Water safety – Is the event in or near water such as a lake or river? Events near to or involving water are considered higher risk than those on dry land.

Where can I get help?
For further help and advice we’ve put together a number of resources, along with some simple checklists to help you navigate your way around land rental, risk assessments and event planning.

Katie Tann is the co-founder of Field Lover, a UK-based platform assisting landowners to advertise and rent their land to field seekers looking for short to medium-term land rental for a variety of activities. Katie is an outdoor enthusiast with a keen interest in the sharing economy market.

The idea for Field Lover was born from a love of the outdoors and the challenges both she and co-founder Adrian Griffith had encountered in finding outdoor space for a variety of uses. Demand for land rental is high with the Field Lover community expanding on a daily basis.

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