Space race: How disruptive spaces put events one step ahead

Tracy Rusbridge, regional business development executive at The Jockey Club, on looking beyond conventional event spaces. 

The demand for non-conventional, bigger and better event spaces just keeps growing. Purpose-built venues have traditionally been an attractive option for businesses to entice increasing numbers of exhibitors and visitors. The benefits are simple; the buildings were designed to host events, and so all the facilities required for a successful show will be included.

But the sector is seeing a move towards more unique venues, in a bid for shows to stand out in a crowded market.

With competition rife, conferences and exhibition organisers need to work harder than ever before to not only impress attendees but also convince repeat business and further investment. This pressure to outperform is what has ushered event organisers to consider multipurpose, flexible venues.

Whether based in a football stadium or racecourse, by supplying an idyllic backdrop to an event, imagery and film will naturally attract shares on social media, helping to extend the reach of the show further than those that attended. This kind of engagement provides organic marketing as visitors spread-the-word, providing authentic endorsements for the event space and encouraging more people to sign up for next year.

Indeed, in September 2017 Sandown Park Racecourse hosted the launch of Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout). The choice of venue, which is first and foremost a racecourse, provided flexible exhibition space, both indoors and out.

Another example of utilising a space designed for an alternative purpose is Sandown Park’s Business Adventures, which packages activities such as ‘Sky walking’, dry ski sloping, golf, footgolf and go-karting together to capitalise on corporate team building opportunities.

As the events industry becomes more crowded these alternative event spaces allow organisers to instantly stand out and provide visitors with a unique experience.

And by impressing both potential exhibitors and visitors from the get-go with the choice of venue, event organisers are giving themselves a head start against the competition.


Festival suppliers shine at Festout

The inaugural Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout) drew to a close on Thursday 29 September joining the established array of Mash Media offerings that are dedicated to enhancing and supporting the events industry.

“We launched the exhibition on the back of many successful years with Event Production Show to give our audiences a show at the end of the season, complimenting EPS at the start,” Duncan Siegle, Festout event director, commented. “The indoor and outdoor space at Sandown Park allowed our exhibitors to really show off and there were some tremendous structures on site for our visitors to enjoy,” he added.

Taking place at Sandown Park in Surrey, attendees to the two-day show enjoyed the fabulous surroundings and glorious September sunshine.

The quality of visitors that attended was extremely high for a launch show, with event organisers from high profile festivals, events, and brands travelling from around the UK to attend.

Those that attended gained industry insights from two stages of content, within which experts considered topics covering necessary practicalities of organising events, as well as innovations to inspire organisers to excel within the outdoor events industry of the future.

Festout welcome
Marino Fresch – Louise Young – David Tunniclife – Gill Tee – Alistair Turner
Nick Morgan- Paul Reed -Craig Mathie – Paul Rooney – Eniz Menendez
Phoebe Roberts – Paul Andrews – Yasmin Galletti – Scott Hope
Conversations – 4
Titan robot
Nick Morgan – Rob Star – Matthew Phipps – Paul Cowell
Nick Morgan – Ella McWilliam – Kate Osler – Julian Agostini
Festout outdoor space
Exhibitor dino
Conversations -2
Conversations -3
Visitors at Festout

Over 100 exhibitors offered a range of products and services, all focussed on producing superior event creation. Visitors to Festout were able to secure cost-effective solutions, and unique offerings; the impact of these business opportunities will positively affect a far-reaching network of event organisers, and their event specific audiences.

Exhibitor feedback has been immensely positive, corroborated by a 70% onsite rebook rate. TCM Trailers were particularly impressed with their experience at Festout; their first booking achieved directly off the show was secured at 09:05am the morning after event close.

Business opportunity

The consensus from exhibitors is that those that attended were directly relevant to their businesses, enabling genuine connections to be formed.

“We didn’t know exactly what to expect in year one but were delighted with the feedback from exhibitors on the quality of people they met and detailed conversations they had,” Siegle explained. “Our exhibitors have already signed new business contracts on the back of the exhibition, as well as with Festout for 2018 and this gives us all the opportunity to enjoy the second edition in September next year.”

Siegle continued: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many exhibitors, sponsors and partners who invested their time and money to support the launch of this exciting new exhibition, in particular Nick Morgan from We are The Fair, the team at GL events UK, NOEA, The Ticket Factory, the many other speakers and contributors and, of course, our venue for the launch and for 2018 – Sandown Park and The Jockey Club.”

Festout will return next year. Expect expansion, continued quality, renewed inspirations, and yet another must-attend show.

Battle of the brands

“It’s all about the experience.” The quote relates to the ultimate goal in the events industry but now it has become a buzzword in brand marketing. Slowly but surely brands are making events of their own in a move to gain consumers’ attention.

From a product launch to a networking evening, marketing teams are challenged by the expectation of the public beyond the traditional entertainment, food and drinks. No wonder the ever-increasing trend in co-branding, aka brand partnership: when two companies form an alliance to work together, creating marketing synergy.

The agreement between Starbucks and Spotify is a example of successful brand partnership. Both companies have taken the concept coffee-shop-with-music venue to another level. The agreement sees Starbucks employees get a premium Spotify subscription that they can use to curate music to playlists featured on Spotify and users earn My Starbucks Reward points through the music app. The move follows on from the announcement that Starbucks will no longer sell CDs, so the partnership with Spotify makes a perfect match.

Brand partnership is also considered to include sponsorships. Think Red Bull an Go Pro. These companies teamed up in 2012 for the event “Stratos” featuring Australian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumping from a helium balloon 24 miles above the earth. During the jump, Baumgartner broke three world records, shattered the sound barrier. He used a Go Pro camera to capture everything. The event was wildly popular and a successful project for both companies.

Event and brand partnership

How can a company help its event stand out? What brand will make the event more attractive to its target audience? In light of these questions and many others, brand experience has emerged as a compelling way to reach these goals.

The Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout (27-28 September, Sandown Park) will bring the topic to a panel discussion to be held at The Main Stage powered by The Fair, sponsored by The Ticket Factory.

The speaker line-up includes Nick Morgan, founder and CEO of The Fair, Magda Lojszczyk, head of film and music partnerships at EE, and May Kirby, events marketing manager at Sipsmith in London.

Register to attend and find out more about brand partnerships and its positive impact in the events industry.

Drones: an eagle eye on your event

Drones are making waves in the events industry championed by photographers and video-makers alike. Beyond the gimmick drones are trending in this sector thanks to its capacity to provide a unique perspective to show off an event. Organisers can now have access on demand to eagle-eye footage of the sport, conference, corporate function or festival.

As well as being eye-catching, the aerial footage enables the event management team to make informed decisions based on real time images. Actions can be taken to prevent problems or to resolve them quickly.

Integrating drone services into outdoor events is part of the content-packed programme at the Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout (27-28 September, Sandown Park).

Keynote speaker in this session is Solomon N’Jie, a drone pilot with permission for commercial operations (CAA). He is a crowd safety management professional who also provides expert witness services to the legal profession.

The session cover the following topics:

  • Introduction of drones at large public outdoor events
  • Integrating specific drone processes into the pre-planning
  • Approval and management stages
  • The need to adjust traditional models of practice while mitigating the risks of breaching CAA rules and accidents during operation.

Examples of drone video footage from recent events will be presented to illustrate the benefits.

Register to attend and get first-hand experience about drones in the events industry.

Where is the events industry champion?

The events industry extensively contributes to the UK economy with a yearly revenue stream of £46 billion. Can the sector do better?

Prospects for the business of events are not too different from any other economic sector and yet our industry isn’t being championed in government. Whose role is it, or does the industry need to champion itself?

Leaders in this sector will be gathering at the upcoming Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout. (27-28 September, Sandown Park) to try answer these questions in a conference session. Speakers include AEO chief Chris Skeith, Alan Miller of The Night Time Industries, Michael Hirst, chairman Business Visits, The Fair CEO Nick Morgan and Slippy Media director Mike Fletcher.

The conference is hosted on Thursday 28 September at the Main Stage powered by The Fair, sponsored by The Ticket Factory.

The speakers

Chris Skeith holds a seat on the Government’s Events’ Industry Board, is a board member of UFI and chair of theirAssociations Committee. He is also vice chair & treasurer of Business Visits & Events’ Partnership (BVEP), a partnership of all leading associations in the event industry, representing the sector to government and regulators.

Alan Miller is chairman of The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), a trade body that represents bars, clubs, festivals, restaurants, hotels and others from one of Britain’s most successful sectors.

Michael Hirst is chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership which represents the leading trade and professional organisations government agencies and other significant influencers in the UK’s conference, meetings, exhibition, outdoor events, incentive travel, corporate hospitality, festivals, cultural, business, leisure and sporting events sectors.

Founder and CEO of The Fair, Nick Morgan has been involved in the event industry for over 20 years and has particular experience in producing independent festivals, large scale shows and health and safety management for events. He oversees The Fair’s Event Production and Event Safety and Licensing divisions.

Mike Fletcher has a lifetime of experience reporting on the business of live events and working with industry clients on their content solutions. He runs Slippy Media, a content agency catering for a wide-range of client requirements, including event photography, event 4K HD video, long-form, reports, social, blogs and ghost-written material.

Do you think the industry needs a champion in government? Who do you think could take up on this role? Register to attend to have your say.

Festout takes your event to the next level

The amount of thought, planning, strategic and creative thinking that goes into the making of an event doesn’t come for free. The task for event organisers is to make the effort not only cost-efficient but also profitable.

The festivals and outdoor event industry is one of a kind. Whilst summer brings a plethora of festivals from music to food, the winter season offers a variety of live events. Yet all have the same target of delivering an experience to remember.

How far are organisers willing to go to get a competitive edge and stand out from the crowd? How can organisers make sure they get what it’s needed for the “wow factor”. On top of that, how event planners can achieve profitable results?

The Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout (27-28 September, Sandown Park), is one-of–a–kind opportunity for businesses to find everything they need under one roof: Over 100 new products and services for the events industry will be showcased.

Attending Festout will, without doubt, give organisers an exclusive opportunity to meet the highest-quality suppliers and products in this sector that will deliver the essential wow factor at corporate events and exhibitions.

Key partners of the show, the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) and GL Events UK are hosting a content-packed programme at The Futures Stage.

NOEA’s Futures Supporters initiative and its commercialisation project will be largely covered at Festout. Its tagline “How to Make More Money Out of Events” embodies the aim to create bigger profits, but also prompts a discussion on how commercially savvy the industry is and how it can improve in these areas.

This two-day event is your golden opportunity to meet and greet with key suppliers. Register to attend Festout and make the best of it. Register now.

Safety Review: how was it for you?

Let’s face it, festival and outdoor event organisers work very much like architects. Pick a plot of land, build a small village or town, shepherd in a few thousand or more people, lay on a splendid array of entertainment, send everyone home and break down. Safely.

With a plethora of regulations, from CDM to LOLER and all manner of guidance, there are still lingering doubts and questions, especially when it comes to responsibilities and duties.

Good news: Gavin Bull, HM inspector of Health and Safety, is taking part in a Q&A session to be held on Thursday 28 September, at Festival and Outdoor Events Show (27-28 September, Sandown Park).

Light on presentation, heavy on Q and A, this session is set to clarify and enlighten visitors in all aspects of health and safety related to live events sector.

Bull has spent the past few years within the sector, overseeing the introduction of CDM into the construction activities. Beyond his duties as inspector, he has provided insight and encouragement that has led to better dialogue and guidance for clients and contractors.

The Safety Review – 2017, how was it for you? is part of a content-packed programme to be held at The Main Stage sponsored by The Ticket Factory. Reserve your place and register now.

Editor’s note: Contact Access’ editorial team if you would like to send your questions in advance or leave it in the comment section below.

Festout 2017: What’s on the stands?

The Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout) is brought to you by the organisers of the Event Production Show and the publisher of Access All Areas. It is a brand new launch event aimed at bringing together suppliers and organisers from the entire outdoor events industry.

The two-day show will take place 27-28 September at Sandown Park, Surrey and will see suppliers, venues and organisers of events across the music, sport, cultural and public spectrums come together to do business.

What’s happening on the stands?

A collection of exhibitors tell Mash TV what they are planning on bringing to the inaugural Festout show.

The director of Luker Rowe, Peter Tilsed, says he’ll win over the crowds with a few sweets and a lot knowledge. Harry Sloan, director and co-founder of Beetle Juice Events Ltd will be showcasing the bar set up at the event with music and cocktails taking centre stage.

Greg Lusk, founder of Liveforce AS, will be talking all things future, with product demos and audience feedback. And event sales manager for Site Equip, Adam Gilbert, announces that it is releasing a brand new product at the event.

Be sure to ‘Meet the exhibitors’ with Mash TV before the launch of the show this September.


Licence to thrive

“Promoters and organisers need to see us as partners,” says Paul Cowell, culture and events manager at Southwark Council. The statement puts in the spotlight the role local authorities play in moving the live events industry forward.

He believes councils aren’t just key-holders but the gateway to most parks and public spaces and the partnership approach will bring benefits to both.

Cowell and his team are behind the Creative Southwark, the borough’s new cultural strategy. Southwark boasts many galleries, theatres, makers and artists and this strategy, launched in July this year, sets out the borough’s vision for 2022.

“We continue to place culture and the creative industries at the heart of our priorities, shaping context and delivering a range of programmes that support our long term ambition for Southwark, as the first choice for people to live, work, study and visit,” he explains.

Business model

Paul Cowell

Paul Cowell, culture and events manager London Borough of Southwark

The Creative Southwark strategy relates to the live events sector as it’s based on three main areas the industry caters for: economy, growth and people.

The first pillar aims to ensure that the council provides the right environment for the creative industries, and the employment in these industries, to thrive.

The growth aspect focuses on supporting existing cultural venues and spaces, and welcoming new ones.

Cowell explains: “This includes offering our parks and open spaces as venues for outdoor events.”

Finally, the plan aims to ensure the council’s work, and the work of its partners, directly benefits the residents of Southwark. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to a high quality cultural opportunities and that this positively impacts on the health and economy of the borough,” says Cowell.

Events are an important part of the strategy. Southwark currently hosts a range of free festivals and events, however its cultural chief says residents would like access to more: “We hope to work with promoters, agencies and event owners to increase the diverse range in the borough.”

As a result, the council has reviewed its outdoor events policy, location conditions and premises licences in its parks and public spaces to offer more scope for a wider range of activity to take place.

“We will strongly advocate for local businesses to deliver key event services, such as catering, staffing, production and talent,” he says.

Licence to events

This approach, Cowell says, adds value and supports event partners to deliver smooth and successful events.

Southwark Park, Peckham Rye Park and Burgess Parks are some of the public spaces in the Council and demand from local residents to expand the events on offer is growing.

“As it stands, we have had very few large-scale events. It means that there is currently no precedent set for large events within the spaces. This of course presents a fantastic chance for a promoter looking to create something remarkable,” Cowell adds.

The council has set up new systems to work proactively with stakeholders and work closely with partners to ensure that the events are successful for promoters, while supporting local access and opportunities.

Everyone in the industry is under pressure to deliver profitable events, however many council commercial teams differ on what they will and will not allow. A trend has been on for some time now as to how can this be brought together under one rule to allow clarity in licence acquisition.

“Licensing regulations were set up with venues in mind, not outdoor spaces,” Cowell comments. “Even though there was an overhaul of the system, there can still be inflexibility and personal interpretation in granting licences in outdoor spaces. It can therefore be problematic at times.”

For Cowell, one of the things local authorities could do is review all the different licensing and permissions processes, including consultation and decision making, and look at what could be merged.

“Bringing these together may speed up the process, improved cooperation, communication and understanding between all the agencies involved,” he explains.

The topic of licensing is a subject Paul Cowell will be addressing to visitors attending the Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout) as part of the session Unification in licence agreements, which takes place on the Main Stage sponsored by The Ticket Factory on 28 September.

Cowell will be joined in the conversation by Mathew Phipps, head of TLT’s England and Wales licensing team and Nick Morgan, The Fair CEO and founder.

Registration to attend Festout 2017 is now open.



Festout 2017: Meet the exhibitors

Mash TV has produced the Festout series, a range of videos to highlight some of the features both exhibitors and visitors can get out of The Festival and Outdoor Events Show.

In this video, exhibitors from Beetle Juice, Liveforce AS, Luker Rowe, Site Equip, and Telenet Global Logistics talk about their companies, products and services.

Two-day event

The inaugural Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout 2017), is a new trade show brought to you by Mash Media, the organiser of the Event Production Show and the publisher of Access All Areas.

The two-day show will take place on 27-28 September at Sandown Park, in Surrey.

Festout 2017 will see suppliers, venues and organisers of events across the music, sport, cultural and public spectrums come together under one roof.

Registration for the Festival and Outdoor Events Show 2017 is now open. Get your complimentary ticket today.