The art of curating bespoke events

At Freemans Event Partners, we have a rich history of working with venue partners, delivering services year on year to clients such as Silverstone, Twickenham, Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm and Cheltenham Racecourse. We understand the opportunities and challenges that each venue presents and can evolve our services to reflect their needs.

We also work with clients on one-off basis or on a series of events across different locations. So, for example, delivering food and beverage services for the Ryder cup at Gleneagles and in Paris, supporting the Rugby World Cup across multiple venues in 2015, supporting the 2012 London Olympics across the city and, more recently, designing and delivering a cauldron of edible delights at Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in Cheshire.

The planning and delivery of these one-off, bespoke events looks very different to the work we do with our long-term venue partners. We are often managing food and beverage (usually bespoke), bars, payment technology solutions, logistics for the food supply chain, onsite communications, marketing, and brand activation. There is no dry run. With a one-off event, it needs to be right first time. And the key to this is in the planning…

Audience

This is where we start. Who is the audience for the event? What is the demographic and what are their needs?

We need to think about:

  • volume of visitors throughout the event
  • country of origin – visitors to an event may not be local or even from the same country as the host venue
  • age
  • traditions around food and drink e.g. soft drinks served in 330ml or 250ml cans differ between the UK and Europe
  • culture and related dietary requirements – will alcohol be served?

Local environment

 Consider the environment in which you are operating, in the UK or overseas. Which languages are spoken? Will you need an interpreter to operate effectively? Will you need to communicate to your visitors/staff in more than one language? This will apply to signage, menus, any audio or video communications on site.

Consider currency and payment solutions. How will card acceptance be communicated to visitors and facilitated through technology across the site?

Climate can play a huge part. This has an impact on the choice of food and drink that visitors   will want and also how product is stored. The way that food is served also needs to reflect the environment – so indoor seating or heated outdoor space for colder environments and plenty of shaded areas in the summer.

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Infrastructure

Understand and experience the infrastructure you have at your disposal. You may be working in a permanent venue or a purpose built set up.

A good understanding of transport links is essential and extends beyond the routes your visitors will take to get to the event. Consider your staff, travel, logistics for equipment and food supply.

Visit the location, time and again if needed, to see for yourself, to test your ideas and to build the best working relationship with your client.

Event dynamics

Each event will have its own dynamics. What I mean by this is different attractions which will draw a crowd at different times.  Take the example of a sports event – let’s say golf. The biggest name players in the later rounds of a competition will draw a larger crowd than the lesser-known names in the earlier rounds.  In this instance, the crowds will follow the action.  The same applies to a headline act at a festival. Other events may hit peak visitors around mealtimes or to coincide with local transport arrivals. You may also have film crews and media to accommodate.

Whatever the dynamic, we need to anticipate and understand it. And design our services to meet these needs.

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Compliance

Curating a one-off event requires a solid understanding of the local requirements – legal and otherwise. You may be required to – or choose to – use local staff and local suppliers. You need to be aware of legislation governing the welfare and working hours of staff, which could differ from the UK.   The same applies to health and safety. The local requirements of the event may differ from your home country.

The approach to sustainability is also likely to differ across each location as will access to recycling services, supplies of non-plastic packaging etc.

Curating a one-off, bespoke event often means starting from scratch with a greenfield site. It requires considerable knowledge of event planning and management which extends from how services are laid out across a site to understanding the needs of diverse groups of visitors and staff.  With one opportunity to get it right, there is no room for compromise.

If you would like support with your event, please contact Jason Mumby Jason.Mumby@freemanseventpartners.co.uk

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