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Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Event or Festival

Organising an outdoor event can take up a lot of time and attention, so it pays to plan ahead.

Obviously the larger the event, the more you’ll have to think about and prepare for. Each event will have its own particular challenges, but here are a few things you need to consider:

1. Time and budget

Have you allocated enough time to properly organise everything? Also, do you have a large enough budget to pay for everything you need?

It’s worth sitting down early on to make sure you have the resources to do everything that needs to be done.

Be sure to include your marketing budget in this and estimate how many tickets you’re likely to sell. It’s better to base your budget on a pessimistic estimate and be pleasantly surprised, rather than expect to sell all your tickets then be out of pocket if you fall short.

2. Legal requirements

Make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses in place well in advance of your event. You may need a permit to hold the event in the first place, and a license to serve alcohol if that’s what you’re planning to do. If you’re expecting large numbers of cars to turn up, you may also need to consider road closures and diversions etc.

3. Manage security and other staff/volunteers

If your event is large you’ll need some sort of security presence. This is not only to prevent people without tickets from getting in, but also to ensure the safety of guests when they’re inside. We advise seeking advice from security professionals to work out how many security staff you’ll need.

You should also review what you need in terms of staff and/or volunteers. Make sure you have enough people to cover all areas of your site at all times.

4. Don’t neglect health and safety

You should conduct a full health and safety review early in your planning process. Don’t be afraid of seeking outside help if this is something you’re not familiar with.

You should consider any and all potential risks and fire hazards. This should also include the provision of adequate first aid facilities at your event. All staff and volunteers should be fully briefed on your emergency procedures, and you should not hesitate to take out any required insurance to protect yourself in case anything goes wrong.

5. Consider crowd flow

It’s a good idea to map out your site and consider how your visitors will move around it and experience it.

Where will they spend most of their time? Where are you going to position food outlets and toilets? Are there any bottlenecks that need to be managed to ensure people can move around freely?

You should pay extra attention to the entrance and how people access your event. Plan ahead to make sure this is as streamlined as possible to avoid long queues and frustrated visitors. Also, consider how you can encourage people to swiftly move away from the entrance to prevent this area getting overcrowded.

Another top tip  is to personally walk the site before your event starts to get a real “boots on the ground” feel for the visitor experience. You may just spot something important you can fix before the doors open.

6. Provide sufficient facilities

Make sure you have enough facilities available for the numbers you are expecting.

This includes enough food and drink stalls, entertainment, places to sit and space to move around. You should also pay attention to how many toilet and hygiene facilities you need. Obviously, we can help with this by providing as many portable toilets, urinals, and hand wash stations as you need.

Don’t forget to consider the needs of people with disabilities - review your site for any access issues that may need to be resolved. We can provide easy access portable toilets designed for disabled users, which also double as baby change stations should you be expecting parents with young children at your event.

If your guests are staying overnight you should also consider adding portable shower units and additional toilets near any campsites.

We are happy to advise on how many toilets and other hygiene facilities you need - we know from experience what is typically required. If you’d like a rough figure at this stage, you can either get in touch, or else use our toilet calculator for a general idea.

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