I was invited to a meeting recently to talk about providing children’s entertainment at a corporate family fun day.
The organiser showed me the proposed site plan and gave me a run down on what other entertainment and attractions were being planned. There were all the usual things that you would expect. Bouncy castles, kiddies rides, fairground stalls, ice cream van, burger van, first aid tent,inflatables and games for teenagers and adults and various other things plus my Punch and Judy Show.
The event covered quite a large area and the team had decided to make the most of the available space. This is perfectly reasonable. They had made a list of all the various suppliers and then dotted them all round the site.
Sometimes there are good reasons for having the event entertaiment and attractions spread out and if this is the case then all is well. On the other hand it can be a case of trying to use all of the space just because it’s there. I have seen this approach many times and the result is never good.
When planning a family fun day it’s always better to keep the entertainment close together. If you have a massive field then consider marking out one part of it for your event and just leave the rest. Don’t try and fill it. Similarly if you are organising a company open day with tours round the factory, don’t dot your entertainment all round the premises. Keep it in one place so that people can go on the tours and then come back to it afterwards.
Here’s why it’s a good idea to keep things close together :
- Control – When everything is spread out and the public are everywhere and your suppliers and staff are everywhere too, it’s difficult to coordinate and control the event. Unless you are using radios ( an important consideration for larger events ) then passing information, sorting out problems, finding individuals etc is going to involve a lot of leg work.
- Health and Safety – It’s much easier to walk round and keep an eye on things when you haven’t got too far to go.
- Atmosphere – If you want a really good atmosphere then keep it tight. Having lots of people having fun in one area creates a buzz. It’s probably better to have less attractions grouped together in a small area than lots of things miles apart.
- Music and PA – Music also creates atmosphere. In a compact area you can easily provide music without having to hire in an expensive powerful pa system. Also you can make regular announcements which everyone will hear. It’s difficult to let people know what’s going on if they are in the far corner of the field or playing beat the goalie at the back of a warehouse 500 metres away.
Every event is different. There are no hard and fast rules. I have organised corporate entertainment packages for company family fun days many times and I am quite experienced in event planning. I have also worked as an entertainer many times at events where I have been positioned in a remote location and the event has not been as good as it could have been if the organisers had brought everything closer in.
The photo above was of a corporate family fun day for which I drew up the site plan and organised and ran all of the entertainment. I had a staff of sixty which included a team of entertainers and all of the fairground men and supervisors for the inflatables and side shows. The anticipated attendance was up to 3,500 people. It was a large site and we did have to bring in a pa system and use radios for communication. In this case we had so much to fit in that we had no choice but to spread out.
If you are planning an event for the first time and have a question please ask me. If you have organised events yourself and would like to contribute any ideas please use the comment section below. Many thanks, Ron