Planning for inclement weather!
Often the last consideration for event planners is making provision for the children’s entertainer. The priority is sorting out the main arena, car parking, catering, toilets etc. Children’s entertainment is included in the budget but little thought is given to the practicalities necessary for the performers / entertainers to do their job effectively in outdoor conditions.
What happens if it rains?
If it rains and the performance space it outside in the open then in most cases the show would have to be cancelled. Expensive props and equipment would quickly be ruined, costumes soaked and people and equipment become soggy and wet. Electrical equipment could not be used in wet conditions and the audience would not want to sit on wet ground. Wind also presents a problem as props and equipment tend to blow away. Trying to perform a children’s magic show outside in windy conditions is a night mare.
For anyone in the event business in the UK the wet weather plan should be high on the list of planning considerations. Unfortunately when it comes to children’s entertainment it is often ignored or the organizers decide to “take a chance” and hope the weather will be okay on the day. Hiring in yet another tent costs money and children’s entertainment is usually a low priority therefore either no provision is made or someone manages to scrounge an old army tent, camping tent or a garden gazebo hoping that this will do at a push. Whilst it is true that something is better than nothing this is far from ideal as there is usually not enough space and these things tent to blow away in anything more than a light breeze unless extremely well fastened down.
If the show is cancelled the performer is still entitled to payment in full. It is therefore better to avoid suffering unnecessary financial loss and disappointing the children. It is better to be properly prepared.
What type of tent is required?
The Children’s Entertainment tent should be:
Large enough to accommodate the performers and the audience and have some extra storage space behind the performance area.
- It should have a strong frame which will withstand high winds.
- It should be anchored down with proper guy ropes.
- It should have two side walls and a rear wall with the option to remove them in hot weather.
- The front should be open or have a doorway to allow the audience to enter and leave easily.
- There should be a safe power supply to enable a pa system to be used.
- The tent or marquee should be “clear span” ie have no poles in the middle holding up the roof as this is an obstruction to performance and view.
- There should be a parking space for the performers vehicle(s) at the rear of the tent and the vehicle should be allowed to remain on site as this provides secure storage for valuable props and personal effects.
What size should the tent or marquee be?
The size of the tent required depends on what shows or activities are to be performed and the number of children and adults expected to attend.
A marquee ten metres wide and eight metres deep ( 10m x 8m ) would be more than adequate for most small to medium size events where large numbers were anticipated.
What if the budget won’t stretch to hiring another marquee?
If it is not possible to provide an additional tent then consider creating a performance space in another marquee if necessary. This might mean that the original entertainment has to be modified or changed to suit the space available but that would probably be better than nothing.