Tag Archives: Event planning

Children’s Entertainer Tent | What Type, What Size?

Planning for inclement weather!

Children's Tent

Children’s Entertainment Tent 10m x 8m.

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:

  • High Peak Frame Tent

    Okay for smaller events and to keep the sun off but needs sides fitted in windy, wet conditions.

    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.

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Punch And Judy And Why Size Matters!

Mr Punch and Me

Image by ronwooduk via Flickr

Thinking about hiring a Punch and Judy Show for a corporate family fun day, festival, gala, fete, store promotion or birthday party? If so then size matters. Read more to find out why:

The booth or puppet theatre used by the performer can vary in size considerably as can the height of the play board ( the puppet stage ). Choosing the right one can be significant for several reasons. It can affect how many people can see the show, it can affect their enjoyment and overall impression of the event, it might not be suitable for the space available.

If you are organising a big company event with plenty of space then you should hire a show with a large size puppet theatre. This will stand out more and won’t look lost amongst everything else. It will also be more impressive which will contribute to the overall flavour of the event. A small booth is likely look a little insignificant. I know this sounds awful but it could also look like you have been penny pinching ( appologies for saying that ).

If you are expecting large crowds then you should hire someone who has a large booth in which the play board ( puppet stage ) is high up. Many Punch and Judy booths have the play board at chest height. This is not so good for outdoor events as those at the back of the audience may struggle to see the action. Having the puppets high up is much better for family fun days or public events, shopping centres etc where there might be lots of people.

For a parent hiring a show for a party at home in the house then a small booth is much better. Many modern houses have low ceilings and so height could be a problem. Also if the puppets are high up the children may not be able to see them because they will be sitting too close.

Finally Punch and Judy Shows are sometimes hired for store promotions. In this case it is likely that floor space could be the determining factor. Having a larger puppet theatre would certainly be more eye catching and attractive but it may be that it would be too big for the area allocated. Careful consideration should be given to this before making a booking.

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Family Fun Day Entertainment Tips | Site Layout

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.

Site layout at a corporate event

Corporate Event

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

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How To Get Even More People To Attend Your Event!

Punch and Judy at the seaside

Image by ronwooduk via Flickr

Although it’s not something I really have to worry about, the subject of numbers is always going through my mind. I have been in the event business for a very long time and have been involved in one way or another in literally hundreds and hundreds of events over the years. These days I don’t organise big events any more I just perform at them. However, I do appreciate how important it is for those in charge to get as many people to come along as possible. If nobody comes then its not been a very good event and nobody wants that. I am therefore writing once again about ways to get more people to attend your event.

In this article I’d like to put forward the idea of “asset management”. By assets I’m referring to anything you are going to be bringing in specifically for the event. All events have a budget of some kind. Some are quite healthy and others meagre. Decisions will have to be made about how to spend the money. What are the essentials that are going to have to be paid for and what can be borrowed, donated or done without.

Too often organisers do not make the most of their assets. Posters will go up, the local press will be informed and someone might contact the radio. Fliers are dished out all over the place. A lot of effort is going into putting the word out and promoting the event but often there is not much detail. It’s just another Fun Day, Fair or Gala etc. Why not tell people more about what is going to be happening.

Perhaps your local butcher who happens to make the best pork pies in the world is coming to your show. I would mind betting there are a lot of pork pie lovers who would just love to come and sample his delights.

You might have a Fun Fair coming with the very latest motion simulator or the highest inflatable slide in the world. This could be a great crowd puller  but if your poster or advertising just says ” Fun Fair ” it doesn’t mean too much.

You might be hiring in a children’s entertainer. It could even be me ( I hope so ). Don’t just put Punch and Judy or clown or children’s entertainer on the advertising. Give more information about who is coming and what they will be doing. Make it interesting. Tap into the popularity of your entertainer, use them to help increase your gate.

In summary I do feel that event organisers are missing a trick by not making the most of their suppliers. If there is a story to tell or they are well known or they have something special on offer then do make the most of it. Let people know and I’m sure it will help to increase attendance.

I hope this gives food for thought. Post any remarks or questions in the comments box below and please do feel free to advertise your event on our site using the ADD NEWS tab above. Good luck!

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How To Get More People To Attend Your Event

Making it obvious that an event is occurring a...

Image via Wikipedia

Knowing how many people are likely to attend is always a problem for event organisers. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to the problem. I have been involved in entertainment and event planning for such a long time that I have given up trying to predict what will happen on the day.

Selling tickets in advance is a good idea. At least you are getting some revenue in and you have a rough idea of numbers from ticket sales.

Having a well know celebrity to be in attendance also works well. Unfortunately this can be expensive unless they happen to be a local person who is willing to help their community.

Prize draws can be an incentive especialy if you are able to get some really good prizes donated. Obviously the bigger the better. It’s important to make sure everyone knows well in advance that there is a chance to win something special but make sure the BIG prize is only on offer to folks who are actually at the event. You have to be there to have a chance to win the STAR PRIZE.

Involve the local newspapers and radio. They are always interested in what’s going on. Try and think of something unusual that you could make a good story. There will be lots of other people feeding information into the news room so try and give them something that stands out from the rest.

If you are looking to attract families then consider involving the local schools. Approach Head teachers and ask if you could run a competition with prizes for the best picture, model or story. The school will probably be happy to link in with you on this because it is an incentive for the children to be creative. Have the judging and prize giving on the day as this will encourage families to turn up.

Set up a Facebook page for your event. It’s easy to do and then ask everyone involved to ” like” and “share” the page. Make regular posts to tell people what’s going on.

Finally make the most of any FREE advertising you can find. The more advertising you can do the better.

Have you found any really good ways of attracting people to events? Share your ideas here.

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