Sometimes someone simply has an amazing reason to throw a festival, and when they do more often than not, the easiest solution is to hire in production services to manage the whole thing for them. But….
- How do you make sure that partnership is going to work out?
- What are the key ingredients to being able to work with each other?
- How do you know that the skill set, qualities and values are going to be alligned enough, so that when everything kicks off, the pressure is on and a show needs to happen, everyone is going to dig deep, roll their sleeves up and make it amazing?
The solution is dazzlingly simple. The most important factor for us working with someone (whether they’re a client, a customer or crew) is that we have a cultural fit. This idea has been thrown around a lot more in the company recently (especially since Arif saw Simon Sinek’s TED talk) but it’s been the driving force for Terrapin Events since the very beginning.
And that ‘why’ is to step outside of the status quo, to bring exemplary customer service, to make sure that an event organiser knows and understands their own ‘why’ so that we can best help them achieve it, and to put interesting structures in places you wouldn’t expect to find them. Whether it’s a festival, a wedding, a product launch or a private party in your back garden, the same set of values drives our decisions and our ‘why’
Helping Events to Find and Keep their Soul.
Once you have that, good things happen. For example, Gary Linekar in The Regal big top is certainly not a place I ever thought he’d be. Tick!
I met the charismatic Directors from Byline Festival back in 2016 during the first ever show of Dance, Laugh, Discuss and Change the World that was BylineFest and that’s exactly what happened. I chuckled away to Hardeep Singh Kohli, Danced my socks off to a late night metal trio, discussed the limitations of regulating the media and Discordianism and frankly knew that my life in events would never be the same.
See, I’d worked on the production team at Chilled in a Field Festival for a number of years as part of a festival family, and that’s what I’d come to expect. A group of people broughttogether by a very specific set of ideals about what they want their event to be. Having worked at places like Glastonbury and Boomtown (wonderful as they are) and seen behind the scenes at events like We Are Fstvl and Carfest, I’d come to understand that there are two sides to a show – mass participation and concerts in a park, or community, family celebrations.
Then here was BylineFest showing me that you can (and ultimately should) have both. What I’m saying is that the place has a soul, it has a purpose and it sets out to achieve something. To genuinely make you dance, laugh, discuss and change your world.
Turns out that the Directors felt the same way about us. They recognised that we’re not in the events industry to buy in to the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am aspects of which famous person you can get in your tent that season (did I mention, John Cleese?!) 😉 and so we were able to achieve something which is difficult to find but marvellous when you do – a cultural alignment. There are a set of values which underpins Byline Festival – driven by exposing and sharing truth, through independent media, entertainment and education. That’s why so many tabloid newspapers hate it and why so many sensible politicians, comedians and journalists love it.
It’s been described as East Sussex’s answer to Hay Festival and that’s understandable with the amount of discussion panels, independent documentaries, workshops and cabaret evening entertainment. But one major difference is the music. When the content mastermind is a Punk Rocker you know that the bands are going to be excellent.
Production Management at a festival can be a stressful business and when you’re as focussed on providing excellent content like the team at Byline are, then you need to trust that you have professional people helping you to hold the reigns, and more to the point that they share in the vision you’re trying to create.
Little things like having the right security team to set the tone of friendly and approachable caretakers who will have a laugh with you whilst they’re patrolling site; reputable suppliers who are going to turn up on time with kit that works; and a crew kitchen who will go above and beyond to make sure that everyone is well-fed with a variety of options. Anyone can find tents (none as beautiful and well-maintained as ours, for sure), bars, staff, first aiders, AV kit and write an Event Management Plan but what matters is how people feel when they’re in that field.
That’s what keeps them coming back year after year.
Sometimes it’s difficult to wander round site in my not-so-hi-vis focussing on work, because the content value is so high that I just want to stop and listen or engage. But what I appreciate even more is that every stage has a roof for people to sit, relax and enjoy (without the threat of the weather) and that there is an understanding about what a big top brings to a field. Standing at the top of the hill by the main entrance and looking across at our collection of big tops welcoming guests as they enter, reinforced for me why we do the structures that we do. It says;
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to have fun. Leave all of the rest of the world out there in the car park because now that you are in here with us, and all of this colour you are going to enjoy yourself. Welcome.”
For more information about how we help festivals, events and weddings put on a professional and organised show, fill out the form below, email us or call 03302234104.