CIAFF – From the Beginning to Now…

There are weddings, parties, company BBQs and corporate events, but here's where we show you one of the places it all started...

Long, long ago, in a field (not so) far away this little beauty was born...

This award winning festival is something a number of our team have been involved with over the years, and one we're enormously proud to have been a part of from the beginning. It started as a group of old friends having a party in a field, and has grown into one of the most highly recommended family-friendly festivals around. Borne of the 90s rave scene, it provides a safe environment for absolutely anyone to stomp, dance, and play to their heart's content.

"I'm proud to say I've been coming to Chilled since the very first one. I've had the pleasure of watching the festival grow alongside my daughters. My wife and I liked the first site it was held on so much we got married there!"

Having the one supplier right from the start has enabled both Terrapin and CIAFF to grow symbiotically - the cultures underpinning each organisation enabled us to build a specific thumbprint which you can feel as soon as you step into the field through both the colours and the theme. It doesn't hurt that we're all mates as well...


So what did people say at the start? Luckily for you, Festival Kidz have reviewed CIAFF every year since its inception so it was easy to find out what people thought:


"I honestly don’t know a better festival to take kids.  All the adults looked out for the children regardless of who they belong to and treated them with respect as individuals rather than ignoring them.  I felt totally comfortable letting her roam around the site and it was great seeing a load of parents dancing with their kids 🙂" - Stuart with 4 year old Skye, 2011

"Teeny tiny and organised with passion. Great quality music and incredibly chilled friendly atmosphere. Fantastic place to have a relaxing time – definitely no trudging about here!"

- 2013 Festival Kidz Silver Award Winner!


But that's what everyone wants to hear. The truth about our relationship with CIAFF is that we've learnt a lot. It's where we cut our teeth as a hire and production company and we're supremely grateful to the organisers both past and present for the opportunity. What actually happened? read on....

Covered, our stage company, started here. CIAFF was the avatar (clever marketing-speak for the perfect customer) for the idea that birthed CoveRed. We realised that there were a lot of smaller events out there that wanted an outdoor stage which was a bit different but didn't necessarily want to (or have the budget to) create something bespoke. The solution is similar to the one we provide by using bigtops - brightly coloured and unique outdoor stages. We started with a bespoke and experimental trailer stage which looked like this:



Fun huh? It was an interesting build, a great idea and fun result but we felt something a bit slicker was needed so we put out the word and a bunch of fantastic people (largely connected to CIAFF) helped us fund The Red.



Which subsequently ended up going to Glastonbury festival, a bunch of other events the next year and is the flagship structure of that part of the group until this day. Until we get a bigger one. But let's see what happens there....

The other really important thing about our relationship with CIAFF is the start of us doing what we do best, and that's being involved in the entire event from conception to delivery. As an events group rather than a tent company, CIAFF as a new festival were able to draw on our experience of 15 years working in outdoor events to translate their vision into an evolving reality.

When we sat down and thought about what our purpose is as a company, it was them we thought about most. What did we offer? What did we bring to the table? How do we get to serve more people in the same way? We thought about CIAFF as it was (and is) the event that solidified that purpose for us. The place we felt most able to shine and provide the kind of service that we want to, in line with our personal and company values.

What this all means really, is that they're the client we decided to model when looking for other clients to work with whether they're a festival, a corporate client or a wedding. What ties all of those groups together is that they're all about a community coming together to celebrate something and that's the bit that's most important to us - why you're throwing the party that you're throwing and finding out exactly what we can add to the process to make it easier, more professional, safer or just slicker. It became clear to us that we didn't just want to provide infrastructure, but we actually love doing events. So let's do them!

If you have specific questions about the sort of products and services we provide at CIAFF and other festivals, or to discuss how we can help you with your festival, just give us a shout

See you all down in Sussex this Summer!

Arif and Elise

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