Event Industry News
Out with the old and in with the new. 2015 is officially underway which means it’s time for our New Year’s resolutions to be put in to practice.
Every New Year we promise ourselves that in the upcoming 365 days, we will achieve something that will make ourselves better as people. Losing weight, becoming fit, learning to control that short temper or even just deciding to work harder. We make these resolutions with good intentions, maybe because we feel like we should, but the majority of the time we find these pledges turning into empty words.
2015 can be different. It’s easy to slacken the healthy eating and fitness regime after a couple of weeks but if you’ve got a challenge to work towards, giving up isn’t an option. With a variety of challenges, races and sports events happening all over the country, all year round, signing up to one of these experiences might just be the motivation needed to keep at our new year’s resolutions, and who knows, you might even end up enjoying it.
The selection of events in the UK is amazing so choosing an event that suits you isn’t hard. A lot of the challenges help raise money for charity which means as well as gaining a rewarding experience yourself, you can also help those in need.
There is no better time to start training, so here’s a list of some of the country’s best 2015 sport challenges.
Claiming to probably be the Toughest Event on the Planet, Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course which not only tests endurance but strength and teamwork too. The event stresses that the idea of Tough Mudder is not your typical competitive race but a challenge which allows you to overcome your fears through camaraderie and good team work. With over 50 events worldwide, a Tough Mudder event is never out of reach, with some UK dates being held in Yorkshire, London, Dublin and Scotland. Official partners with Help For Heroes, the event allows you to raise funds and awareness for charity, as well as claiming that the experience will change your life.
National Three Peaks Challenge
If you’re looking to get yourself out into the great outdoors then the National Three Peaks Challenge is the event for you. Covering Scotland’s Ben Nevis, England’s Scafell Pike and Wales’ Snowdon, the challenge is to hike to the top of each peak within 24 hours. Not only does this event allow you to see the beautiful British countryside but is also physically and mentally challenging, climbing an uphill gradient of 3,407 metres in total.
Great North Run
First staged back in 1981 with only 12,000 people taking part, the Great North Run is now known as the world’s leading half marathon and has previously attracted a number of world-class distance runners such as Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie. The half marathon consists of a 13.1 mile course from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields with 57,000 competitors running in the race in 2014. Last year’s run also took a place in history becoming the first International Association of Athletics Federations event in the world to welcome its millionth finisher. With the ballot now open, the event is the perfect opportunity to achieve something great for yourself and charity.
Claiming to be the UK’s fastest growing sport, the HSBC Triathlon is considered a festival of multisport, perfect for all audiences to promote healthy living to as many people as possible. Originating as a corporate event sponsored of course by HSBC, the triathlon also includes a ‘Scootathlon’ for children aged 4-8 years, who also want to be involved in the fun, making it a suitable challenge for families. Adults and teens can take part in swimming, biking and running events and for advice and training, elite athletes, specialists and coaches will be on hand to present triathlon seminars.
For the mother of all challenges which really is a life time achievement, the London Marathon will be holding its 35th event this April. Annually raising money for charities such as Oxfam and the Antony Nolan Trust, this year money is to be dedicated to Cancer Research UK. Since being established in 1981, the race has risen over £450 million for charity and holds the Guinness World Record as the largest annual fund raising event in the world. Typically 26 miles long, the road race takes runners on a flat course around the River Thames finishing alongside St James’s Park.
Up for a challenge? Training can start today. Let us know which sports challenge you think is the most rewarding.
By Sophie DiMauro
With concern growing about sustainability and environmental impact and most festivals facing financial challenges, there’s one area where you can make a huge difference, and that’s in your event’s power consumption. With power almost always among the five largest production costs for a festival, festivals are in an unique position to make and showcase carbon reduction initiatives and to introduce huge audiences to new, energy efficient technologies.
The main culprit in almost all cases of excessive power consumption is the use of diesel generators at loads of below 25% capacity. If your generator is far too big, it may cost more than you needed to spend, and regularly consume more fuel than you could be using to produce the same amount of power using a smaller generator. You can also shorten the life of your generator by running it at a very low load. Diesel engines should be run at least 60-75% of maximum to avoid damage. Check how much power you use at peak times for each venue (this might require some research from you, but will almost certainly be worth it – many events could save around 40% of their outlay on power by making efficiency changes). Designate a generator appropriate to each load, and consider where generators could be shared. In many cases you can make significant savings by also running a different generator overnight when power consumption is likely to be lower.
Don’t automatically assume you’ll need generators at all. For many events, particularly those on smaller sites in urban centres, the most economical option is often the national grid. Look for a ‘green’ energy tarrif supplying power from renewable sources. Large venues may have their own arrangements – Worthy Farm, for example, now has its own permanent solar energy generator which can replace some generators during the festival and supplies local homes through the rest of the year.If you do need generators, consider switching to a variable load generator, or to cleaner biofuels with suitable generators. Or make the leap to solar or wind generators, which can be more expensive initially but harness free power.
Many smaller ‘green’ stages choose pedal power, which has the added advantage of involving the audience, encouraging them to consider the power being used. For art installations, or to make smoothies or charge mobile phones, it’s more fun if the power is visibly dependent on the pedalling, either mechanically or via a dynamo, but serous systems for stages include batteries for a consistent supply. Other punter-powered options include dancing or walking generators, though these provide interactive fun rather than a viable alternative.
A hybrid system often makes the most sense. A system which stores the power from solar panels, for example, supplemented by a greener generator as necessary, can provide consistent power from batteries, avoiding the wastage of the standard diesel set up.
Not sure where to start? Powerful Thinking has a brilliant online tool to help you assess your current usage and spot areas for improvement. Find it at powerful-thinking.org.uk.
With each new year our thoughts turn to the summer festivals to come. For many in the UK and beyond that will include a visit to the world-beating Glastonbury.
Such is the draw of this iconic event that tickets regularly sell out well before any acts are announced, and all 150,000 for this year’s event on 24 – 28 June were sold in record time. For some, it’s because headliners are not their focus – they’ll have a great weekend whether they ever make it to the Pyramid Stage or not. For others, a ticket purchase is a reasonably safe bet, because we know from experience we can trust the Eavises to put on the best show possible.
This does, however, lead to speculation, and we thought we’d enter into the spirit of excited anticipation with a look at the most likely candidates for that Saturday night headline slot, in order of likelihood according to the latest odds from PaddyPower.
Barely worth a flutter anymore, Dave Grohl’s popular rockers will currently get you odds of just 5 to 4. After Metallica’s 2014 triumph, we know the Glasto crowd is up for rocking out, and the Foos haven’t graced the festival since 1998.
New album Sonic Highways and its fascinating companion TV documentary series have kept them in the public eye, and their planned European tour puts them on the right side of the Atlantic in late June. Furthermore, Grohl told the NME in November “if they need a band, we’re pretty good. They should give us a call. ” In response, Emily Eavis said: “We’d love to have the Foo Fighters back at Glastonbury.” It ‘s probably a done deal by now.
Rumours started at last year’s Glasto 2014 press conference on the Sunday, when Michael Eavis suggested 2015′s three headliners were booked, going on to mention a deal “done on the platform watching Metallica”. He went on to hint the band in question were “not British anymore”.
Separate reports place Eavis next to Peter Mensch, who manages both Metallica and AC/DC, as he watched Metallica. Malcolm and Angus Young were born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia as children. They have announced tour dates in Germany on the 25, and Scotland on 28 June, which would leave them free for either Friday or Saturday…
Brian Johnson and Angus Young playfully told 6music in December they might consider the booking. After saying he thought Glastonbury was “wellies and corporate”, Young went on to admit “If they ask… OK”, before Johnson asked: “How do you spell Glastonbury? I’ll just write that down…”
Florence & The Machine
Set to return this year with a new album, their first since 2011’s Ceremonials, the band who lit up the Other Stage in 2010 have already announced a mini tour of European festivals for the summer, including Belgium’s Rock Werchter, which happens on the same weekend as Glastonbury. Like the Foo Fighters, they’re programmed for the Thursday, leaving them plenty of time to get to Pilton for either Friday or Saturday…
The only confirmations so far are Lionel Richie, who will play the Sunday ‘heritage’ slot, and a daytime appearance by the Dalai Lama. The festival’s website says it plans to make further announcements ‘in the spring’.
Who are you hoping to see this year?
Last year we covered getting a music gig at a festival but as we all know, there’s much more to Pilton’s uber-festival than the superlative range of music. If you’re a talented performer or artist, here are a few current opportunities specific to Glastonbury 2015. Don’t hang about, though!
An annual late-night highlight for those wise enough to wander beyond the Other Stage, this fantastical arena, dominated by a now iconic recycled-military-hardware pyrotechnic spider sculpture, showcases the work of artists, performers and inventors not only through its bills but also in every aspect of its decor, including performance and party spaces, installations and cafes.
Organisers recently put out the call for any performers, artists, technological innovators, vibe generators or general visionary nutters, particularly working with recycled materials or sustainable energy, to make contact with a view to adding fresh creativity to the Arcadia project for Glastonbury and beyond. This year they took their weird, atmospheric after-hours experience to New Zealand’s Rhythm and Vines festival, so who knows where a collaboration could lead?
Anyone interested is invited to submit their mad or beautiful idea for an experimental new show, sculpture or themed space, whether grandiose or small and interactive, in the form of a description, image and practical outline to Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, and by the end of February 2015 at the latest.
Poetry & Words
If your creativity tends more toward words than artworks, perhaps you’ll be more interested to learn that Poetry & Words is also inviting submissions for Glastonbury 2015. Each year the poetry tent welcomes spoken word artists of all varieties including stand-up poets, songsmiths, raconteurs and slammers, and has hosted performances by Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Rosen and John Hegley. Experienced writers and performers who feel they’re ready to perform at the world’s biggest and best greenfield music and arts festival should email the organisers a short biography and up to three performance videos or audio files by 5pm 6 March 2015.
Main music stages
Last but by no means least, if you know you belong on a music stage, don’t miss this year’s opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Stornoway, Scouting For Girls, Treetop Flyers and the Subways by entering the festival’s annual Emerging Talent Competition for a slot on a main stage and a PRS For Music Foundation talent development cash award. As usual, entries will be accepted for just one week, this year strictly between 9am on Monday 19 January and 5pm Monday 26 January 2015.
Entries, via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk, must include links to an original song on SoundCloud and video of you performing live. A 120 act longlist compiled by a panel of 40 top music writers will be whittled down to a shortlist of eight by judges including Michael and Emily Eavis, before live finals in April at Pilton Working Men’s Club. Eight of the acts that entered in 2014 were programmed for the 2014 festival, and it’s a great way to get noticed even if you don’t win.
Good luck, and don’t forget to let us know how you get on.
Photo by- Amadeusz Jasak
Following last year’s successful launch, Independent Venue Week is back even bigger and better for 2015. Supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme, the week long celebration of local venues runs from 26th January – 1st February with programmes at more than 85 venues across the country, including London’s Half Moon Putney and Dublin Castle, Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, Kazimier in Liverpool, the Hull Adelphi and the Leadmill in Sheffield. Expert curators will include BBC Introducing, Xfm, Rough Trade, Domino, Fierce Panda and Club Fandango.
IVW co-founder, Sybil Bell said: “We’re excited to help make January a really great time for music fans to go to their local venue and see some great live music, and hope they continue to support their venues throughout the year.”
Small and independent venues are vital to the health of the UK music scene, providing a platform for young local artists, allowing established acts to mount accessible tours and bringing together fans who are passionate about music, both with gigs and ‘alternative’ club nights.
Helen Sprott, Arts Council England’s Music Director, described independent music venues as “nurturing both audiences and talent”. Independent Venue Week was set up to support them in their culturally significant role, and with five times as many venues participating this year, it seems to have struck a chord throughout the industry.
More and more small to medium sized UK venues are struggling financially with many being forced to close. Factors include an increasing expectation that new music should be free, and a music business that engages with new talent earlier than ever before. Gentrification also contributes – the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town was bought by Youngs for a gastropub and Brighton’s Blind Tiger was closed after local noise complaints.
Other event supporters include PRS for Music, UK Music and The Musicians Union. PRS for Music’s Head of Marketing Paul Sims said: “These venues are the lifeblood of the live music scene and our many members who perform there. Up and down the country night after night, they provide a crucial platform to new and breaking acts to hone their stagecraft and to try out the songs they have written in front of an audience of live music fans.”
Frank Turner, this year’s IVW Ambassador, will headline two special shows, one at Brick Lane’s 93 Feet East, the venue of his first ever gig. Other participating artists include Peace, Seth Lakeman, Andrew Weatherall, Edwyn Collins and Frankie & The Heartstrings.
Check independentvenueweek.com for a full listing of gigs in your community, and watch local press and social media for further announcements, let us know how you get along!
Edited: Laura Thompson
With plummeting temperatures and snow forecast for many parts of the UK, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Sparkling Christmas trees, mistletoe and wine, the heavenly smell of cooking roast turkey and the comatose feeling of not being able to move after hours of eating and drinking. There’s no doubt in saying that Christmas time is a season spent with family and friends, giving to others and being grateful for what we have.
The merry season just wouldn’t be the same without getting wrapped up and heading out to see what Christmas shenanigans our towns and cities have to offer.
If you’re looking for fun this Christmas, Peppermint has brought together a list of the top festivities taking place up and down the country this December which will be certain to get you into the holiday spirit.
Situated in cities all over the country, a Christmas Market is never too far from anyone. Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, London and Edinburgh to name a few, are all hosting their own markets. The locations create a village setting where visitors are able to wander round various Christmas stalls with food, crafts and treats from all over the world.
Victoria Park, London
Claiming to be an alternative and unique festive experience, Winterville promises to offer something for everyone free of charge. As well as a traditional pop-up town located at the heart of the country’s capital, Winterville boasts free gigs, comedy, a roller disco and a kids quarter. The experience can begin with entrance to the town on magical horse drawn carriages, and from there, visitors will be spoilt for choice with a number of local trading and food stalls.
Winter Wood 2014
Tehidy Woods, Cornwall
Created by Cornwall’s highly visual Rogue Theatre, Winter Wood 2014, is a theatrical festive woodland adventure through the trees of the Tehidy Woods. Guests will be lead through the forest on an adventure which includes Christmas stories and traditional tales. Families, children and adults will follow the trail until they reach Old Man Winter’s travelling theatre tent where they will find a variety of Christmas entertainment.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Ice Rink
At the centrepiece of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is the ice rink which surrounds the park’s Victorian bandstand. Lit with the glow of thousands of sparkling Christmas lights and with festive tunes playing, the ice rink is the perfect backdrop to get anyone into the Christmas spirit.
Festival of Light
Running alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations which include ice skating, a Santa train, pantomime characters and much more, this year Longleat will host the largest ever display of giant Chinese lanterns. For something a little alternative this Christmas the Festival of light promises not to leave you disappointed, with hundreds of illuminated features measuring up to 18 metres in height transforming the Wiltshire estate in to a gleaming wonderland.
Is there a winter event that you think we’ve missed out? Let us know the winter events which are on your list this December!
It’s that time of year again, and as usual there’s no better place to be than the capital for festive fun and frolics. One thing guaranteed to induce seasonal cheer is the glittering glitzy Speigeltent – like being inside a xmas tree bauble - so we take a look at the best of what this nomadic jewel, currently adorning Winterville in Hackney’s Victoria Park, has to offer Londoners and visitors over the next few weeks.
The popular Scottish country blues troubadour will be abandoning the Union Chapel this year to grab the opportunity to present his annual London Christmas show in this beautiful mirrored venue. Expect assured, subtle solo renditions of his trademark dark and enticing Delta-style compositions beside haunting reworkings of traditional Scottish folk favourites.
7pm, Monday 22nd December, £14.10. (18+ only)
If you missed musical and theatrical genius Kate Bush at her recent rare, sold out performances, this is probably not going to suffice, but it might cheer you up. The hilarious Lucy Bundy dons the sparkly legwarmers for her affectionate tribute and treats us to her best falsetto. If you’ve not seen this award-winning show yet, now’s your chance. If you have, we’re guessing you’ll want to see it again.
4.30pm, Saturday 13th December, Free
Pardon our Elizabethan. In this improbable fringe arts hit, the eponymous company presents a straight rendition of a Shakespeare play, marred by the one cast member whose turn it is to get ‘shitfaced’ that night. No pretending. While anything could happen, its strange appeal turns out to be the heroic efforts of both the drunk and the rest of the cast to somehow get through the performance.
7.30pm, 15 & 16 December, £10
Cirque Du Cabaret
This London-based burlesque circus (formerly the Tassel Club) will combine stylish acrobatics with comedy and music in a unique ‘kinetic’ cabaret. No two Cirque du Cabaret shows are the same, and for Winterville we’re promised gorgeous tattooed model Yusara Circus, whose act features fire, samurai swords and aerial feats. Fans of La Clique’s saucy cabaret won’t want to miss this.
20.15 pm, Wednesday 17th December, £17.50
Free dance parties
If you just fancy hitting the dancefloor for a few hours to burn off some of those mince pies, there are a few free gems on offer in honour of this travelling Dutch dancehall. The irresistible techno-heads at Bugged Out are going all festive for Fridays, with seasonal tunes replacing the repetitive beats over three nights of mayhem. And Sean Rowley brings along Guilty Pleasures, his popular celebration of the cheesiest music of the last five decades, for Saturday nights, along with a ‘priest’ eager to hear your musical confessions. Just right for the annual holiday taste forgot. If you take your good time music more seriously, you might prefer Gaz Mayall’s Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues, Soho’s famous R&B, rockabilly and rock’n’roll club, which is coming along to help you through that awkward weekend between Christmas and new year.
Bugged Out, Fridays 12 & 19 and Tuesday 23rd Guilty Pleasures, Saturdays 13th & 20th and Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues , Saturday 27th December. All 7pm, Free
The Winterville Speigeltent is in Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road, London E3 5SN
Whether you consider your ice skating ability equal to one half of professional figure skating duo Torvill and Dean, or you better resemble a new-born deer taking its first steps, going to an ice rink is an enjoyable, and occasionally hilarious day out for all. Here’s peppermints round-up of the best outdoor ice rinks in the capital – it’s time to get your skates on… Read more…
Brace the bitter weather this weekend, wrap up warm and head out to one of London’s magical Christmas fairs or markets. An enjoyable day out for friends, families and couples alike – Santa’s grottos and German-style markets are springing up all over the city and are free to enter. With some of the best festive fare on offer you may even get some of your Christmas shopping list ticked off too! Read more…
The two best drinks to warm up your winter’s day are undoubtedly mulled wine and mulled apple cider, but which is better?
Buying these from the shop shelves or your local bar means the quality will vary from place to place. But make these drinks yourself and then there’s plenty of leeway to customise a unique and delicious mulled blend that’s perfect for you.
Here are a couple of tips to make sure you get the best out of both:
There’s only two types of excellent wine when it comes to mulling.
If you want full bodied, spicy, and stuffed with hard-hitting flavours, then you need a new world Shiraz. Make sure you buy one that’s medium bodied or medium-full so you still get that attractive smoothness after heating it up. You can buy one of these lovely wines for as little as £5 per bottle. Infuse this particularly spicy red with bitter orange, clove and cinnamon.
On the other hand, if you’re a fruity-sweet wine lover then buy yourself a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais (often a Gamay grape wine). Both these have a luxuriously smooth texture – even at around £4-£8 – but it’s the cherry and red berry fruits that really sell this wine; they’re frankly delicious. Infuse these wines with nutmeg, ginger, lemon slices and sweet tangerine. Or, if you fancy something particularly different, add in some blackberries or a drop of Cassis liqueur – that gives it something very, very different.
Once you’ve bought your wine, pour a couple of bottles generously into a pan and bring to a boil, adding in your spices and fruits. A top tip is to taste as you go so you get the best flavours in there. When it begins to boil, turn it off, leave for a minute or two and then serve.
Often for those of us who prefer something a little sweeter at Christmas, mulled cider can open up a world of opportunity.
If you like your cider dry, go for a still cider with lots of crisp green apple flavour. Add in some honey, black pepper and some pomegranate seeds for a particularly interesting blend; alternatively replace the pomegranate with slices of pear which give the mulled cider a lovely mellow sweetness, perfect with the dry, spicy base.
However my personal mulled cider recipe of choice is sweet, fruity and gorgeously smooth. Any cider will do, but if you can find a lightly sparkling cider with notes of vanilla and sweet red apple that would work a dream. Match this cider with vanilla extracts, a hefty handful of orange slices (or peel), maple syrup and – if you’re feeling adventurous – a small glug of Calvados brandy. Absolutely staggering flavours.
Heat and serve in the same way as you would mulled wine.
So which comes out best?
Both are Christmas staples but, for me, the classic and popular mulled wine is still the winner.
Although wine has a rich character by nature, which only restricts what you can infuse with it, it’s that rich flavour that makes it an icon of Christmas. As long as you’re buying a good medium-bodied red then you’ve still got lots of room to play with the flavours.
Cider gives you more room to have fun with it, but unless you’re willing to do the legwork to trial and error different blends, you may struggle to find one that really suits your taste.
Wine, on the other hand, packs enough of its original flavour to make sure the spices and fruits it goes with only accentuate the taste all the better.
Best of all, you can pick up a brilliant mulled wine for incredibly good value. In comparison, a very nice mulled cider often comes in smaller bottles, meaning you probably need a few bottles, and it usually retails more expensively too.
If you don’t have the time to create some of your own mulled wine or cider, visits The Tasting Room which has an excellent selection of both!
Posted by – Ben Franks
Edited by – Laura Thompson