Hectares

Musicians playing to audience
People shopping at Cuerden Valley Farmers Market
Farmers Market at Morden Hall Park
Image 1: Concert at St James' Park © Martin Gardner;
Image 2: Cuerden Farmers Market © Cuerden Valley Park Trust;
Image 3: Farmer’s Market at Morden Hall Park © National Trust;
Events
Events

Overview

Parks and opens spaces have the potential to host a multitude of different events. These can include:

  • Festivals;
  • Concerts;
  • Weddings;
  • Exhibitions (e.g. classic car show);
  • Sports events (e.g. fun runs, horse riding);
  • Community fairs;
  • Farmers market;
  • Lectures and presentations;
  • Educational talks and activities; and
  • Business functions.

These events can either be run in-house or by external event organisers and promoters.  The decision to manage events internally or externally will depend on the resources and expertise available to the park.

A park may decide to run some events itself, whilst outsourcing the management of others.  For example, a Park Manager may have the capacity and skills to run a community fair, but organising a wedding will require more specialist expertise.  The decision to run an event in-house or externally should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Delivering an event in-house increases the risk but can increase the reward.  If the event is poorly attended, for example because of bad weather, then the event may actually cost money.  Alternatively, if it is really successful the park keeps all the profits without paying an external organiser.

External organisers and promoters can be charged either a fixed ground rent, a proportion of ticket sales or a combination of the two.  A fixed ground rent provides a guaranteed income irrespective of how successful the event is.  Sites should be flexible and prepared to negotiate the price with external organisations to maximise the income for the site.  External event organisers should also be charged a re-instatement fee to return the site to its condition before the event took place.  A strong lease and/or written agreement will protect your rights.

Having a variety of events can be an effective way of attracting new visitors to your park.  Events also help to increase repeat visits.  New and repeat visits can also increase a site’s income if those visitors spend their money on activities and food and drink on site.

Not every event will be beneficial for the site.  Each event should be considered on its merits and assessed against the contribution it will make to the site and its visitors.  Developing an Events Guide detailing the dos and don’ts of holding an event on your park will give event organisers clarity of what is allowed.

Questions to Consider

The Land is suitable for
What resources and skills do you have in-house to deliver events?

The Land is suitable for
What types of events can your site hold? Does it have the capacity for large scale concerts and festivals or smaller boutique events?

The Land is suitable for
How will you charge for events?

The Land is suitable for
What is the minimum income you would need to break even?

The Land is suitable for
How much would it cost to reinstate your site after the event?

The Land is suitable for
How many events can you accommodate each year?

The Land is suitable for
How does the event fit with the aims and objectives of your site?

The Land is suitable for
Do you need to ‘close’ the site to general use for the duration of the event?

Pros and Cons

The Land is suitable for
Attracts new and repeat visitors to your site.

The Land is suitable for
Events can help to market and develop the ‘brand’ of your site.

The Land is suitable for
Can provide guaranteed income without incurring any costs.

The Land is suitable for
Possibility to generate high income if events delivered in-house.

The Land is suitable for
Can be risky and costly if events are delivered in-house.
The Land is suitable for
Can disrupt ‘normal’ use of your site.
The Land is suitable for
Success of events can be dependent on external factors like the weather.

Further Information

The Royal Parks has a useful guide to holding events http://www.royalparks.org.uk/business/holding-events

Birmingham City Council has a lot of information about their regulations for hosting events on their parks.  It also includes information about pricing and other things to think about http://birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Parks%2FPageLayout&cid=1223092603877&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FWrapper

Love Parks Week is a platform for hundreds of park lovers to join forces in the UK’s largest celebration of green spaces www.loveparksweek.org.uk

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