Event Solutions: Supplier Showcase - Attractions for the public

A number of events aimed at the wider public from the Flora London Marathon to Innocent's Fruitstock and Liverpool's Mathew Street festival are proving ever more popular. Adam Woods charts some recent winners.

FRUITSTOCK

Soft drinks company Innocent says it aims each year to make Fruitstock "Britain's friendliest festival." Figures for the free event, organised by DMW in Regent's Park in London, rose from 38,000 visitors in 2003 to 81,000 in 2004, and 110,000 last year.

"We are very keen to step up the differentiators of what makes Fruitstock special - the children's area, the reading area, the yoga, the massages," says DMW's founder Dominik Wilhelm.

The free event secured high-profile performers such as Nitin Sawhney and US3 who headlined on the Saturday and Sunday nights last year on 6-7 August. But as the scale grows, and challenges increase, so does the impact. "Last year was pivotal," says Wilhelm.

"We always have amazing public feedback, and this time we walked back into the office on the Monday and there were hundreds of messages from people saying, 'nice one'. It was good to know we struck a chord." This year the event will take place from 5-6 August.

SUPPLIER FILE
Project and event management: DMW
Health and safety: MRL
Sound: Delta
Lights: HSL
Site power: Essential Show Power
Staging: SRC
Security: Show & Event
Marquees: Field and Lawn
Backline: Peter Webber Hire

BRUNEL 200

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a son of the South West and the region is hosting numerous events throughout 2006 to mark the bicentenary of the great engineer's birth.

The largest of these was the launch event in Bristol. The centrepiece was a firework display staged from Brunel's Clifton suspension bridge with a waterfall effect cascading 250ft into the gorge below. Organiser REM had synchronised this to bracing classical works of the industrialisation era. Before the fireworks there was a funfair and a clifftop concert with 200 saxophonists, 200 singers and a 200-piece brass band, entertaining the 40,000-strong crowd.

The bridge and its surroundings had not been used as a venue for 10 years and the scale of the event called for the main arterial road into Bristol to be closed from lunchtime on the day. Safety was paramount. "All of the factors such as cliffs, water, roads - if you can think of a hazard it was there," says REM managing director Mike Richmond.

SUPPLIER FILE
Event Management: REM
Pyrotechnics: Pains
Stages: Serious Stages
Main Stage PA, Site PA, Comms & Event Control Unit: WE Audio
Main Stage Lighting: Utopium Lighting
Main Stage Risers: Flat Earth Scenery and Staging
Site Security: Stuart Security
Furniture & Urns: Jongor
Fencing: Deborah Services
Site Cleansing: DC Site Services
Main Stage Power & Site Power: Powerline
Backstage Marquee: South West Marquees
Toilets: Chew Valley Hire
Main Stage PA Scrims: Imaginators
Road Closure Management: Sun Traffic Signals
Site Plant: Hewden Plant Hire, Loxam Access
First Aid: St John Ambulance
FSE: Aegis Fire Extinguisher Services
Sand: Jewsons

FLORA LONDON MARATHON

The London Marathon celebrated its 26th race this year. In fact, 28 of the 33,600 people who took part in the event on 23 April were veterans of each yearly run since the first in 1981.

Around 80% of participants were there to raise money for charity. And while the men's and women's race winners - Kenya's Felix Limo and US athlete Deena Kastor - did not break records, there was still plenty to watch.

Lloyd Scott, who completed the 2002 race in five days having opted to run in a deep sea diver's suit, returned this year dressed in a suit of armour, towing a 'dragon', and didn't finish until 1 May, eight days later.

Meanwhile, Hampshire couple Katie Austin and Gordon Fryer were married on Tower Bridge at the halfway point. The race was the Marathon's second-largest ever with 33,100 finishers. London Marathon operations manager Lisa Thompson says each year brings unexpected logistical challenges.

She adds: "With something of this size even though we have known all our contractors for years, it is just a massive event to co-ordinate," she says. "It actually went off very smoothly this year. We are still completing the debrief process but overall we were happy."

SUPPLIER FILE
Barriers: Eve Barriers, Rapid Response
Fencing: Fenced In
PA: ARB, NSR
Screens: ARB
Security: Goldrange
First Aid: St John Ambulance
Toilets: Rentaloo, Rollalong
Marquees: De Boer, Beaumont Events

NEWARK ANTIQUES AND COLLECTORS FAIR

DMG hosts the Newark International Antiques and Collectors fair, Europe's largest antiques event, at the Newark & Nottinghamshire showground.

Six times a year it attracts up to 4,000 stalls, 200 shopping arcades, 44 marquees and hundreds of outdoor pitches covering 84 acres. Each three-day event breaks down into professional trade on Thursday, general trade on Friday and public entry on the Saturday. Overseas trade buyers in spring tend to make the April fair the year's biggest.

Recently, a boom of interest in antiques has helped to swell the summer fairs, but 10,000 people still turned out for this spring's market, compared with its record of 15,000-16,000. Factors such as the exchange rate, overseas buyers and the weather have an impact on the turnout, according to DMG spokeswoman Natalie Court.

SUPPLIER FILE
Security: Rocksteady
PA: Colby Sound
Radios: Radio Hire
Marquees: Northern Marquees, Boldscan
Fire cover and first aid: Site Rescue
Cleaning: Morris Holdings
Electrics: McConnells Electrical Company
Portakabins and toilets: Wernick Hire

EDINBURGH FRINGE SUNDAY

By way of a 'thank you' to the people of Edinburgh for their support during the mayhem of the Edinburgh Festival, the Fringe lays on a free 'best of' event in the Meadows which can attract as many as 200,000 people.

The Fringe itself makes up the larger part of the Edinburgh Festival alongside the rather more highbrow Edinburgh International Festival.

And of the 2,000 comedy drama and other artistic shows that the city stages around 200 are also performed at Fringe Sunday on five stages.

"Each show might last about 20 minutes so over the course of the day you get a flavour of everything that's on at the Fringe," says Fringe spokesperson Leroy Harris.

The tradition of Fringe Sunday began in the late-1970s, with typical crowds of around 5,000-10,000. Last year's 14 August event, however, drew 150,000, with acts including American ventriloquist David Strassman, Polish acrobats the Caesar Twins, Korean martial arts comedy Jump, Sri Lankan Tsunami survivors performing in Children of the Sea, Irish singer Camille and Japanese double act Gamarjobat.

SUPPLIER FILE
Decoration: Carnival Chaos
Lights/stages/production: Fisher Production
Stages: Stage Scotland
Sound: DM Audio
Security: Rocksteady

RED BULL RAIL STORM

Red Bull's commitment to extreme sports is hard to question. Its track record includes the Hyde Park Flugtag and the Red Bull Soap Box Races.

Among its recent innovations is Rail Storm, which made its London debut in Trafalgar Square on November 20.

Rail riding is a snowboarding offshoot where teams of boarders slide down steel handrails and similar urban surfaces.

Red Bull Rail Storm made its debut in Glasgow in November 2004 before 3,500 spectators, but its Trafalgar Square incarnation was on a far larger scale, calling for 66 tonnes of snow and a course which took 190 people 72 hours to build.

"We built the rails and staircases in-house," says Red Bull event manager Andy Butts. "The UK doesn't really have companies that deal with extreme sports in that level of detail." Needless to say, such an event in the heart of London does not come together overnight. "From the council go-ahead and developing the concept to the actual day itself took about nine months," says Butts. In the event 8,000 people witnessed the US team beat 11 rivals to win £17,000 in South African gold Krugerrand coins.

SUPPLIER FILE
Screens: Screenco (now Creative Technology)
Lighting and power: Pearce Hire
Structures: Star Events
Catering: Eat To The Beat
Site Management: Bliss Events

INTERNATIONAL GOURMET FOOD MARKET

Since Birmingham's notorious 1960s shopping centre the Bull Ring was torn down in 2000 - and replaced by the dramatically modern Bullring - ideas such as holding a food fair outside became feasible. From 20-22 April The Gourmet and International Food Market was staged for the second time there, having made a successful debut last autumn.

The three-day gourmet showcase, conceived by Marketplace Europe in the same vein as London's Borough market and Belfast's St George's, drew 60 traders from those markets and from further afield for a fusion of the company's three travelling market concepts: C ontinental, Irish and global.

"Within that mix we are trying to develop a very strong British theme as well," says Marketplace managing director Alan Hartwell, who believes such events can only grow in popularity as supermarkets become more powerful.

"Markets are the best way to get high-quality products onto the high street now," he says.

SUPPLIER FILE
Event organiser: Marketplace Europe
Generators: LCH
Security: Marketforce

MATHEW STREET FESTIVAL

The Liverpool Culture Company took over the city's free Mathew Street Festival in 2001 and has spent the past five years helping it to shed its beery, lairy reputation.

Designed as a celebration of Liverpool's music culture, the festival expanded its remit in 2005 and revolved around six stages - two at Pier Head, three in the city centre and, for the first time, another through the tunnel on The Wirral. Over the course of the weekend, 350,000-400,000 people dropped in to see a host of local acts, 150 tribute bands and a larger smattering of well-known pop and rock acts than in previous years, including McFly, Lemar, the Buzzcocks and the Christians.

Footfall was up by 20% on 2004. Research suggests the festival generated £32.5m for the city from a £500,000 investment. "Notting Hill Carnival, on the same weekend, costs £10m and brings in about £93m. Our ratio is very good," says Liverpool Culture Company general manager of events Lee Forde.

SUPPLIER FILE
Stages: SRC, 3D
Sound: Capital Sound, Ad Lib Audio
Toilets and Portakabins: Search UK
Security: Paramount, Special Event Security
Barriers: Event Solution
Power: Buffalo Power


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