East London’s Victoria Park got a new resident in the run up to Christmas 2014. Winterville was an idea that had been floating around in organiser Daz Guerin’s head for several years, and finally come to life in a venue he’s very familiar with. Not only does he live on the park’s doorstep, he has worked on some of the biggest live music events to have taken place there, including the Lovebox Festival.
Unlike other winter-themed events, Daz’s aim was to make Winterville a more content-lead event, with entertainment at the heart of the concept. Speaking to Event Industry News, Daz explained what he was seeking to achieve.
“We re-imagined what I considered to be a bit of a tired format nationwide. Most of the pop-up winter events essentially offer the same thing. What we did is to freshen it up and entertain people when they visit, rather than them having to entertain themselves. As this was the first year we kept things fairly compact so that we can strike a balance between budget and scale. However, we’re confident that visitors have enjoyed the programme of entertainment that was on offer.”
Daz’s event background includes a lot of work with local authorities, giving him a good start point when it came to securing the venue. Engaging with The Friends of Victoria Park, Safety Advisory Group and the local authority for over a year lead to approval being granted for the event to go ahead. With a detailed knowledge of the park, Winterville was able to put forward a clear plan that was geared around using some of the permanent infrastructure within the park, as Daz explained.
“We started building in mid-November, with a slightly longer load in than a weekend music event due to the duration of Winterville. There is tarmacked access known as the Haulage Road, which we decided would form the Winterville High Street. This made vehicular access very easy, but also gave us the perfect focal point for the event without the need to worry about pedestrian access in the event of bad weather. The event was then built around this central High Street. We also utilised a large hard standing car park to locate some temporary office cabins and create a production zone. A combination of vehicular and pedestrian only trackway was then brought on site in order to facilitate access to more sensitive areas.”
With the event lasting for several weeks, when the team planned how to deliver power to all areas it was decided to essentially create a small sub-station on site. Three large generators were sited centrally, with power then distributed to the necessary locations. This was in place of the more common method of using many smaller generators at multiple locations.
“Our thinking was that we’re onsite for a long period of time, so there was scope to plan things a bit differently. Using lot’s of generators dotted around the site increases the background noise, requires moving fuel around the site and also increases the carbon footprint of the event. What we did instead is to install the three large generators and then dig trenches for the major cabling. This reduced the amount of cables running above ground and created an efficient way for the engineers to monitor the power.”
During its run, Winterville featured live music, club night partnerships and entertainment from Cabaret de Cirque. Much of it took place in the event’s Spiegel Tent, a temporary structure built to accommodate changes to the internal layout, creating a flexible space that could be adapted depending on the content. A circular truss flown from the centre of the venue supported much of the A/V production, with projectors and screens being deployed to enhance the audience experience. In addition to an ice-rink and Ferris wheel, visitors could also take horse-drawn carriage rides around the park, attend the retro-themed roller disco or challenge themselves on the wall of death. A full range of food and bars satisfied the hunger and thirst of visitors, with a particular focus on craft beers via the support of several local independent breweries.
Winterville Contractors List:
Security: AP Security
Temporary Roadways: GAP Events
Toilets/Wet Waste: A1 Loo Hire
Waste Management: DC Site Services
Site Power: Inglewood Power Distribution
Cabins: Wernick Events
Plant: M&J Plant Hire
Creative Production: Bearded Kitten
Audio: Metro City
Technical Production/Noise Management: KDB Media