May 29, 2014

Nick Morgan from The Fair on how to make every event a success

It’s time once more for some wise words from a friend of ticketscript in the events world. Nick Morgan, owner of events agency The Fair and the man behind some of the finest events around the UK, kindly spared a precious moment to share the secrets to what makes a great event memorable, for all the right reasons…

People often ask me what makes a great event. Of course, passion for what you do is a given. Outside of that, ultimately, and as experience has taught me, great planning is the single most essential component. During my 15-year career, I’ve overseen small festivals through to crowds of more than 110,000 for a St Patrick’s Day parade.

That said, it’s not just planning to make sure everything comes together in the way we want, it’s planning for the worst case scenarios. Always having a plan for when things go pear-shaped and making sure of peoples’ wellbeing and safety is first and foremost the priority.

I think people are deluded if they believe events run exactly according to the EMP (Event Management Plan), but these do provide the responsible authorities the capability to deal with any possible envisaged situations. Events are dynamic; if you introduce 40,000 people into a green field site, the risks constantly change and as such we run constant dynamic risk assessments.

This year, we’re putting on HOLI ONE Colour Festival’s biggest tour in the UK. We’re looking after production and the running of 16 events across the UK’s biggest towns and cities, ranging in size from 5,000 to 20,000. It’s a fantastic event, where people attend dressed in white and throw coloured powder, on the hour, every hour, uniting through dance and music – it’s going to be great but we’ve been planning and organising it for over a year! Alongside this, we’re back ensuring the safety of 40,000 revellers at Global Gathering, which we’ve done for 3 years.

We also work across Future Cinema’s estate and, whilst these are smaller audience shows, the client pushes boundaries with the creative and as such introduces many risks that we need to ensure are well managed and assessed. We don’t do clipboards and always work with clients to see how we can make their visions happen – you can achieve so much as long as everything is well planned and assessed, including giving local authorities as much notice as possible.

Although, to some people, health and safety might sound dry – I do not spend many a Saturday morning (when not on a show) at Euston noting down the various train numbers as some may expect – the fact of the matter is that it affects everything: the artists performing, the attendees, the people working the event.

Saying all that, we don’t let health and safety get in the way of a good time. We use it to ensure that the festivals and events we run are remembered for all the right reasons, and deliver an experience that’s great for both the audience and the promoter.

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The Fair work with all kinds of events, from awards ceremonies to science exhibitions and sports rallies to business conferences. Nick Morgan is the founder of The Fair and CEO of Big Cat Group.

By Dominick Soar