Illuminate the Gardens: A Word from the Organisers

Following mixed feedback from the first Illuminate the Gardens event on Saturday night, organisers Events Collective got to work and appeared to resolve matters after making a number of improvements for the following evening. Managing Director Bob Worm and Programming Officer Laura Holmes have released statements about the initial difficulties faced and how they were overcome.

“It’s always a challenge running the first night of a new event,” Laura told us. “It’s even more of a challenge doing that in a new venue. But doing that with a sell-out crowd? It stretches even the most experienced event organiser to their fullest extent. However much planning you do on paper, until people start arriving, there are some things you just can’t predict with certainty.”

Bob agrees, and claims that the turnaround on the Sunday night was largely down to an amazing team effort – from both the Events Collective staff and everyone else associated with the evening. A number of local traders also stepped in last minute to help alleviate queuing issues which disappointed some the prior evening.

“There was so much that we got right on Saturday – particularly the finale fireworks display from Optimum Fireworks, which was utterly spectacular – but we do understand that, for some people, this was overshadowed by the problems they experienced. Our team worked through the night and all through Sunday, listening and responding to people’s feedback and making the changes that were possible and practical in the time that we had. We added in additional food traders, tightened out processes with at the gate and improved briefing or stewards and security. We brought in additional staff, power and lighting and we did a further review of site kit, layout and processes with our Safety Officer. We need to say a huge thank you to the local businesses that gave additional support at such short notice, particularly Mesters Events, Peddler Night Market, Moss Valley Fine Foods and Nether Edge Pizza Oven, and also to our existing suppliers, traders and workers who pulled out all the stops to sort out all the issues. But our biggest thanks need to go to the wonderful Parks team that look after the Botanical Gardens, their dedication, commitment and positivity blew us away.”

When asked about the overall success of the weekend, and how Sunday night rocketed to great heights exceeding those of Saturday, Bob said: “We are so proud of what we, and our team, achieved this weekend. You only have to look at the difference in the reviews on social media to see that, on Sunday, we completely got it right and delivered the event as we had envisioned it. We have learned so much this weekend. As we often say in our team, ‘every day is a school day and each event is a school term’. We are so grateful to everyone who took time to give us their feedback, good and bad; it is invaluable for us in working towards making our event the best it can be.”

Illuminate the Gardens will return in November 2018. The weekend ended with plenty of sparkle, and we can’t wait to see what it holds for us next year.


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