With event organisers already gearing up for what is set to be the busiest summer of festivals in living memory next year, festival stage hire in England may well be in limited supply. As experienced event planners will already be aware, there's a lot that goes into planning a festival, music concert, or outdoor event that requires a stage.
But in case you needed reminding, it's worth running through the primary considerations of such an event before, going into more detail about how Outdoor Stages is well placed to help you organise and produce such an event.
So without further ado, here's what you need to be thinking about when considering stage hire in England.
Book Your Outdoor Stage Hire as Far in Advance as Possible
Stages aren't commodities that can be simply picked up as and when you please. There are only a finite number of suppliers that can supply festival stage hire, and the bigger your stage requirements, the smaller the pool of suppliers you'll have to choose from.
That means as soon as those stages have been booked on the dates of your music festival or concert, they're no longer available. You need to remember that in England in particular, when the summer season rolls around, outdoor events are taking place literally every day (over 7,000 each year to be more precise). If you don't get your act together, you could be scrambling to find either a stage that's suitable for your specific demands or that fits within your allocated budget.
In terms of putting a specific time frame on it, we usually need at least three months' notice. But to be honest, we prefer to at least start the conversation about six months ahead of your proposed dates. It gives us the time to work through any restrictions or limitations related to your venue and talk through what you're likely to need in terms of extras so we can start to pencil in what we'll need to put aside for you.
Draw Together Your Budget
A fairly obvious task for any event but worth mentioning all the same, you need to start drawing your budget together for your festival stage hire as soon as possible. If you're wondering roughly how much you might need to set aside for outdoor stage hire for your event, the answer is it largely depends on the size of your event.
If you've got a smaller event such as a local village fete with a few hundred attendees, then you can hire a stage from us with both stage lighting and a sound system for as little as £850. By contrast, if you're organising a regional music festival in the Surrey countryside with 5,000-plus fans expected in attendance, then you're looking at closer to £10,000 for a 12 metre by 10 metre Arc Dome roof stage which is perfect for crowds of up to 7,000 people, if not more.
But putting prices aside for one minute, you must budget and gather quotes sensibly for your stage hire. Once you've received your quotations, you need to pay close attention to the fine print to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. In almost all cases, you should avoid the lowest price, especially if it's considerably lower than the others.
Avoid Choosing the Cheapest Provider
In the outdoor stage industry, there's an old saying "book cheap, book twice." What happens in most instances with these cheap contractors is that they often leave you high and dry when a better bid comes in for the same equipment. Frequently, we are asked to pick up the pieces with just a matter of weeks (or days) left to the festival or concert in question.
The secondary issue is that what you get within the quote often doesn't compare to similar offers from other reputable companies. In many instances, you will be supplied with a stage that doesn't even meet the most basic of health and safety compliance guidelines, never mind the industry-standard EuroSpec 9. When that happens, it's almost impossible to get event sign off from your local council, resulting in your event being shut down before it's even had the chance to start.
In other cases, you may be provided with a quotation for a stage that meets the necessary industry standards. However, that's all you're given, a stage. With a stage hire package from Outdoor Stages, we provide far more than just the structure itself, including lighting, rigging services, sound system, and complete event production support.
Decide What Event Production Equipment and Services Your Require
Rarely will an outdoor stage hire request be met by merely supplying the physical structure alone. As an event planner, you need to think about all of those extras that go into successful event production. Fortunately, it just so happens we supply everything you could possibly require, offering a complete turn-key solution for your outdoor event.
Here at Outdoor Stages, we are one of the biggest providers of festival stages and production services in the UK. We've used our early success to reinvest heavily in the associated equipment, meaning that, unlike some providers, we can provide the complete event production package, including on-site lighting technicians and sound engineers to ensure a smooth running of your event.
No matter the size or scale of your event, we can provide what you are looking for in terms of PA systems, mixing desks, amplifiers, stage monitors, LED lighting fixtures, backstage areas, viewing platforms, truss structures, special effects, and LED screens to name but a small selection of our capabilities.
The crucial difference between us and competitors who offer similar packages? We own and maintain all of our equipment. There's no subcontracting here, it's all our equipment and personnel, giving you total peace of mind.
Not that we're showing off, but we have over 70 moving head DMX fixtures, LED pixel bar systems, and some of the biggest OPSL lasers in the UK. On the sound side, we only supply rider-friendly audio equipment brands such as MC2, XTA, Midas, OHM, and Shure to name but a few. Combined with some of the most experienced stage crew, engineers, and technicians around, we believe we provide the best all-round package when it comes to festival stage hire in England.
Don't Forget to Account for the Weather!
If you're hosting an outdoor event in England, there's one variable that's going to be impossible to predict no matter the time of year. Yep, you guessed it, our infamous weather! That's why hiring an open-air stage just isn't feasible. In actual fact, you need a roof for several reasons.
Firstly, as mentioned, you need to protect both your performers and hire equipment from damage. Contrary to popular belief, the rain isn't necessarily top of the priority list when it comes to protection from the elements. Yes, a covered stage will help to keep everyone and their equipment dry, but it doesn't magically waterproof everything.
More often than not, typically in the South of England during the summer months, the heat of the sun is actually the concern. No, really! During those few weeks of hot and balmy weather we are treated to each year, the sun can cause real problems for both your performers and any event production equipment you've hired from us.
Prolonged exposure to the heat from the sun can damage electronics and can render items such as microphone stands and other metal accessories literally too hot to handle. Not only is this bad for the equipment, but it makes live performances much trickier for your booked artists.
If you're planning on running your event into the evening, then you also need to consider how you're going to attach your lights. Obviously, without a roof on your stage, that is much more challenging to implement. In contrast, covered stages like ours have specific sections dedicated to rigging both additional lighting and sound equipment.
Speaking of weather, you also need to factor it into your preparation and set up times.
Schedule Enough Time for Assembly
In the final stages of preparing for your festival in England, you will be well-served not to underestimate how long stages take to build. It's always a case of planning for the worst and hoping for the best. To give you some idea of what you should be looking to dedicate to the stage building process, our smaller XS-Stage-1 system takes around four hours, but that is conditional on being able to position two vans within ten metres of your proposed stage site.
By contrast, for our bigger ARC-Stage-2 stage, we usually budget at least ten hours, but perhaps unsurprisingly, this is dependent on the weather. In poor weather, it's taken us as long as a day and a half to construct. Therefore, it's always wise to give us plenty of time to build the stage (at least a day in advance of the event), so there's no danger of the weather interfering with your event timetables.
Don't forget that it's not just time to assemble the stage; we also have to dedicate the necessary time to securing the structure. This is a process that differs depending on whether you've instructed us to build on grass or concrete. Grass is the quickest and easiest surface to work on as we will supply and install the rods which pin the stage into the ground. However, if the stage is to be erected on a hard surface such as concrete, then you will need to source IBC water tanks or concrete ballast blocks (we can point you in the right direction if this is new territory for you) for the same purpose.
The point is that the stage-building process takes time to be completed safely and correctly. A failure to set aside a proper amount can leave your scrambling as the event organiser.
Choose Outdoor Stages for Your Festival Stage Hire in England
Here at Outdoor Stages, we've been providing outdoor stage hire right across England for well over a decade. When it comes to festival stage hire specifically, we've taken a novel approach by combining all aspects of event production into all in one stage hire packages, offering a complete end-to-end solution for event organisers.
We're also on hand to help you through every step of the process should you need our consultation. We can assess venues to make recommendations, and we provide bespoke packages that match the specific challenges of either your site.
If you're planning a music festival (or any other outdoor event) in England during the summer of 2021, don't hesitate to shoot an email over to a member of our team to arrange an initial chat.