Brief: To create ‘Malvern Winter Glow’ – a mile-long Covid-safe light and sculpture trail experience hosted at Three Counties Showground for visitors to enjoy over the winter period, and to help the venue boost their income after a year of cancellations, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Where: Three Counties Showground – a 90 acre venue in Malvern that also hosts RHS Malvern Spring Festival and Royal Three Counties Show.
When: Evenings throughout December 2020
What We Did: We spent the beginning of 2020developing our Light Trail and Visitor Attraction services, and pitched the idea to Three Counties after the first national lockdown. We then worked directly with the Three Counties team to develop a site-specific trail, theme and installation plan. We opted to develop a joint venture model with the venue, meaning that both parties brought together their expertise and skills, with Three Counties providing stewards for each night of the event and sourcing food traders, and Tarren providing event management and technical services.
We worked with the Three Counties to create features and custom-made installations that reflected the venue’s rich history, from the handmade metal origami airplanes to represent the venue’s 100 year connection with the Royal Air Force, to the giant 15ft illuminated bluebells giving a nod to the famous RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
Our Tarren Crew spent 10 days on-site installing the lighting features and installations, as well as mapping out the trail route to make the venue Covid-safe and to allow visitors to social distance from other easily. Finally, we also created the giant ‘Malvern Winter Glow’ letters which were placed at the showground entrance to wow arriving visitors.
Challenges: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 we had to create a fluid event format, meaning that many of the elements we had initially planned to include in the trail were either adapted or removed to ensure that the event environment was safe for everybody involved, and we worked closely with local councils to achieve their approval.
We put a lot of measures in place to ensure that the event was Covid-safe and to ensure that all government guidelines were met.
To start with, we capped the total ticket numbers below the national Covid event guidelines to allow for any changes that may come in at later stages. We created individual timed entry slots for visitors, with only pre-booked tickets for groups of up to six allowed. The number of stewards were increased to manage social distancing around the trail, and the numbers of event management staff were increased. All visitors to the trail were sent clear and concise communications prior to event attendance highlighting the Covid safety measures. On entrance to the event we had created 2 metre markers in the queuing system, and along the trail at popular areas of the trail such as the Cathedral Arch.
We designed the trail so that it was strictly one-way, with social distancing and group numbers monitored by stewards, and hand-sanitiser stations available at regular intervals.
The typical British winter weather also caused a few issues, with torrential rain, high winds, and heavy snow all occurring throughout the event, meaning that a few nights of the event had to be rescheduled in order to comply with health and safety guidelines.