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Choosing your venue
All venues are different, below are some things you really need to think about when choosing where to hold your event.
There is a lot of information on this page and it is important. Please take the time to read it, it may save you from a disaster and even save you money.
Whether you're looking for a Stag Night in Newland, a Vocalist in East Stockwith, a School Reunion Disco in Redbourne, an Engagement Party in Broomfleet, a Group in Nettleham, a DIY Disco in Fiskerton or something else in our area, we are here to serve you.
Is the room fit for purpose?
Think about the layout of the room you're considering booking and imagine what each activity will entail. Fill it with guests in your mind's eye and see if the layout works.
Where will the entertainment be, where will the disco and or band set-up, where is the Bar, where are the toilets, where is the dance floor, where will any food be served and eaten and where can people sit and relax or chat? What about the smokers - we have to face the fact at least some of our guests are going to need to pop out for a cigarette?
So many questions but it does matter if your event is going to be the success it should be.
It is no use having a wonderful dance floor if it is going to be filled up by people waiting for drinks, or if it's going to be continually crossed by people going from one part of the room to another. People need space to dance without worrying about crowds standing about on the floor or drinks being carried across it creating a very significant hazard to everyone.
If the bar is in another room you'll probably loose at least half your party, and those you don't will have to carry drinks about which is a pain for everyone. The same applies to food service. It can be great to keep the food away from the party area but only if there is seating in both areas. You don't want food traversing the dance floor if you can avoid it, but you also don't want to exile anyone who wants to sit down and rest. You may also want to close the food area once service is completed to regain guests who might otherwise congregate there.
Think about the inevitable spillages, is there going to be someone on hand to rapidly clear them up or are you going to have to go off and find someone? Are the necessary mops etc. available?
What documentation is needed?
Many venues are pretty lax about checking documentation so this question may be met with a blank stare. At the other extreme they may require copies of Insurance certificates (always ask what the minimum acceptable value is - some venues insist on £5m or even £10m and many small operators, assuming they are insured, will only be covered for lower amounts), PAT testing schedules, Risk assessments, Policy statements etc.
If your venue requires documentation make sure you check with the entertainment provider before you book, get them to obtain confirmation from the venue that they meet the necessary criteria otherwise you could find yourself without any music etc!
At the very least you should, for your own satisfaction, security and safety ensure you have seen a valid Insurance certificate and details of PAT testing for your entertainment provider's equipment, even if the venue doesn't insist on seeing them.
If you are asked for them to provide a risk assessment be aware that many entertainment providers use a standard sheet which is far from comprehensive and may not be acceptable to a professional venue. Our risk assessment policy booklet runs to some 16 pages, and that's before the actual assessment is performed. A standard policy MAY be acceptable but if they need an individual assessment make sure your chosen provider is capable.
Marquees and other tent or Gazebo structures provide their own challenges.
The Bar Unless you are supplying the bar it's worth checking out their prices and the range of drinks on offer.
The last thing you want is a massive bill, your bar float disappearing too soon, or your guests complaining at the cost. Any of these can put a real damper on your event and leave a bitter taste for a long time afterwards, and not just from the beer! We've been to venues where drinks for four cost anywhere from under £8 up to an eye watering £23, and no that wasn't for exotic cocktails!
Check if they have any food, snacks, crisps etc. available. Many people like something to help soak up the alcohol as the evening progresses, or just to nibble on, even though they may have eaten earlier.
Make sure you know when last orders will be called, when they will stop serving drinks and when you are expected to clear the venue.
Dietary requirements.Have you thought about people who may have a limited diet?
Make sure, unless you're already absolutely certain, that you ask your guests if they have any special dietary needs and work out how you're going to cater for them.
The vegetarian and vegan options are nearly always remembered but what about allergies? Coeliacs cannot eat Wheat, Barley and Rye. This rules out things like normal cakes, pastries, batter and many sauces - although cornflower is fine. Some people are dairy intolerant and whilst this is easier to cope with you still need to know. Do you have any guests with a nut, shellfish or other allergy?
How are you going to identify food that is suitable for each group of guests?
How are you going to avoid them feeling singled out?
How are you going to ensure they get enough to eat and people without special dietary needs don't eat all the food specifically prepared for those who do?
It's important to know the lighting arrangements in your proposed venue.
Can you control the room lighting yourself or do you need to call out a duty manager every time you want an adjustment? In some hotels particularly, lighting in function rooms is so tightly controlled there is nothing you can do for yourself. It can take several minutes to get the lights turned up for speeches for example, and a further period afterwards to get them turned down again since the manager will disappear.
Is it possible to dim the lighting or is it an on/off situation? Many halls have fluorescent lighting that cannot be adequately controlled, with huge banks switching on and off from a single switch. The inability to control lighting can spoil your experience.
You should also consider the effects of natural light, if you're having your function in the middle of summer and your venue has windows that cannot be covered you'll lose much of the atmosphere until it gets dark outside.
Sufficient height is essential if you are having a light show, any ceiling height below about 3M is going to seriously impact on the show and 4M or above is desirable. Many lasers cannot be used safely where there is insufficient height. Look out for low beams across the room, these will create shadows as well as sound challenges.
Access and parking are important to us, but they are important to your guests too. Think of the people who'll be attending your event and if they'll be able to cope with getting into your proposed venue. Auntie Mabel in her wheelchair may have a problem with stairs as may George with his arthritis. Where will all your guests park? Will they be able to park near enough, particularly George and Mabel? Is there public transport or easy access for taxis to take those who may not be driving?
How loud do you want your music? Always ask if there is a maximum acceptable volume level.
Do you want quiet areas where guests can talk and relax aaway from the dancefloor?
Check with your proposed venue if they have sound limiters installed. If they do see if you can attend an event and check for yourself if the permissible volume levels are acceptable to you. It's worth going later in the evening once things have ramped up to see what the experience is like. If you can, ask the people providing the entertainment if they've had any problems with the limiters. Make sure you apply a like for like test if necessary, remembering if you're wanting heavy beats and the gig you visit doesn't, you may still have trouble even if they're not.
If you're having a sixties or classic Motown night it's probable that the volume levels won't need to be really high, music from this era tends not to have the heavy bass beat of more modern music and hence, whilst sounding loud, is actually producing sound in the area where your hearing is most sensitive. However if you'll be having Karaoke you may find that an enthusiastic singer will succeed in turning everything off. We had one of our Country Singers plunge us into silence during a loud passage in one song.
If you're into modern music with heavy beats, and youwant to 'feel' the beat, a lot of extra power is going to be needed, the chances are this will entail large speakers known as 'Subs' or 'Bass Bins' plus additional amplification.
We have a selection of these speakers, ranging in size from compact subs, adequate for most venues and 'pop' music, which are roughly a 70cm cube, up to some sizable units which weigh in at a massive 85Kg each. These can literally shake things off the tables when given a bit of power behind them.
The need to match the equipment with the music and the venue is essential. A Marquee is going to lose most of the sound through the sides and roof, soft furnishings are going to soak up the sound and a large unfurnished room is going to cause it to bounce and echo. For the neighbours the experience may be traumatic and this is one of the reasons some venues have been forced to install automatic sound limiters!
If the sound level exceeds their preset limit they switch off power to our equipment. This will spoil your event in two ways. Firstly it may mean the volume has to be kept at such a low level it ruins the experience. Secondly, if the level is accidentally exceeded everything stops until the limiter is reset and our equipment has time to self test and re-start. You obviously don't want this happening. These power interruptions can damage equipment and it's not unknown for some mobile entertainers to refuse to work at venues with limiters.
We can work with sound limiters, and have equipment to ensure we do not break the limits whilst maximising the perceived volume we can deliver, this is an additional service not included in our standard quotations, please see our equipment page for more details of how we cope with sound limiters.
Smoke Detectors. Always ask if your proposed venue allows the use of Haze, Fog or Smoke.
We do not normally use smoke as such, but since tobacco smoking has been banned from public venues it is often helpful to have something in the air to get a more dramatic effect from light shows. Certain laser displays, particularly 3D animations, are totally dependent on something in the air to project in to.
Depending on the airflow and room size we try to use an almost invisible, water based, haze or light fog but some venues ban the use of smoke, haze and fog machines for fear of tripping their smoke detectors. Under normal circumstances this would not happen with our equipment. The only types of detectors that will be foolish enough to think our Haze is smoke are the older ionisation or optical type detectors as they sense the fog/haze particles as smoke. Unfortunately many venues impose a blanket ban on anything in the air as it's the easiest option for them. All our atmospheric effects use water based solutions that are harmless to asthmatics and leave no residue.
If the venue is concerned it's often possible for them to disable the detectors in the area where the 'smoke' will be present. This shouldn't compromise safety since there should also be manual fire alarms and there will be plenty of people in the area.
Entertainment Set up Area for your Disco, Band or other Artists.
Depending on the type of function and equipment needed the area in which your entertainment is going to be set up will have some specific requirements.
"To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail".