There’s a reason we talk about the weather so much here in the UK. Even on the balmiest of summer days, blazing sunshine vibes can be killed by ominous black clouds in a heartbeat. Of course, Brits aren’t the only ones that have to put up with temperamental weather. If you’re in a part of the world where there are no sunshine-guarantees, it’s always wise to have a bad-weather action plan for your outdoor events.
Doing so can be a serious game changer when it comes to giving your attendees the good times they’ve been looking forward to – great for them and your brand. And it can even help you sell tickets; by communicating in your marketing content that you’ve got a bad weather backup plan, you’re providing attendees reassurance that they’ll have a great time come rain or shine. Which makes your event a whole lot more appealing. Bingo.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can weather-proof your outdoor events. So the good times can roll, even if the clouds roll in 🌩️. Here we go👇.
Create a mix of in-and-out areas
From marquees to tipis and tents, there are plenty of options for creating sheltered areas at your event. The trick is to treat these as an integral part of your event rather than a bad-weather afterthought. That way, they bring something to the table regardless of how the weather is. It’s best to imagine the worst-case scenario here – would your guests still have a great time if they had to spend the full event in your sheltered areas? If the answer’s no – you might want to up your marquee game! (Think fairy lights, decor, bars and seating rather than just a stark shelter-area.)
The good thing is, even if there turns out to be glorious sunshine all day, people always welcome a bit of shade – so your covered areas won’t go to waste. With this in mind, it can be helpful to choose tents, marquees or tipis that have roll-up sides to give you the best of all worlds.
Finally, if it’s not too much of a stretch on your budget, it’s worth looking into heating options for sheltered areas just in case things get really chilly. On the flipside, it could be worth looking into air con options for any unexpected heat waves.
Sort out flooring for your walkways and sheltered areas
When thinking about bad weather at outdoor events, it can be easy to focus on shelter and staying warm – but having to squelch around in the mud can be just as much of a mood-kill! (Not to mention dangerous).
So, if your event’s taking place in a field or other area where the ground could become a slipping hazard – it’s wise to hire or purchase some secure, portable flooring. Not only will it make things more enjoyable for your attendees, it’ll help keep them safe, too. You can hire or buy no-slip rubber flooring for walkways, and there are lots of options out there for marquee flooring (sometimes called marquee matting).
Keep your attendees posted
If it looks like there's going to be bad weather in the days leading up to your event, it can be a nice touch to get in touch with your attendees to let them know things are still going ahead (and that you’ve got an action plan for bad weather).
Keeping your comms upbeat and reassuring your attendees you’ve got all bases covered might just give those who were thinking of dropping out the boost they need to attend.
Tip: Ticket Tailor’s Broadcasts feature makes it super easy to send out email announcements to all your ticket buyers.
Include plenty of clear signposting
Having plenty of clear signage around your event should help to keep the confusion and panic to a minimum should the heavens open. This will help people get to covered areas as quickly as possible – an important factor if you want to avoid soaked-through (read: grumpy) attendees!
Tip: you might find our guide to event signage useful >
Provide ponchos, umbrellas, and blankets
It can be a nice touch to provide attendees with some additional extras at your event – just in case they forget to bring their own rain coats and layers! Ponchos and umbrellas can go a long way towards keeping people dry and comfortable – as can strategically placed blankets around seating areas.
Incorporate heaters and fire pits
Strategically placing heating and fire pits around your outdoor event can not only help keep people warm, but can give your event a lovely atmosphere, too. There are lots of for-hire options when it comes to outdoor heating – a quick internet search will show up results for your area.
Make it all part of the fun
Take heed from this brilliant outdoor theatre and don’t let a few showers get you down! Sometimes, saving your event is as much about adopting a positive-mental-attitude as it is practical measures.
If your event involves entertainment – have your performers prepare a ‘bit’ to do if the weather turns. And you could plan things like lighting around the weather too, making sure you’ve got something atmospheric planned if the skies darken.
Consider food & drink outlets
Most food and drinks vendors will have their own weather-proofing measures in place, but it’s worth checking in with them to see if they need a hand creating additional shelter in case it rains. It’s also worth chatting with them about putting a couple of bad-weather options on their menus – we’re thinking hot drinks (with a tipple of whiskey for those who fancy it) and at least one or two warm dishes.
And on the subject of food, it’s good to remember that this can act as a serious saviour if the weather scuppers your other forms of entertainment. Nothing quite perks the spirits like delicious food and a couple of nice drinks; something to bear in mind when looking for vendors.
Have a clear health & safety cut-off point
Of course, there’ll always be cases where no amount of ponchos and marquees can save an event. Even though there’s a lot you can do to fight the elements, it’s crucial not to forget about health and safety. Always do your research and follow the appropriate health and safety measures before and during your event – and never try to power through if there’s a chance someone could get injured. If there’s a serious storm a-brewing, you need to know when to pull the plug and postpone.
We hope these tips have been useful! When all’s said and done, a well planned event should be able to withstand a bit of unfavourable weather. As long as you’re following health and safety protocols, there’s no reason your attendees can’t have a great time come rain or shine. In fact, the way you handle bad weather might make your event even more memorable, for all the right reasons. Good luck!
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