Archive for June, 2010

Marquees on sand

Monday, June 28th, 2010

There are times when you’ll be asked to put marquees up on all sorts of different surfaces, one of which is sand. There are a couple of things to be aware of:

Anchoring the marquee down. If the marquee is going up on a sand school then the ground will probably be solid enough under the layer of sand to take marquee stakes as if it were on grass. If it’s on a beech then the soft sand will go deeper so you need longer stakes, more of them or heavy weights.

Dance floors. If you put a dance floor down on sand or even on top of carpet with sand outside eventually the sand will work its way on to the dance floor. From experience I know that’s a bad thing. We didn’t even consider the implications of doing a large wedding marquee on a sand school until we went to pick the marquee up afterwards – the sand had been walked in to the marquee and on to the dance floor. Throw in 150 people strutting their stuff and the effect was like sandpaper scratching our lovely parquet dance floor all night! An expensive lesson learnt.

If you are offering a dance floor in a marquee near sand then use one that can be re-stained (wooden dance floor) or incorporate in to the price re-lacquering the top surface.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Marquee swags and pelmets, there’s a knack.

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Anyone who has a DIY Marquee with our swag upgrade or 9m+ wide linings will know that swags and pelmets are velcroed on once all the other linings are up. The idea is they are there to give a finishing touch to the lining (and they hide all manner of cables and fixings).

If you just velcro the swags up in place without much thought then it will show, these uneven swags for example:

uneven swags
Apologies for the photo quality but you can make out the swags are uneven and not stretched out.

Here’s what they should look like:

good swags
You can see they’re straight and evenly spaced out.

The trick is to pull the swags out straight as you go. The swags don’t need to be velcroed to the roof every inch of the way, if the roof is bunched up a little then pull the swag across it before velcroing. Try to bypass any Velcro that rises up a little on the roof if you can, this will keep the swags looking more even.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Marquee linings – keeping them clean

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Realistically in the marquee hire industry there are some things you can get away with and some things you can’t. For example, if you haven’t had chance to clean a dirty marquee roof you can generally get away with it if you hide it with a lining. What you can’t get away with is a dirty lining, this is the bit that transforms the marquee and needs to be clean.

These are the common causes for a dirty lining:

Dirty hands putting them up: You’ve just knocked in dirty stakes or lots of rusty nails before you have to put the lining up. Solution: Have disposable gloves or a pack of baby wipes in the car.

Dirt dripping down from the roof: Condensation forms in marquees, especially in ones without flooring or ones with breathable flooring (regular readers will know my hatred of that..). If the poles are dirty then that dirt will drip down on to your lovely linings. Solution: Keep muddy groundbars as groundbars and keep the cleanest poles for the roof sections.

Dirt from the ground: Linings can pick up dirt when they’re taken down and dropped on the ground or if there’s no flooring dirt can splash up on to curtain linings. Solution: Gather the linings in to a protective bag as they’re being taken down, avoid letting them drape on the floor if at all possible.

Dirt from transport: leaving linings lying around un-bagged means they can get dirty or damaged in transit. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of completing a really nice marquee only to look up and see a size 10 footprint in the middle of a roof lining.. Solution: Store marquee linings in protective bags whenever possible.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

DJ Areas in marquees

Monday, June 7th, 2010

When planning DJ areas try putting yourself in a DJ’s shoes:

I was once pointed to this forum: DJ forum

There’s one post that was perfect for us so I’ve quoted it in full here:

“Fortunately I only do a couple of marquee gigs each year, but there are four main reasons why I have a strong disliking for these functions:

1) The ground is always uneven, meaning you usually have to put piles of disco cards under your stands & tripods to level them up…and this looks rubbish.

2) If its been raining, then can be very muddy. I had this problem big time at one particular gig last year.

3) They often have a dodgy power supply, either from a generator or from extension leads from a nearby building…and you’re never sure if they are being shared by caterers or the lighting.

4) Lack of headroom. Being at the side of the marquee, we are normally in the area where the roof is at its lowest, and I often find that I don’t have the 9 feet height required by my main lighting tripod.”

Okay, so lets deal with these points in order:

1. There’s not much you can do about uneven surfaces. Don’t increase the dance floor to accomodate DJ’s – dancing will make the records jump etc.

2. Encourage customers to have flooring if there’s any chance of it being muddy. It makes for a better party and means DJ (and your) equipment stays clean.

3. Try to make sure you have a completely separate power lead for the DJ, either their own extension lead from the house or a separate lead from the generator so it doesn’t conflict with anything else.

4. When designing your customers’ layout try to have the DJ area at one end rather than to one side, this means they’ll have greater headroom and also looks more impressive.

I’d also add a couple of my own points too:

5. If possible allow for access in to the back of the DJ area, this saves equipment being carried through eating/greeting areas.

6. If you’ve got lighting controls position them near the DJ, this allows him/her to dim them down when starting their set and helps control the atmosphere.

Thanks to Rob James Entertainment for letting me quote their forum post & thanks for reading

Spencer

Customers decorating your marquees

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

In the marquee hire trade it’s to be expected that sometimes people will want to decorate their marquees. The results can be stunning so there’s no problem there, the problems arrive when they’re not taken away properly afterwards.

The sort of things you come across are:

  • Bits of tape. If left on your metalwork or worse -your roofs and walls they can become a problem. The stickiness doesn’t go away so picks up dirt and ages your marquee prematurely. If there’s tape on your marquee take it off asap.
  • Glitter. This gets everywhere but is actually quite easy to clean off with soapy water.
  • Staples. If people have stapled things to your linings (trust me this happens regularly) then take them out straight away. If a lining goes through the wash with a staple in then you get rust marks and they’re very very tough to get out.

We had a note in our terms and conditions about using tape and staples in the marquees. Did it make a difference? Nope. Did we charge for the work of removing said tape and staples? Nope. It’s just one of those things.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer