11th Hour in the action at Hay Festival
Friday, 10 August 2018
imeldaThe Hay Festival has expanded to encompass a broad spectrum of cultural activities
UK - The Hay Festival, an annual festival of literature and the arts, held in Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Wales, has expanded to encompass a broad spectrum of cultural activities. This year’s 10-day event welcomed more than a quarter of a million visitors.
The festival site comprises temporary marquee structures of varying size (capacities vary from a few thousand to less than a hundred) connected by covered walkways and is located in a field on the edge of the town. The infrastructure required to meet the needs of the festival audience and the 800 or so events that take place is significant.
From lectures, readings, concerts and screenings, to discussions, sales, children’s activities, catering, media centre and more besides, Hay Festival presents logistical challenges that might bring a frown to even the most seasoned events professional. This year, Cardiff-based events services supplier 11th Hour was in the thick of the action having been appointed as the event’s lead production company.
To meet the needs of the site’s eight principal venues, as well as peripheral areas on what is a very compact site, 11th Hour supplied full production, including stage and site lighting, staging, audio and AV (in partnership with Stage Sound Services) as well as generators and mains distribution. The provision covered a varied range of requirements, from large concerts to intimate talks.
11th Hour’s project manager, Pete Morgan, reports: “The site is quite tight in terms of moving equipment around and keeping it discreet and safe. Whilst very detailed advance planning and calculation was essential, the fact remains that there is inevitably a degree of fluidity within the brief - you can plan for and anticipate most eventualities, but you also have to be nimble enough to adapt to whatever comes your way.
“Hay was challenging but we succeeded in getting everything into position with the minimum of stress. On top of more than twelve tons of site electrics equipment, including mains cabling and distribution, we put in over a hundred pieces of staging, 300m of truss and more than 100m of pipe and drape, not to mention almost 350 lighting fixtures. On a big open site this would be a breeze but the confines of the Hay site certainly made it interesting!”
In recent times, 11th Hour has expanded its fleet of generators to meet a growing demand for its power and distribution services and uses the very latest in efficient, environmentally friendly technology. At Hay, the company supplied 1,350kVA of generated power to support the existing land mains power supply.
“There is no margin for error at an event such has Hay, where there are so many diverse elements to the programme and so many things going on simultaneously. Even a relatively small disruption to the schedule can throw things way off beam, so the failsafe of complementing the land mains with generators was a must.”
Joe Fletcher, technical director for the Hay Festival sums up: “This year it was decided to give the contract for the full technical install to a Welsh-based company. Having efficiently provided a variety of services over the years, 11th Hour was the obvious choice. From very early on in the process, Andy Hopkins and Pete Morgan struck up an open and supportive relationship with myself and the team.
“All technical elements were completed on time and to a high standard and the sub-contractors 11th Hour engaged, namely Stage Sound Services and Stage Lighting Services - both of Cardiff - were excellent to work with.”
(Jim Evans)

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