How to prep, plan, and pull-off an event in a remote location.
We were enlisted by Production Canada to handle the décor for Night Under the Galaxy: a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with breathtaking mountain views, interactive activations, and more than one kind of real-life stars. Hosted at a deserted mountaintop ski resort in Kananaskis, Alberta, this was not your typical venue. Throughout the fast-paced process, we ran with whatever they – and Mother Nature – threw our way. It’s not every day that our install process is supervised by a curious mama bear and her cubs, and the event team includes Conservation officers brought in to monitor grizzly activity. ‘Expect the unexpected’ is a good place to start – here are three more things we learned from our role in staging an event on the side of Fortress Mountain, to help you pull off an event in a remote location:
- Don’t forget the… No one likes to forget something, no matter where you are. But what’s usually a moderate annoyance becomes a large-scale mission when you find yourself setting up in an isolated ski resort, miles away from the office (or much else!). To make sure you aren’t left in the lurch, you need to go beyond simply double-checking your list. To prep for go-time, our team ran multiple SWOT analyses and brainmapped various possible scenarios to help us identify extra tools, contingency items, or safety materials that we would need to have on-hand. With detailed, thoughtful planning, you’ll make sure you haul in only what’s necessary, without forgetting a thing.
- Don’t trust the weatherman. Mountain weather has a mind of its own, and can change on a whim. During set-up, our particular mountain was in the mood for icy rain, which turned both the roads and the ground surrounding event activations into challenging mud. Any remote location is likely to mean that weather will have an effect on access and set-up, so be sure to consider all weather possibilities when you plan and pack for your event. Luckily, we were prepared with the proper attire and personal protective equipment to work outside during the rain (or probable snow, because… Calgary. Yeah.)
- Don’t run into the woods with strangers! When planning and staging an event in a remote location, it is more important than ever to work with vendors you know and trust. Take the time to get to know your vendors personally, and to learn all you can about their experience and resources during the development phase of the event. You’ll be glad you did when you need to come together and make the unique circumstances work! When it came time to put the plan in action, all of our amazing lighting, production, and décor partners and teams worked together as a unit to make sure we were all as efficient as possible – right down to sharing truck space and labour to get the job done.
We’re excited that Night under the Galaxy was such a great success, and feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work on the project, dreaming up décor for this remote, mountaintop location in our beautiful home province. What remote locations have you worked at recently? We would love to hear how you planned for and pulled-off your experience. And we can’t wait to see where our work will take us next.