IntroductionThe event analysed in this essay is Hyde Park WinterWonderland, an outdoor Christmas festival that takes place every year from themiddle of November until the beginning of January in London (Hyde Park WinterWonderland, 2017). This event brings thousands of tourists from all overthe globe to the capital of England (Deighton, 2015) and it is the biggestfestive fair associated with the city (Holt, 2017), therefore being considereda hallmark event (Hall, 1989:263).
The main body of the essay is divided in four parts, eachof them analysing a different topic related to the event. First there is abrief history of the event and how it evolved during the years. Following thisthere are three mainly academic parts, the first being the impacts of theevent, then health and safety considerations and finally the event’s nature ofsustainability and how important it is. To conclude there is a short summary of everythingthat was said and an overall evaluation of the good and the bad points of thisevent with some suggestions to how it could be improved in the future. Historyof the EventThis event first appeared after a failed plan ofhaving a Christmas market run in the park in the years of 2005 and 2006 (Shishani, 2012).
In 2007 PWR Events Ltd relaunchedthe event along with The Royal Parks’ event tam and called it Winter Wonderland,building the largest outdoor ice rink in the city of London as well as someattractions and Santa’s grotto to add some fun to the Christmas market (Shishani,2012).Over the years the event has established itself asEurope’s number 1 Christmas destination (TheRoyal Parks, 2014). Now, on its 11th edition, the event althoughplanned by the same team but is almost unrecognizable with over 100 attractionsincluding two circuses, ice sculptures, a giant observation wheel and of coursethe classic Ice Rink that became one of the images of this event (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2017). Impactsof the eventFestivals, much like any other event, play a majorrole in the lives of the community that host the event and have a varietyimpacts such as social, cultural and environmental impacts (Gursoy et al., 2003: 171). These impacts willaffect the perceived sustainability of the event, which is considered one ofthe main goals of every business (Slaper and Hall, 2011:4), and that is why it is essential toevaluate them when planning the event (Getz, 2005:377; Bladen et al., 2018:386). In addition, the concept of Triple BottomLine is also very important in this analysis, this framework is used to measurethe sustainability of an organization based on the 3 P’s, people, planet andprofit (Slaper and Hall, 2011:4) therefore including all the impacts and sectorin one single measure (Savitz,2012).
One of the sectors where festivals are claimed to havemore impacts that is also directily related to the third P, profit, is economicimpacts (Ritchie (1984) cited in Arcodia and Whitford (2006:8)) such as anincrease of employment and greater income for the host community. These impactscan be measured with a few different methods, such as the multiplier effect,input-output analysis or cost-benefit analysis (Bladen et al., 2018:375-378), the latter being an analytical process thatcompares the costs and benefits of a project revealing to be essential in thegovernment decision of supporting the cause (Mishan and Quah, 2007 online).
Every year WinterWonderland recruits lots of people for a wide variety of jobs like staff and barsupervisors (Haprecruitment, 2017 and HydePark Winter Wonderland, 2017). Another contributor for the economicimpact of this event is the use of media, which generated more than £1 billionin 2011 (Frequency media group, 2016).Like other festivals, Winter Wonderland is used topromote tourism in its host city (Felsenstein and Fleischer, 2003:385), in thiscase London.
Do to its online exposure and being hosted in the already famouscity of London, Winter Wonderland has brought more than 14 million visitorsfrom all over the globe to Hyde Park (The Royal Parks, 2017, 14). Additionally, theincome coming from this event is used to improve the major green spaces aroundLondon, ‘contributing vital funds which go back into conserving and enhancingthe parks for future generations to enjoy.’ (The Royal Parks, 2017, 14online).
Healthand safety considerationsIn every event it is essential to have considerationsthat assure the safety of everyone in the venue in case of emergency thereforereducing its negative impact on the host community. This all starts with themaking of a Crowd Management Plan, which is closely related to risk management,before the event so it can then be implemented as crowd control. Rutherford (2008)stated that an event planner had to examine every possibility and take thesteps to prevent all risks to have an effective risk management. And, if we consider the closeinterrelationship between risk management and crowd management, we can thereforesay that the better the risk management, the lesser crowd control will benecessary (Abbott and Geddie, 2000:269).There are multiple health and safety regulations apartfrom crowd control that need to be taken in mind while organizing an event. Thevenue needs to be inspected, a layout of the event needs to be designed,signage and communication are essential to guarantee a good flow avoiding chaosand security needs to be aware of everything happening inside the venue andcontrol the entrance/exit (Bowdin et al.,2010).
However, in an event of this magnitude two of these considerations mightbe considered more important, and they are communication and security. Firstly, communication, defined as ‘a vast yet simpleconcept wherein there is a transmission of a shared understanding betweenpeople using a variety of tools and techniques and commonly understoodlanguage, symbols, and signals.’ (Rutherford, 2008:184), is crucial in a largevenue such as this one. In total, the place where Winter Wonderland is hostedconstitutes seventeen hectares of land (LUC,2016) proving essential to have a good communication system, so all thedifferent people are informed and can solve problems faster in the case theyappear. Secondly, the different levels of security allow abetter experience to everyone assuring the safety of the crowd as well as thepeople working in the different stands and attractions.
This year WinterWonderland has renewed their security plans by working with the MetropolitanPolice, Westminster Council and every important authority to guarantee theirpractices are new-fangled (Hyde ParkWinter Wonderland, 2017). Between other, the security measures includeextensive perimeter protection, constant monitoring and bag searches at theentrance to confirm no one has any item included on their prohibited items list(Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2017). Natureand importance of sustainabilityNowadays one of the major responsibilities of everyevent organiser is to consider the importance of the environment and create asustainable event, one that can influence the behaviour of everyone relatedwith the actual event as well as the industry in general (Jones, 2014).
To makesure that everyone used the same legislations a framework was created in the UKin 2007, the BS8901 and inspired by this, ISO20121 was created five yearslater, coinciding with the Olympic Games, to be used in a worldwide level (The ISO 20121 Team, 2012). However,these legislations, just like other environmental legislation such as ISO14001,are not applied directly to the event but instead to its management andplanning (Bladen et al., 2018).Hyde Park, the venue of the event and one of the eightparks looked after by The Royal Parks charity (The Royal Parks, 2017) requires the eventplanners to follow the principles of either ISO20121 or ISO14001 in theirevents. Winter Wonderland’s organiser is PWR Event and the company is proud tobe certified to ISO 20121 and tries to produce events as sustainable aspossible.
(Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2007).Some of the steps taken at this event are a careful plan of the energy used inthe event, recycling off-site facilitated for visitors, traders and operators,encouragement of use of public transport, use of local staff crew, re-use of infrastructuresfrom previous years and work with The Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Parks andLocal councils to reduce the event’s impact on the local community (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2010).Unfortunately, these legislations don’t protect thecity or the venue from having environmental impact, in fact every event haspositives and negatives impacts in the environment and it is the role of theevent planner to reduce the damages and maximise the benefits (Bladen et al., 2018). After 2015’s edition ofWinter Wonderland the grass was damaged in Hyde Park Parade Ground, the areawhere the Christmas festival takes place, and The Royal Parks had to get anagency to restore it (LUC, 2016).
Asimilar restoration had happened four years prior due to the same damagescaused by events such as Winter Wonderland (Blyth, 2013) and although it is agood incentive to renovate the grounds of the park, these restorations make itimpossible to access parts of the park creating a rather negative impact onvisitors (Anonymous, 2013). ConclusionOverall, for an event that has only been around for alittle bit more than a decade, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has proved to be afestival to look forward to every year, having been named Europe’s topChristmas destination (The Royal Parks, 2014).In similarity to other festivals,it creates more benefits than costs both in the social and economic department(Gursoy et al.
, 2003:176).This Christmas festival has become a landmark bothwithin the UK and worldwide every year, helping spread the holiday’s spiritbetween Londoners and people visiting the city or its surroundings (Wathen,2017). For many families going to London for Winter Wonderland has become atradition and Hyde Park is now a place that holds many loved stories (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2016).From social media to newspaper articles it is reallyhard to find negative reviews about this festival as everyone seems to love it(TripAdvisor, 2017; TimeOut, 2017). Mandy Mazliah, a writerfor Metro, described the festival as a ‘massive Christmas extravaganza’ (2017)considering it a good activity to do with the kids as there is no entry feeallowing anyone to surround themselves with the festive spirit without goingoverbudget. Finally, because this wonderland has some issues, itwould perhaps be wise to change the location of the event every few years toanother zone of the park, so money does not keep being used to restore Parade’sground grass.
Another area needs to be analysed further and have some changes madeto is Crowd Control and the flow of the crowd as there have been incidents withover crowding in previous years (Livesey, 2015).