Introduction the city (Holt, 2017), therefore being considered a

Introduction

The event analysed in this essay is Hyde Park Winter
Wonderland, an outdoor Christmas festival that takes place every year from the
middle of November until the beginning of January in London (Hyde Park Winter
Wonderland, 2017). This event brings thousands of tourists from all over
the globe to the capital of England (Deighton, 2015) and it is the biggest
festive fair associated with the city (Holt, 2017), therefore being considered
a hallmark event (Hall, 1989:263).

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The main body of the essay is divided in four parts, each
of them analysing a different topic related to the event. First there is a
brief history of the event and how it evolved during the years. Following this
there are three mainly academic parts, the first being the impacts of the
event, then health and safety considerations and finally the event’s nature of
sustainability and how important it is.

To conclude there is a short summary of everything
that was said and an overall evaluation of the good and the bad points of this
event with some suggestions to how it could be improved in the future.

 

History
of the Event

This event first appeared after a failed plan of
having a Christmas market run in the park in the years of 2005 and 2006 (Shishani, 2012). In 2007 PWR Events Ltd relaunched
the 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 some
attractions and Santa’s grotto to add some fun to the Christmas market (Shishani,
2012).

Over the years the event has established itself as
Europe’s number 1 Christmas destination (The
Royal Parks, 2014). Now, on its 11th edition, the event although
planned by the same team but is almost unrecognizable with over 100 attractions
including two circuses, ice sculptures, a giant observation wheel and of course
the classic Ice Rink that became one of the images of this event (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2017).

 

Impacts
of the event

Festivals, much like any other event, play a major
role in the lives of the community that host the event and have a variety
impacts such as social, cultural and environmental impacts (Gursoy et al., 2003: 171). These impacts will
affect the perceived sustainability of the event, which is considered one of
the main goals of every business (Slaper and Hall, 2011:4), and that is why it is essential to
evaluate them when planning the event (Getz, 2005:377; Bladen et al., 2018:386). In addition, the concept of Triple Bottom
Line is also very important in this analysis, this framework is used to measure
the sustainability of an organization based on the 3 P’s, people, planet and
profit (Slaper and Hall, 2011:4) therefore including all the impacts and sector
in one single measure (Savitz,
2012).

One of the sectors where festivals are claimed to have
more impacts that is also directily related to the third P, profit, is economic
impacts (Ritchie (1984) cited in Arcodia and Whitford (2006:8)) such as an
increase of employment and greater income for the host community. These impacts
can 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 that
compares the costs and benefits of a project revealing to be essential in the
government decision of supporting the cause (Mishan and Quah, 2007 online). Every year Winter
Wonderland recruits lots of people for a wide variety of jobs like staff and bar
supervisors (Haprecruitment, 2017 and Hyde
Park Winter Wonderland, 2017). Another contributor for the economic
impact of this event is the use of media, which generated more than £1 billion
in 2011 (Frequency media group, 2016).

Like other festivals, Winter Wonderland is used to
promote tourism in its host city (Felsenstein and Fleischer, 2003:385), in this
case London. Do to its online exposure and being hosted in the already famous
city of London, Winter Wonderland has brought more than 14 million visitors
from all over the globe to Hyde Park (The Royal Parks, 2017, 14). Additionally, the
income coming from this event is used to improve the major green spaces around
London, ‘contributing vital funds which go back into conserving and enhancing
the parks for future generations to enjoy.’ (The Royal Parks, 2017, 14
online).

 

Health
and safety considerations

In every event it is essential to have considerations
that assure the safety of everyone in the venue in case of emergency therefore
reducing its negative impact on the host community. This all starts with the
making 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 the
steps to prevent all risks to have an effective risk management.  And, if we consider the close
interrelationship between risk management and crowd management, we can therefore
say that the better the risk management, the lesser crowd control will be
necessary (Abbott and Geddie, 2000:269).

There are multiple health and safety regulations apart
from crowd control that need to be taken in mind while organizing an event. The
venue needs to be inspected, a layout of the event needs to be designed,
signage and communication are essential to guarantee a good flow avoiding chaos
and security needs to be aware of everything happening inside the venue and
control the entrance/exit (Bowdin et al.,
2010). However, in an event of this magnitude two of these considerations might
be considered more important, and they are communication and security.

Firstly, communication, defined as ‘a vast yet simple
concept wherein there is a transmission of a shared understanding between
people using a variety of tools and techniques and commonly understood
language, symbols, and signals.’ (Rutherford, 2008:184), is crucial in a large
venue such as this one. In total, the place where Winter Wonderland is hosted
constitutes seventeen hectares of land (LUC,
2016) proving essential to have a good communication system, so all the
different people are informed and can solve problems faster in the case they
appear.

Secondly, the different levels of security allow a
better experience to everyone assuring the safety of the crowd as well as the
people working in the different stands and attractions. This year Winter
Wonderland has renewed their security plans by working with the Metropolitan
Police, Westminster Council and every important authority to guarantee their
practices are new-fangled (Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland, 2017). Between other, the security measures include
extensive perimeter protection, constant monitoring and bag searches at the
entrance to confirm no one has any item included on their prohibited items list
(Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2017).

 

Nature
and importance of sustainability

Nowadays one of the major responsibilities of every
event organiser is to consider the importance of the environment and create a
sustainable event, one that can influence the behaviour of everyone related
with the actual event as well as the industry in general (Jones, 2014). To make
sure that everyone used the same legislations a framework was created in the UK
in 2007, the BS8901 and inspired by this, ISO20121 was created five years
later, 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 and
planning (Bladen et al., 2018).

Hyde Park, the venue of the event and one of the eight
parks looked after by The Royal Parks charity (The Royal Parks, 2017) requires the event
planners to follow the principles of either ISO20121 or ISO14001 in their
events. Winter Wonderland’s organiser is PWR Event and the company is proud to
be certified to ISO 20121 and tries to produce events as sustainable as
possible. (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2007).
Some of the steps taken at this event are a careful plan of the energy used in
the event, recycling off-site facilitated for visitors, traders and operators,
encouragement of use of public transport, use of local staff crew, re-use of infrastructures
from previous years and work with The Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Parks and
Local councils to reduce the event’s impact on the local community (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 2010).

Unfortunately, these legislations don’t protect the
city or the venue from having environmental impact, in fact every event has
positives and negatives impacts in the environment and it is the role of the
event planner to reduce the damages and maximise the benefits (Bladen et al., 2018). After 2015’s edition of
Winter Wonderland the grass was damaged in Hyde Park Parade Ground, the area
where the Christmas festival takes place, and The Royal Parks had to get an
agency to restore it (LUC, 2016). A
similar restoration had happened four years prior due to the same damages
caused by events such as Winter Wonderland (Blyth, 2013) and although it is a
good incentive to renovate the grounds of the park, these restorations make it
impossible to access parts of the park creating a rather negative impact on
visitors (Anonymous, 2013).

 

 

Conclusion

Overall, for an event that has only been around for a
little bit more than a decade, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has proved to be a
festival to look forward to every year, having been named Europe’s top
Christmas 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 both
within the UK and worldwide every year, helping spread the holiday’s spirit
between Londoners and people visiting the city or its surroundings (Wathen,
2017). For many families going to London for Winter Wonderland has become a
tradition 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 really
hard to find negative reviews about this festival as everyone seems to love it
(TripAdvisor, 2017; TimeOut, 2017). Mandy Mazliah, a writer
for 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 fee
allowing anyone to surround themselves with the festive spirit without going
overbudget.

Finally, because this wonderland has some issues, it
would perhaps be wise to change the location of the event every few years to
another zone of the park, so money does not keep being used to restore Parade’s
ground grass. Another area needs to be analysed further and have some changes made
to is Crowd Control and the flow of the crowd as there have been incidents with
over crowding in previous years (Livesey, 2015).