ILEA Quick Tips For Event Planners: May 2017

Tips and tricks for working with tents.

Want to host an event outside—but not outside-outside? Renting a tent just might be the best option for you! Here are a few things to consider:

A tent for every season. A tent for every reason! Find a rental partner that offers a large variety of tent styles to choose from. Seasonal considerations when selecting a tent style are critical to the success of your event. A tent used for a summer BBQ is not necessarily going to be what you want for early or late season events, and certainly not for winter. Your rental partner can help guide you on what style of tent is best suited for your event and climate conditions. A European “structure style” tent has the benefit of integrated roof and wall panels that help seal the tent and provide a much quieter interior environment. Also, the structure style tents’ integrated sidewalls operate similar to a curtain rod and are easier to deal with based on changing weather conditions.

One size does not fit all! Tent styles have evolved from the days of the classic rope and pole tent. Nowadays, tent styles and sizes are only limited by your imagination! Challenge your tent provider and hopefully they have kept up with the times. Within a given tent size, a rental provider may carry as many as six different styles, not to mention many different colors. It is also now commonplace for tents to be installed with leveled wood floors, glass walls, and glass door systems. Integrated heating, cooling and electrical systems can be added at the design stage so everything is clean and looks seamless. Be sure to get educated on what is available. It changes every year.

I’m so hot! For events that require heating or cooling equipment, never cut corners. It is prudent to install a system that is redundant to ensure that your client is asking you to turn down the heat rather than asking if it can be turned up! This is not an area that you want to pinch pennies, as it is critical to the success of the entire rental order. Got gas? What good is the heating system if you run out of propane? Your rental partner should work with you to ensure the heating equipment and propane service are adequate for your event. Don’t forget about the vendors who are going to want to be kept warm during set and strike!

Safety, liability and permits, oh my! Just because something has been done in the past doesn’t mean it can or should be done again in this ever-changing marketplace. Many annual events have needed to evolve as liability, insurance, permits and safety considerations have taken center stage. This is a huge, important element to your event’s success. Your rental provider should ensure that the plan created is going to work properly and most importantly be installed safely. Permits have become increasingly demanding and expensive. Look for “safety packages” that address the concerns of fire inspection from the start rather than learning about these requirements when it’s too late. Your rental provider can help you navigate these areas of concern to ensure your event doesn’t run into any unnecessary roadblocks.   

What do you mean you can’t deliver? Get to know your rental provider and the types of products and services that they offer. Also, find out about their fleet and delivery capabilities. Minnesota has an extremely short summer season and tents are very popular. Your rental provider should know what they are capable of producing in a given week and not go beyond their capacity. Sometimes a good rental provider’s answer has to be, “NO.” This is done to ensure commitments to events already in production are not jeopardized. A good rental provider will only commit to the amount of work that they can safely install. Also, remember, this is Minnesota—Mother Nature likes to show her stuff from time to time! Plan for the unexpected and have back up equipment in case a weather-related incident occurs.

Timothy Smith is The Tentologist and Senior Sales Representative at Ultimate Events. Tim is a 26-year event professional in the rental industry. Tim primarily focuses his efforts working within the sports and sports entertainment segment of the market. Ultimate Events has been a member of the ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter since its inception.
International Live Events Association (ILEA) is the new name for the International Special Events Society (ISES). ILEA represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact