The Parish of Backup’s Village Fete raises an incredible £50,000

Newly named and twice as much fun, Kart-Fest evolves and raises more money to help the industry than ever before

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Eight years ago, 11 teams turned up, had a bit of fun and raised a small amount of money driving some karts for the live events industry. Fast forward to 2023 and The Parish of Backup delivered the Village Fete, its biggest and most successful event to date. the day was set against the backdrop of a traditional British Fete, 350 members of the live events industry came together to have the best of British days out. With CHAUVET Professional once again taking up the headline sponsor slot, and first-time main sponsor 5 Star Cases joining them and providing a colourful selection of flight cases for the Flight Case Challenge, over 40 companies, along with many individuals, descended on Daytona Sandown Park. Outside of the traditional award shows and trade shows calendar, this event has become one of the biggest fun days out for the live events industry.

“Raising the bar every year has always been the challenge,” says Lee Dennison -Vice Chair or Backup and Mayor of the Parish Fete. “As an events industry we are the first to critique, so we always want to keep everyone guessing and engaged on a yearly basis.” 

The kart teams sold out within a week of the event being announced, the Parish Council kicked into action with the Village Fete plan. The idea to host bake offs, best activity and best-looking fete stall was not lost on the live events community, who seized it with both hands. 

“We all know the live events industry is full of very talented and skilful individuals, but the moment bake off was mentioned a whole new eco system emerged from the back stage areas of festivals and theatres!,” Lee continues. “A specialist judging team was needed and was led by Backup Trustee, Peter Heath, who, along with the editors of TPi, LSi and AAA worked their way around the stalls sampling the cakes, playing the games and measuring the bunting. Whilst there was a spring in their step at first, after cake slice no 23 things naturally started to slow down…”

“We were seriously impressed by the standard and number of cakes presented at KartFest. From lemon drizzle, to chocolate, from multi-layered rainbow sponge, to cardamom and almond, the bakers went all-out to impress us – I think I speak for all judges when I say we ate our year’s quota in one afternoon!,” says LSi editor, Claire Beeson. “But of course, there could only be one winner, and a delicious strawberry and lemonade cake by Event Cycle ultimately received the Backup equivalent of the famous ‘Hollywood Handshake’! Well done to all bakers who took part – I can’t wait to see what next year’s entries are like!”

The new Wellbeing Hub showcased the services and support available for the industry and proved a popular space to share stories and initiatives. Over in the ‘Orchard’ learning space Backup was joined by Music Support, Music Industry Therapists Community (MITC) and The Lions Barbers Collective to look at how the live events industry is working together to support mental health and what individuals and companies can do to help and support each other. Backup also launched its new campaign, Are You OK?, to signpost easy, confidential, and sensitive access to both urgent and non-urgent mental health support. Working with industry suppliers and venues, Backup will provide a single point of access for the technical industry’s crew members and freelancers by utilising industry equipment, noticeboards, and venues to place prominent campaign posters with information and QR code providing direct access to support resources.

Next generation engagement was another highlight of the Village Fete, with sponsors Yutree insurance working closely with The Power of Events and Backup to welcome in newly graduated students and give them a taste of the industry. “Each student was given an industry mentor for the day and then took part in a speed networking session in the afternoon,” says Lee. “It not only challenged the students but also the industry to actually try and remember why they got into live events in the first place!”

The karting teams battled it out in the background, the food stalls flowed, craft drinks were quaffed, and raffle tickets sold. When the chequered flag cane down and the laps were counted, the ‘Simpson Flyer’ trophy (in honour of Backups late chairman – John Simpson) was presented to freelance team Faster than a Camera Op to Catering. How fitting they were the team to win it last year – John would have been laughing all the way and celebrating that the freelancers had beaten the rental companies and manufactures again.

“What a great community feel event for such a great cause,” recalls Ajay Parekh, Project Director/ Executive Producer enthuses. “Really loved the village fete theme, being able to mix amongst legendary suppliers from across the industry, and what a great turnout for cakes, fancy dress, fete games and at Kabuki Productions of course the go-karts. It was our first Kartfest and certainly not the last, just name the date and location and consider us booked.”

At the end of the proceedings, and just before the mayor closed the Fete for this year, the newly named Church Roof Appeal had hit and absolutely astounding £50,0000, which will all be used in Backup’s continuing efforts to support the live events industry.

With the sun going down, The Village Fete had carved itself a permanent space in the live events calendar with networking, fun, thrills, spills, beard trims, bake offs and bunting very much part of the July event. 

A huge thank you to all the sponsors and partners that helped deliver this fantastic day, and to all of the parishioners who took part. Backup looks forward to welcoming everyone back and to many more Parish of Backups annual Village Fetes, the next edition of which is planned for Thursday 11th July 2024.

Click here to find out more on how you can sign up to our Are You OK? campaign