What we’ve done in Event Safety

Private Charity Halloween Event, 2013

This was a Halloween gig run on the grounds of a private estate in Dublin. The gig was in a lovely wooded area in front of the main house. There was a huge bonfire, professional pyrotechnics as well as a full stage featuring a great lineup of bands including The Riptide Movement and Jerry Fish.

We got asked to look at this gig around 3 weeks out from the event. Damien Bolger was looking after the production and staging etc. and he suggested to the organiser that he needed someone to come in on the management and safety side of the event. The event had happened the previous year on a smaller scale and everything had been stepped up for this year. 

Damien suggested Cuckoo and we met on site with him and the client. Immediately we knew this could be a beautiful gig. We also knew that there was going to be a little work in it to make sure it was safe. Any event that has a bonfire, never mind one in a lovely wooded area, as well as a professional fireworks display is going to take a little planning and management.

We were really struck by the client and how much he wanted these elements to be highlights, while also understanding that there would be a need for some safety precautions to make sure it all went off ok. Rocket did the pyro so that was always going to be done properly. Donal in Rocket doesn't mess around. 

For the bonfire element we brought in Darren and Martin in Abacus Fire to adivse on the appropriate precuations and equipment etc. They were really helpful and were able to help us put a good plan together for the bonfire element. 

We had Barry and Martin from Guardian Paramedics on site too although they had very little to do, thankfully. Always better safe than sorry though.

We ended up doing Event Management, Event Production and Event Safety stuff for them on the day. 

The gig truly was a beautiful one. The crowd were in great spirits, the bands put on a great show, the fireworks stunned everyone and the bonfire kept us all warm well into the morning.


The general gist of it

  • 1 large bonfire
  • 1 beautiful private estate
  • 600 happy attendees
  • 5 great bands
  • 2 banks of fire extinguishers
  • 1 large fireworks display
  • 1 beautifully lit path
  • 2 vendors selling yummy food
  • Loads of red umbrellas
  • Some SUPER Halloween outfits

Why we loved this one

Jesus, where do we start. This was a stunning gig. The venue itself is amazing. It's an old house that's being renovated with extensive grounds including a lovely wooded area with almost a full tree canopy around 40 foot high, which keeps the elements out. It's a lovely compact site and has scope to develop more year on year. There's another space in the ground that has serious potential once the building work is done.

We also loved the event concept itself. It's a charity gig with full production and a lovely festival vibe organised by a guy who likes festivals and wanted to make a little bit of a difference. That element attracted us to this gig too. We liked the idea of putting on a show benefitting charity, especially one as pretty as this. 

Some of the challenges

The biggest challenge on this gig was the whole 'bonfire in the woods' element. We do a lot of Event Safety work and, even for US, the bonfire was a source of interest from the outset. I wouldn't call it concern as we knew it could be done right but the challenge, we thought, was going to be convincing the organiser to do what needed to be done to make it safe. As it turns out, this wasn't an issue.

We brought in our fire experts and established what needed doing. We went through it with the organiser and we made it all happen.

Beyond the bonfire the weather was the other challenge. It was very wet in the run up to the event. The Saturday afternoon was extremely wet but it cleared up then and stayed dry for most of the gig, thankfully.


happy client says

"Having the team from Cuckoo involved in the event was great. They were on site from early on making sure things were right.

They ended up doing a lot more than the safety stuff they were there to do too.

They just got stuck in and did whatever needed doing to make the event work. Whether it was repositioning the toilets or stringing power for lights, they got it done.

They were easy to deal with and made the whole thing run smoothly. I definitely plan on having them involved again next year."

Event Organiser, Private Halloween Charity Event

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