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How Wincanton’s adaptable approach helped make Latitude 2018 a success

Comment | 29 May 2019


By Jonathan Shortis, Director of Energy at Wincanton

For many people across the UK, the summer months are festival season. Festivals have increased in popularity over the course of the last 10-15 years, with the big-hitters such as Glastonbury now joined by a wealth of events of all sizes across the country.

Although the music and entertainment attracts visitors, the overall experience is often defined by other factors. One of these is a clean and accessible water supply, which is essential for keeping festival-goers clean, hydrated and fed.

Paying visitors see this as a given, but providing this resource takes planning. Wincanton’s Water Services team has provided this service for more than a decade, working with organisers of some of the most popular events in the country.

Water, water everywhere

The biggest challenge we face is planning for all eventualities. Whether festival sites are located in remote, countryside settings or in cities, there are many factors to consider.

The job starts some time before the event opens to the public. The first step is site visits to calculate volumes needed, tank locations on-site and delivery schedules. For typical rural events, we provide 100,000-litre refillable bladder tanks; while in urban locations, multiple smaller tanks that store around 1,000 litres can be spread out across the site.

Once this groundwork is complete, we work closely with organisers to coordinate deliveries. From this, we can create an outline schedule, which informs shift patterns for drivers and vehicles.

With this organised, we arrange pick-ups from our network of water suppliers across the UK. Our network means we have suppliers in many locations, helping to reduce miles on the road and potential delays.

An adaptable approach for Latitude 2018

But even with the most careful planning, things can change, as we learnt during our work with Latitude Festival in 2018. Due to our long-standing relationship with Festival Republic, which organises and runs the event, Wincanton was asked to manage the water supply for the festival’s Suffolk site.

The best solution involved timed bulk deliveries over the event's six-day running period, with water offloaded into temporary storage tanks. But, with rising temperatures ahead of the start date, the pre-planned operation needed to be scaled up, to provide the necessary volumes to keep festival-goers hydrated and clean.

We arranged a solution that involved extra night-time deliveries, creating a 24/7 service. This helped ease the pressure of peak usage and reduced the effects of loading and offloading speeds.

This was a new approach for the festival and, although there was added planning involved to deliver it, it was a real success. The additional deliveries meant that we were utilising vehicles already assigned to the job, to provide 12% more water than the festival had used in the previous year with minimal cost increase.

Each event needs its own approach, whether that be the right vehicles to tackle challenging terrain and crowded sites or expertise to help manage exceptional peaks in demand. With thorough planning and our experience of supporting major events, we’re proud of our ability to deliver a safe and plentiful supply, whenever and wherever it’s needed.

We are currently recruiting. For details of roles available, please visit careers.wincanton.co.uk

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For further information please contact:

Headland Consultancy

+44 (0) 33 3247 2411