8 Tips for Beating Bad Weather at your Outdoor Event

Whether it’s a festival, fundraiser, or you’re planning a garden party event, you’ll know that outdoor event success largely depends on the weather. Even planning your event for the warmer months is no guarantee when it comes to temperamental weather. But with proper preparation, you can organize an outdoor event that’s great for all your guests come rain or shine.

In this post, you’ll find our top tips for planning and dealing with events affected by weather.

Table of contents

Bank on a plan B

Know your outdoor venues

Provide essential amenities

Explore onsite storage

Think about food and drink

Honour health and safety protocol

Keep everyone in the loop

Watch the forecast

Host a weather-beating event

1. Bank on a plan B

Bad weather has the potential to completely derail even the most high-budget event, so it pays to put your backup plan together with an expectation that it may very well come into play.

Alternative entertainment options

If your event revolves around outdoor activities, it’s worth arranging alternative entertainment options to keep attendees engaged – especially if blue skies aren’t on the agenda. Hiring portable pavilions or marquees to shelter event-goers from the rain or to provide respite from the sun is a worthwhile precaution too.

Marquee with floral bunting

Managing multiple outdoor locations

For festivals and other events where guests will be moving between several outside locations, portable outdoor flooring can help prevent everyone from getting stuck in the mud. You may need some leeway in your budget for emergencies. But if you factor your rain contingency plan into the price of tickets from the start, you can still maintain your margins while allowing for any surprises that the weather may hold.

2. Know your outdoor event venues

Knowing that your location is suitable isn’t enough to avoid any operational issues before or on the big day – especially when the wild card of weather is thrown into the mix.

Plan out the logistics

Map out where the various elements of your outdoor event will take place. For example, where hired vendors or paying exhibitors will set up shop, or how any essential equipment will be transported onto the site. Planning these details is key to ensuring that everything is effectively coordinated.

Clear signposting and maps

It’s also important to make sure that everyone at the event – staff and attendees – knows where everything is. Providing maps or signposts and ensuring that all your key areas are clearly labeled helps keep people flowing around the event. Should the weather turn on you suddenly, it’ll help reduce crowds and chaos as people rush to get out of the rain.

Check out the whole location

Beyond the venue itself, outdoor event organizers will also benefit from learning as much as they can about its wider location. Note sheltered spots where you can move your equipment in the event of a downpour or invest in wind blockers for events in notoriously blustery areas. Fine-tuning the conditions of your event can help to preempt weather-related disruptions.

Safety first

When it comes to setting up for the event, making sure all of your structures are securely anchored is an absolute must to avoid a disaster. Toilets seem a bit wobbly? Get them checked over. Marquee looks like it might blow away? Move it to a more sheltered spot or double-check that it’s properly tied down.

3. Provide essential amenities

While amenities may play a seemingly smaller part in the success of an event compared to elements like entertainment and catering, organizers should put the comfort and convenience of attendees first.

Plan for all weathers

Not only rain can put a dampener on an event; it’s worth having a hot weather plan, too. So from waterproof ponchos and blankets to handheld fans and suncream, make sure you’re in a position to accommodate attendees whatever the weather.

Remember the basics

Sufficient seating is also recommended (depending on the nature of the event) and adequate sanitation facilities are non-negotiable. If rain falls, attendees will definitely appreciate a sheltered area where they can continue to enjoy the event in comfort.

4. Explore onsite storage

A waterproof storage solution could be the lifesaver your outdoor event needs so that nothing’s left out in the rain. Hard-wearing plastic lockers ensure weather resistance, providing attendees with somewhere sheltered and secure to store their belongings or even a change of clothes, should the need arise. They can even prove highly useful for any vendors or exhibitors who are also looking for weatherproof storage.

5. Think about food and drink

If there’s a distinct possibility that bad weather could wreak havoc on your event, make sure your catering options are practical and, more importantly, disaster-proof.

Well-stocked vendors

Whatever’s on the menu, a steady supply of fresh drinking water and food is essential – so take the necessary precautions to guarantee your guests are hydrated and well-fed throughout.

Food as an attraction

If the weather does take a turn for the worse, food and drink can even be a saving grace for event organisers when it comes to managing attendee satisfaction. Having a wide variety of food trucks available is often an attraction in itself for attendees, so use this to your advantage in your event plan.

Communicate with vendors

If the skies do turn angry, make sure onsite vendors are ready and waiting to distract attendees from wind and rain with a combination of snacks and hot and cold beverages – perhaps even offering event-goers a free drink to keep their spirits high.

Fish and chips food van

6. Honour health and safety protocol

Risk assessments and an adverse weather policy should be part of every event organizer’s repertoire. Health and safety provisions are of the utmost importance when it comes to planning any sort of event – especially outdoors. It’s your job to put systems in place so that hazardous scenarios, no matter how unlikely, can be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

In case of emergencies

You’ll need first aid kits handy as a minimum, as well as directions to nearby hospitals. But in the case of unpredictable weather, it could also be worth providing extra medical facilities onsite. This is especially true for larger events or events where attendees are more likely to need medical assistance, like sporting activities.

7. Keep everyone in the loop

Working outside in the rain isn’t always easy but, with proper preparation, things can still run smoothly. For plan A – and even plan B – to go off without a hitch, seamless communication with event staff is crucial.

Brief your team

Make the necessary provisions to ensure that all staff understand their role in keeping the event running like a well-oiled machine and are fully aware of procedures in the event of bad weather.

Communication is key

Open communication with both your staff and guests is also vital if the heavens do decide to open. Use technology to your advantage; for example, walkie-talkies are an efficient way for you and your team to communicate in real-time. PA systems or microphones are an even easier way to get a message across to a group of people. Reminding your guests before the event about potential weather disruption allows them to come prepared – whether that’s bringing a raincoat, wearing suitable footwear or packing suncream.

8. Watch the forecast

Taking a proactive approach and making sure your plans safeguard against all types of weather will give you welcome peace of mind and help to ensure that your event is a success for everyone.

Although you can’t book good weather, keeping an eye on the local forecast in the days leading up to your event can give you some idea of what to expect. That way, you can further communicate with guests on the likely essentials and alter your plan to suit.

Host a weather-beating event

Remember that, come rain or shine, a combination of caution, creativity, and careful planning means outdoor events can still be a great success. And don’t forget about event insurance. Designed to alleviate the many worries that event creators face, it offers everything from event equipment cover to adverse weather extensions.

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