Kilimanjaro Live Christmas at Wollaton

Exclusive: Kilimanjaro Live plans to grow Christmas events portfolio

Kilimanjaro Live is to organise more Christmas light trails this winter following the success of Christmas at Wollaton.

Christmas at Wollaton took over Nottinghamshire’s Wollaton Hall from December 3 – January 6 and was the promoter’s first Christmas event.

Now Kilimanjaro Live is conducting site visits to identify two more venues/locations to expand its Christmas event portfolio.

Kilimanjaro Live’s Simon Skelt (pictured below) was Christmas at Wollaton’s event and site manager. He said: “Our parent company – DEAG in Germany – has organised Christmas light experiences. The Christmas events have been so successful for DEAG and we have always wanted to organise a winter event. COVID accelerated our ambition to do it and DEAG advised us on Christmas at Wollaton.”

Simon Skelt

As the pandemic took hold and gigs fell away, Kilimanjaro Live pressed on with plans to organise the winter experiences. Lucy Levitt, head of business development at Kilimanjaro Live, helped to source the venue.

“Wollaton Hall was a suitable venue and they were keen to have us,” Skelt added. “The site was ideal and the council was on board from the beginning.”

The light trail was 1.2 kilometres in length and snaked through Wollaton Hall’s gardens. The grand finale was projection on the hall itself.

Skelt continued: “What was different about this project compared to other events we do? Length of time. Producing a month-long show was a big learning curve. The longest event we do is Kew the Music, which runs over six days.

“The COVID element was a big learning curve too. We planned the trail with social distancing and the capacities were worked out with two-metre spacing. We also had to make sure that customers understood that the queues they could see were not as long as they thought.”

More than 100,000 tickets were sold for Christmas at Wollaton. Kilimanjaro contracted Visions Group, dbnAudile, Walk the Plank and Streamline, which provided kit and expertise to the event.

“Planning the site for this event was a different ball game,” Skelt said. “Ingress and egress were nice and steady. We had 400 people every 30 minutes. It was in huge contrast to other events where we deal with thousands of people turning up to a concert in a very short space of time.”

Christmas at Wollaton was well received and has had a large amount of praise. What’s next?

Skelt continued: “At the moment, we are looking to extend the Christmas at Wollaton trail for 2021 and make it a bit longer. We want to stick with the same capacity but when we’re fully on sale and if restrictions lift, we can look at going larger. Even though social distancing restrictions end in June, we do not know what will happen with infection rates and COVID-19 in winter, but we can easily escalate our plans.

“We’re hoping to produce three Christmas events this year, including Wollaton Hall and our plan is to build on the events each year. Our intention is to work with the same production teams and see what we can come up with creatively.”

Skelt concluded: “It has been a huge positive to be able to give people work and that helped to drive the project.”

Images: Kilimanjaro Live

Kilimanjaro Live Christmas at Wollaton