For hosting a BJC (with an attendance of 1000) the site will need:
- Absolute minimum of 10,000 square metres of field suitable for camping (that's equivalent to a square 100 m on each side). Unfortunately, many venues with fields won't allow camping on them at all.
- 1000 square metres of gym space (that's equivalent to about 4 tennis courts).
- 250-350 parking spaces. Huddersfield had 240 for an attendance of 800, plus perhaps 20 live-in vehicles on the camp site, and this was sufficient.
- Somewhere to put the public show (this doesn't have to be on site, but if it is more than a short walk away you will have to transport people to and from it).
- Somewhere to put live-in vehicles. In 2014 there were up to 55 of these.
About the indoor space
- If your indoor space has enough toilets, showers, socialising and show space to avoid needing to use external toilets/showers/tents/generator, you will massively simplify and derisk the whole event. In particularly, your site management requirements will be reduced from Major Hassle to Hopefully Very Straightforward.
- Somewhere to put workshops. Classrooms, a second hall?
- An office space for you, for which you can have at least one key (preferably three or four). Ideally a classroom sized space, with power, access to internet (you can bring in a dongle but check you can get a signal), and room to put computers/printer/laminator. The closer this is to reg desk, the easier it will be to cash up and to support the reg desk staff.
- Room to store your merchandise near reg desk. If you are selling tshirts and hoodies, you will have at least four metre square boxes of this stuff and you will also need space to sort it into products/colours/sizes.
- Plenty of room for the reg desk team to spread out behind the reg desk, with a way to limit access to the area behind the desk.
- Reg desk and reg desk storage need to be easy to secure (with heras fence if necessary) when reg desk is closed.
- If there are not enough toilets and showers it will cost you more to bring them in. Government guidance is at least 3 mens' loos, 6 urinals, 10 ladies' loos, two gents' handbasins, two ladies' handbasins, plus facilities for wheelchair users.
- If the venue can provide a 63 amp Power supply to wherever your tents are going, you won't have to hire a generator.
- If the venue can be used for the show you can save a lot of money, but remember that a show needs staging, lights, sound, seating and so forth which you may have to hire in. You will also not be able to us the show venue for anything else on the day of the show.
- If you plan on using the site for running smaller shows (Open Stage, Cabaret), then make sure you check out the facilities beforehand. If the system is complicated then you should consider bringing someone in as a Tech familiar with the site's system.
About the outdoor space
- Site security. If the site is already securely fenced and in a good area, your security and fencing costs will be lower. If the site is physically difficult to fence, or will need several entry/exit points all requiring security, or is in a dodgy area, this will cost you more and be more hassle. Public areas or back gardens right next to your site fencing will be very difficult to keep secure.
- If the venue can provide a 63 amp Power supply to wherever you need external power, you won't have to hire a generator.
- Everything that needs external power will need to be in the same place next to the generator or the supply from indoors. Using your generator will be:
- Shows that are outdoors or in tents. They need a sound system and battery powered systems are not sufficient.
- Any bands playing outdoors or in tents
- Bar fridges
- Any big top
- Any external toilets and showers (except unpowered loos e.g. chemical toilets, hay bales).
- The safety lighting for your campsite.
- Any other safety lighting e.g. for inside marquees.
- You need road access to bring in fencing, tents, caterers. You do not want these folks to drive a long distance over grass, or you may end up hunting for a tractor to pull them out.
- You need water and drainage for caterers and for toilets and showers (again, except chemical toilets or hay bales). Ideally you need a way to get a water supply on or near your campsite.
- You need road access during the event if there is any possibility of needing to resupply the generator or pump out toilets.
What the venue team can do for you
- If the venue have in-house catering and/or a bar, you should be using this fact to negotiate a much better price. Then you will need to consider whether their catering is on a big enough scale, and if not, how you will handle multiple caterers / bar suppliers. In BJC 2008, the Dome did all the catering - they put on extra large-scale veggie meals, and had two separate bars and a café serving food. If you need to bring in a caterer, they will require power, water and drainage.
- A venue that hosts events regularly may be much easier to work with. Doncaster Dome runs events as a main source of income. As a result, the staff were extremely helpful, understood the requirements and worked effectively to get the event running. When we needed to get water to the campsite, they immediately drilled a hole in their building to run a pipe through. Staff at schools can be less accommodating. At BJC 2009, held in a school during the summer holidays, the event was treated by some staff as an obstacle to the normal running of the school.
- Access to key decision makers means you are less likely to be messed around. BJC 2009 suffered because their initial venue did not have a clear chain of command, and the team were not able to consistently negotiate with a single person who had the authority to make things happen. As a result, their venue fell through late in the day.
Types of Sites Used in Past
BJC 2018 used a secondary school
BJC 2017 used a sports centre (same venue as 2007 & 2011)
BJC 2016 used a sports centre (same venue as 2005)
BJC 2014 and 2015 used a secondary school
BJC 2013 used a rural exhibition centre (after negotiations to use a university fell through)
BJC 2012 used a sports centre
BJC 2011 used a sports centre (same venue as 2007)
BJC 2010 used a secondary school
BJC 2009 used a secondary school (after negotiations to use a university fell through)
BJC 2008 used a sports centre
BJC 2007 used a sports centre
BJC 2006 used a sports centre
BJC 2005 used a sports centre
BJC 2004 used a agricultural college (the promised buildings weren't built in time so tents were used)
BJC 2003 used a university
BJC 2002 used a school (community college)
BJC 2001 used a secondary school (after first choice of venue quoted unaffordable price after 2 months of negotiations)
BJC 2000 used a university
Summary: 8x schools, 7x sports centres, 2x universities, 1x agricultural college, 1x rural exhibition centre