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Feb 02, 2024 · 1 min read

Party in the harbour: how Whitehaven Alive brings the community together

Party in the harbour: how Whitehaven Alive brings the community together

When you think of the British summer, it’s hard to miss the bustling festival scene.  

Despite our traditional summer weather of rain and more rain, we love festivals more than ever before. In fact, last year in 2022, over 6.5 million people attended a music festival in the UK – continuing a remarkable post pandemic recovery. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a real growth in smaller festivals being run for the community, by the community. They’re a great way to bring everyone together – and what’s more, they’re a great force for good. We’ve seen festivals reinvigorate communities after the pandemic, promoting local artists, and even fundraising in memory of a loved one. 

At TryBooking, we take pride in supporting community festivals across the UK with our low-cost online ticketing solution. And as the days start to grow shorter and autumn approaches, we thought it would be fitting to bid one last farewell to summer by going behind the scenes at a great community festival: Whitehaven Alive. 

What is Whitehaven Alive?

Founded in 2022 by local entrepreneurs Ollie Hodgson and Liz Cannon, Whitehaven Alive is an urban festival which aims to bridge the gap between music, food, talent, and family entertainment. We’ve been supporting them as the preferred ticketing partner from the start.

Based on the stunning Whitehaven harbour, Whitehaven Alive is a great testament as to how a festival can bring the community together. Guests flocked to the festival from across Cumbria – including some of our own team from the South Lakes.

Over 6,000 people attended the festival’s debut in 2022, with headliners including Chris Moyles and pop rock group Scouting for Girls. And there weren’t just big names – there was an event village on the harbour packed full of local vendors, and even a Disney afternoon for the younger attendees!

With a successful first year behind them, the team were soon planning the 2023 show.

Planning makes perfect

Fast forward a year. A few days before the festival took over this bustling market town again, we caught up with founder Ollie to find out more about what it’s behind the scenes.

When we asked him what it’s like planning a festival, he described it as “an incredibly difficult feat” - and we only agree!

For Whitehaven Alive in 2023, there was some big changes. This included a new music arena situated right on the picturesque harbour, bringing the music together with the vendors and entertainment for the first time – as well as an expanded hospitality offering for VIP guests.

Like planning any event, there’s hundreds of variables to consider – from who’s headlining your main stage to what’s filling your VIP goodie bags. Getting a head start on planning your festival will help relieve a world of stress!

Make sure you pin down the essentials, such as your main attractions and venue, early in your event planning process. Our guide on How To Run An Event has plenty of guidance on what you may want to consider.

Don't stop the music...

Music forms part of the heart and soul of Whitehaven Alive, making it important to choose a line-up that appeals to everyone. This year’s show consisted of themed nights of pop, indie and disco – with headliners including Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Vaccines.

The acts didn’t just consist of chart-toppers, though – local groups, such as LOWES, also took to the Main Stage. When we popped in for a visit, it was great to see so many people enjoying the eclectic mix of entertainment – both young and old!

A beacon of unity

For local businesses, Whitehaven Alive serves as more than just a weekend of entertainment – but also a great opportunity to promote themselves within the community. We loved seeing the wide variety along the harbour walls – with everything from cotton candy to charities, street performers and even a Porsche exhibition.

When we spoke to Ollie, he told us how Whitehaven Alive is passionate about supporting local businesses – something that definitely stands out when you’re there. The vast majority of stalls were from West Cumbria and the surrounding areas, helping to foster economic growth in the local area.

Keeping things safe

One thing that’s important to consider when planning any event is keeping everyone, and everything, safe. With Whitehaven Alive, this is no exception – with over 30 security staff in the venue and Event Village, alongside working with local police.

Making sure you know how many people are in the arena is critical to ensuring safety. Traditionally, festivals do this with tally counters and paper door lists – but the team at Whitehaven Alive made use of the TryBooking mobile scanning app.

This allowed volunteers to easily scan tickets using the provided QR code, providing the same level of security that was once typically restricted to major events. It allows the ticket to be validated quickly to ensure it is valid and helps enforce re-entry restrictions.

Overall, we loved our time up in Whitehaven taking a look at what it’s like behind the scenes. To wrap things up, take a look at what Ollie has to say about using TryBooking:

Here’s some things to remember if you’re planning your own event:

📆 Plan ahead: pin down the essentials of your event early on.

🛍️ Support local: it’s not only good for your community - but can also help you keep cost down too!

🔐 Keep it safe: consider using a mobile scanning app to verify tickets.

We’d like to thank Ollie and the entire team at Whitehaven Alive for taking the time to speak to us.

And for more on how TryBooking can help simplify festival ticketing, check out our festival page.

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