Boutique Festivals With Festival in a Box

FIAB talk bringing that Glastonbury vibe to your back garden

Festival fiends, listen up – you don’t have spend hours in traffic chaos to get your fix of craft beer and flower crowns. For Glasto without the hassle, simply slip on your Hunters and saunter into your back garden. That’s the premise of Festival in a Box, which works with leading suppliers and a diverse range of musical talent to help you throw one hell of a party. Though the team has hosted large events, most of its festivals are gatherings of 100-150 people. “You don’t want anything too big,” says the company’s Natty Taraskevics. “There has to be room to take guests on a journey and stumble across secret areas, but it needs to feel intimate.”

Taraskevics is no stranger to showing revellers a good time. Her father, David and his business partner Beckie Parsons are the creative geniuses behind Judgeday, which produces live music tours for the likes of Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Birdie. Keen to capitalise on Britain’s obsession with festivalling, the pair launched sister company Festival in a Box four years ago, running boutique events such as Cornbury, and Greenbelt, as well as private parties.

"There’s such a huge demand for it,” explains Taraskevics. “People want to recreate the best parts of the festivals they’ve been to in their own garden.

Every element of your mini festival is covered, from designing the space to food, entertainment and shelter. Currently in high demand are circus-style big tops. “We’ve done a lot of tipis in the past, but they seem to have had their day. Sperry tents are pretty popular at the moment. They’re majestic and quite classic, so are particularly suited to weddings.”


What about food – is the vibe causal? “Some of our clients like a relaxed, free-flowing approach – sitting on hale bales and eating from food stalls, but generally, we’ll have a sit-down banqueting dinner, complemented by cocktail bars and street food – things like gourmet burgers and paella. We work with the Kerb Collective, a lot.”

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But it’s the imaginative application of each theme that makes a Festival in a Box event stand out from the crowd. Taraskevics and her team create magical worlds that thrill even the most jaded party-goers. There’s been a “rave in a box” to celebrate a wedding anniversary – “The couple met raving and wanted to go back to those hedonistic days” – complete with glow sticks, neon paint and Ibiza DJs; and an enchanted woodland festival.

“That was probably my favourite event,” says Taraskevics. “We set up 25 bell tents for people to spend the night in and projected a moon through the trees, then used lots of uplighters and lanterns to create an otherworldly effect. There was also a bedouin room draped in fabrics and an Airstream caravan converted into a bar, with mixolgists from Claridges whipping up bespoke cocktails. Our client was Scandinavian, so wanted very clean, minimalist decor. We usually splash colour everywhere because festivals are all about fun and sparkle, but this was elegant and luxurious.”


Entertainment comes in all forms – there’s the traditional stage set up with bands and artists of all genres, and quirkier diversions. “We normally have one stage with a rolling programme of bands throughout the day. For larger, rock and roll-style festivals, there’ll be two stages. Then there’s roaming entertainment – stilt walkers, acrobats and people in fancy dress. We work with a wonderful act called Teddy & Otto – two guys dressed as a fox and an otter. They’re hilarious and wonder around with a drinks cart. At a corporate event we held, we had a Narnia-type wardrobe. As the evening progressed, guests would step through it and into a tunnel that led to a secret yurt bar with a roaring fire. Teddy and Otto were there serving frozen vodka shots. As the brief was ‘Back to childhood’, everyone dressed up as their favourite kids’ character. It was fantastic.”


It’s a detailed process – does Festival in a Box source all performers and suppliers or can hosts make their own suggestions? “We’ve a huge network of suppliers, but we’re very happy to facilitate requests and we can contact people on their behalf. One client had seen Anna Mae’s mac ’n’ cheese van, at a festival, so we sorted that, while another asked for James Bay to play at his party. It was just before he got famous, so it was great to be able to make that happen.”

Mac ’n’ cheese and James Bay just a stone’s throw from your bed? Sorry Glasto, we’ll take our festivals all boxed up from now on.

Fancy putting your own festival togethern here are Natty's DIY festivalling top tips

  • Roaming entertainers act as a great way to break the ice while your guests mingle over a welcome drink. There are loads of inventive and hilarious performers out there (and we’re taking much more than just stilt walkers and jugglers) which are a great addition to any festival-style event
  • Lighting is so important to create ambience and pockets of intrigue. Colourful uplighters and simple festoon lighting can make outdoor spots come to life as the evening draws in
  • A late-night snack from a street food stall keeps guests fuels dancing throughout the night. Our favourites are mac n’ cheese, woodfired pizzas or the classic fish n’ chips
  • It's all in the detail - If people are spending the night under canvas, details such as a bottled water and hot water bottles alongside goody bags on pillows containing sweet treats, berocca and face wipes are a nice touch and items your guests will be truly thankful for come morning
  • Don’t forget the morning after! Bloody Mary’s, bacon & egg baps, freshly squeezed OJ and magazines are always welcomed for bleary eyed party goers the next day

You can book Festival in a Box to plan your next Festival-style party by checking out their profile in our Little Black Book

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Posted in Spotlight

by Alix O'Neill
on on 15 August 2016


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