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Turning on the style with high-class tents for events
Andrew Venables in one of his kata tents, which originate in Scandinavia. Picture: OX60789 Mark Hemsworth
NO ONE knows more about tents than Andrew Venables.
A veteran of all the leading music festivals, and a man with an enviable reputation for organising parties and social functions, he has spent most of his life staging outdoor events.
So when an opportunity arose to start his own business, he knew exactly what to do – go under canvas.
As director of Katalystic Events, Mr Venables, from Sandford, is proud of his reputation as a purveyor of the finest event tents on the market.
His 7.5 metre-tall Swedish kata tents are giant tipis, but are elegantly-lined, carpeted and decorated with chandeliers and lanterns.
They come complete with stylish furniture and fittings, making them perfect for weddings and corporate events, as well as smarter music festivals.
“They are lovely things,” says the 44-year-old Wallingford-born entrepreneur, who is known to friends and clients alike as just ‘Ven’.
“I used to run events, festivals and nightclubs and have seen a lot of tents, but I can honestly say these are the most luxurious.
“They’re unlike anything you will have seen at the usual music festival. We have turned tents into luxury high-end items, which would look at home on any stately home lawn.”
“Since starting up, we have had lots of interest from people planning weddings, birthdays, festivals, product launches and corporate launches.”
Uniquely, the kata tents, based on traditional designs used by Sami reindeer herders in northern Scandinavia, are also modular, meaning they can be extended, linked and configured to clients’ own specifications, allowing for bars and dance floors – also provided by Ven and his small team.
Ven is the only kata tent supplier to have developed his own seamless linings, which add to the sense of style.
“There are no scrappy edges or unsightly folds,” he says. “We maintain that sense of style and luxury throughout.”
He is keen to distance himself from suppliers of ethnic-themed tipis and bedouin-style tents.
“That is not what we’re about,” he says. “We’re a high-end product, rather than a hippy thing.”
Starting small, Ven now has four tents, though is happy to supply just a pair, for smaller events.
“We build them, put in the linings, interiors and furniture, and hand them over looking beautiful,” he says.
“We will provide someone to look after them for the course of the event, even remaining on site if so requested. And then we will come along and take them down. Our customers don’t have to do a thing – other than enjoy them.
“When people use us, they’re not just hiring a tent – they’re hiring a team of people who will give them their undivided attention.”
He will also arrange water and electricity supplies, toilets and heating and even floodlights, DJs, party bands and artists.
Prices start at £7,500 per weekend for two tents and go up to £20,000 for four tents with a cocktail bar.
He adds: “The feedback so far has been amazing. People have been blown away by what we do. But they have to be seen in the ‘flesh’ rather than just a picture, so I would always encourage people to come and have a look.”
To that end, he is staging a kata tent open day at Fir Tree Country Park, at Warmington, near Banbury, tomorrow and is inviting anyone interested in hiring a bespoke marquee to come along and see them close up.
He said: “I’d love people to come along and see what we’re about. I’m sure they will be surprised – and very impressed.”
- The Katalystic Events showcase runs from 10am to 6pm tomorrow. For details, call 01865 366121, see katalysticevents.com or email email@example.com
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