Forest Live at Dalby: Discover what it takes to put on a show at one of England’s remotest venues

Forestry Live at DalbyForestry Live at Dalby
Forestry Live at Dalby
Forest Live returns to Dalby in 2024 after a five year break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The shows will mark the first edition of Forest Live at Dalby since 2019 and will see headline acts Bryan Adams and Nile Rodgers and Chic take to the stage with at least one more big-name artist still to be announced.

Rhodri Jones, National Event Program Manager for Forestry England, shared details of the logistics involved in bringing some of the world’s best-known performers to England’s most secluded concert venues.

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Mr Jones said: “Planning for 2024 started pretty much as soon as the last event finished in the middle of June 2023.

The location offers a fantastic settingThe location offers a fantastic setting
The location offers a fantastic setting

“This year’s the first year we’ve had a partnership model working with Cuffe and Taylor.

“Our priority is to be able to attract A-List talent and our partnership with them has given us access to artists such as Tom Jones, Anne Marie and Bryan Adams.

“Our aim is to appeal to as many different groups of people as possible - the more variety - the better for us.”

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Forest Live takes place at six venues across the country, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, Delamere, Cheshire, Thetford, Suffolk, Sherwood Pines, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire and Dalby.

Forestry Live concerts wll return to Dalby in summer 2024Forestry Live concerts wll return to Dalby in summer 2024
Forestry Live concerts wll return to Dalby in summer 2024

The most shows at any site will be six, with the least being three, with two acts announced so far for Dalby, that means there is at least one more to come.

The forests range in capacity from 5,500 to 10,000 depending on the infrastructure and natural layout of the forest.

Mr Jones said: “The sites are very rural which means that there are various challenges, the local transport networks are constantly calibrated and worked on.

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“The big change for 2024 is that we are now able to offer people sustainable coach travel to Dalby from Malton, Pickering, Scarborough and York.

The perfect location on a summer's eveningThe perfect location on a summer's evening
The perfect location on a summer's evening

“When you make your booking on there is an option to add the coach service to your ticket.”

Providing power for the high drain equipment needed on site is a further challenge faced by Mr Jones. He said: “Due to the rural location we rely on generator power. We look at the power needs for each site and power in the most sustainable way possible.

“We’re very fortunate to have the most natural arena setting, but we have to be really careful with what we do, so we draw on great expertise to make sure we’re not causing harm to the local wildlife and natural layouts - that would be self-defeating.”

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Setting up for the concerts takes about a week, Mr Jones said: “It’s a well-oiled machine, everything happens in a very logical way, staging, fencing, sound and technical, we try to not disrupt the day to day operation of the site and to cause the least disruption possible.

The venue is one of the most remote in EnglandThe venue is one of the most remote in England
The venue is one of the most remote in England

“We also have to consider our food and drink vendors, the standard of food and drink on offer has improved over the last few years, and we now have cuisines from around the world and options for vegans and vegetarians - and we hope to improve this further.

“We also have to make sure we have the required security - essentially we’re arena size shows with arena size artists - the big difference is that they’re performing in beautiful surroundings.”