Modified marquee hire maximises fundraising at The Swallowfield Show in Berkshire

The event

The Swallowfield Show has been a popular fixture on the calendars of Berkshire folks since Victorian Times. In 2018, The Swallowfield Horticultural Society, organisers of the show, were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for their work in promoting gardening and organising events for the benefit of the community and local charities.

A summertime fundraising bonanza, the annual event is run by volunteers and features main arena acts such as a horse show; then there’s children’s entertainment, live bands, shopping, food and drink, crafts, as well as the famous horticultural tent – where local growers and producers go head-to-head in a bid for best in show.  A display of vintage cars completes a memorable day that local families look forward to every year.

The brief

Time Marquees is an established marquee hire company run by the Christmas family. We’ve always been keen visitors to The Swallowfield Show ourselves, since back in the old days of Grandad Christmas’ prizewinning dahlias.

Following a two-year fallow period due to covid, the show organisers were on the hunt for a new and improved local marquee supplier, so that the show could come back with a bang in 2022. Knowing that we are a reliable marquee supplier in Berkshire with lots of marquee hire options and equipment, they asked us to provide a range of event marquee styles.

Flexibility was crucial because they didn’t know how many trade stall holders would be in a position to attend following the pandemic. The Swallowfield Show organisers wanted to avoid a situation where they had spent money on marquee space that didn’t get used.

This is a fundraising event, so every penny counts – but they didn’t want to compromise on quality. Fast installation and derigging of the marquees was also necessary.

The solution

Our collaborative team worked with the show committee and their other trusted suppliers (e.g. furniture) from the first call, all throughout the planning stages, on the day of the show itself and afterwards. We had a number of telephone and face to face meetings to establish the requirements, agreeing to adapt our plans flexibly to accommodates changes to trade stand bookings.

We’d conducted an initial comprehensive site visit and evaluated their marquee hire choices from previous years, enabling us to suggest more efficient marquee solutions for 2022. For example, we replaced their traditional pole tents with clearspan marquees, which allow easier movement of visitors in and around the structures. Higher quality exhibition tables, sourced by us, eliminated the need for lining paper, saving on cost and waste.

One week prior to the show, our marquee experts met the onsite show manager to mark out the locations of each of the marquees, enabling the streamlined installation of the:

  • Entrance gate
  • Horticultural marquee
  • Craft marquee
  • Food hall marquee
  • Hospitality marquee
  • Bar marquee
  • Dog show marquee

Happily, we reduced the size of some of the large marquees at short notice without any penalty to enable the show to raise the maximum amount for charity.

Time Marquees provided over 1,450sqm of marquee cover to accommodate nearly 7,000 people visiting the show on Sunday 28th August and Monday 29th August 2022. The show raised a total of £8,500 for local charities including: Peter Samuel Charitable Trust, Royal Berkshire Hospital charity, SAFE!, SSAFA and Growing4all, to name a few.

“Time Marquees has delivered an outstanding marquee hire service to suit all our event needs. Everything was such excellent quality – not least their open communication and helpful advice. Nothing was too much trouble and they went above and beyond, clearing the site the day after the show.

“Their willingness to adapt their hire pricing when our needs changed meant we were able to raise more funds for charity. Thank you to them for all that they have done for us and we look forward to working together in future.”

Chairman, The Swallowfield Show

To talk to us about marquee hire for country shows and other events in Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey call us on 0118 973 6444 or email