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The World Festival of Joy is an annual two-day event held by the Buddhist community in Europe. This year’s event took place from 22 – 24 June in Thames Ditton, and was entrusted to Clownfish Events, a group who have hosted successful Lantern Floating Festivals in Surrey for a number of years.

The event contained conferences, seminars and appearances by leading practitioners of Shinnyo Buddhism. Shinnyo-en is an international Buddhist community founded on the ancient wisdom and love embodied in the Buddha’s teachings.

In this case study, Clownfish tell us a bit more about The World Festival of Joy, and how they put it together.

Lantern Floating Ceremony

The event included a special Lantern Floating Ceremony to celebrate the arrival of Her Holiness Shinso Ito, the highest-ranking priest of Shinnyo Buddhism and daughter of its original founders.

Lantern floating originates from the ancient Japanese Buddhist custom of remembering friends and loved ones who have passed away. According to Shinnyo Buddhists, lanterns are symbols of our inner light – unique and full of potential.

When individual lights come together, they create a warmth and brilliance that can rise to happiness and courage. The ceremony creates an inclusive space to reflect on all that is good around us, feel a sense of gratitude for the past, an appreciation for the present and a way to build hope and togetherness for the future.

On-site Production

To comfortably accommodate delegates, Clownfish erected ten marquees (including a 4K cinema marquee) and rigged them up with staging, custom backdrops, audiovisuals, lighting and cooling fans.

A vast stretch tent, decked out with coconut matting and picnic tables, provided space for delegates to rest and eat. Clownfish sourced a range of food vendors that catered to guest’s tastes, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan cuisine available.

Clownfish brought with them three 60-kVA generators to power the entire festival site, as well as wireless headphones with the option to translate live content from Japanese into a choice of five languages.

Their partners organised food trucks, water fountains, security, waste removal and toilets, so that clients could focus on the content of their event.

Shohei Nishino, temple director at Shinnyo-en, said: “Clownfish has supported us to host the annual lantern floating festival since 2014 and have always been extremely helpful, flexible and full of ideas to create a real festival atmosphere in a very spiritually important setting.”