Access speaks to Julia Benfield, founder of events company Sneaky Experience Corporate and new wellness festival YOUPHORIA. The event will take place with a 3,000 daily capacity at Knebworth Park in Stevenage from 24-26 September.
Why have you decided to launch this festival this year and what attracted you to the venue?
There’s been a lot of research published about the negative impact the pandemic has had on the activity levels of adults and children – not to mention the mental health load from last year. We want to inspire people to rediscover the joy of connecting with friends and to re-charge and feel good. YOUPHORIA was created to help people enjoy wellness their own way, without any of the judgement.
Knebworth Park has a great reputation for quality experiences and great transport links. The extensive grounds are perfect for YOUPHORIA’s boutique glamping village and programme of performance and activities. It will provide plenty of space for those who want to ease themselves back into festivals at their own pace.
How hard has it been to plan with the lack of certainty around events reopening and possible need for Covid mitigation measures such as reduced capacity?
The last year has been spent planning for such measures. Scheduling YOUPHORIA to the back end of summer was a conscious decision based on the uncertainty of events going ahead earlier in the year. Another consideration was to purposely keep our numbers low even though the space can accommodate many more. The 3,000 daily capacity will create an intimate feel while providing space should social distancing need to be considered.
How supportive has the local authority and police been?
Our teams have delivered and supported a number of festivals over the years including recent large capacity events where Covid guidelines have had to be adhered to. Our expertise and experience are reassuring to the venue, local authorities and the emergency services and communications have been positive to date. Ultimately, we are all working hard to make this an enjoyable and safer event for all.
Who is funding the event?
YOUPHORIA is partnered with Sneaky Experience; both are subsidiaries of Be Part of It Productions Ltd which is funding the project. Celebrating its tenth birthday this year, Sneaky Experience create award-winning events, delivering its unique experiences to both a B2B and B2C audience.
Considering the lack of event cancelation insurance, how difficult has it been to set up?
There’s no doubt the lack of cancellation insurance has presented its challenges, however, we’ve processes in place to ensure we mitigate the risks. We have great relationships with our supplier chain and have worked together on timescales that work for all parties.
Other considerations include the capacity to allow people the space to socially distance and the timing of the festival in line with the vaccination rollout and other government guidelines.
What are your long-term ambitions with the event?
People are more conscious than ever of the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families and friends. Never has there been a better time for fun festival vibes, inspiring speakers and a mix of eclectic experiences. We are already making plans for YOUPHORIA in the North in addition to our southern-based festival in 2022. We want to help people rediscover the joy of self-care and to show that wellness can be fun.