Bongo’s Bingo attracted 9,000 people across six wild and successful sell out evenings to their unique high energy party bingo format in Liverpool during the May half term / bank holiday period.
Jonny Bongo and the team wanted to push the boat out to celebrate their third anniversary with a series of special evenings with special prizes and an expanded format. They selected a 1,500 capacity warehouse on Bramley-Moore Dock, which had been used previously for temporary events.
With preparations well underway the organisers encountered a challenge from the licensing department, concerned with the fire regulations around bringing a temporary event into a permanent building. This was when Bongo’s Bingo engaged safety consultants Symphotech to help them secure the event license.
Symphotech worked alongside the Event Manager, Jess Helliar and Production Manager, Mike Pearce in a support role to liaise with the local authority to clarify the application of potentially confusing legislation, putting in place the required paperwork to satisfy the requirements of the safety advisory group at the local authority. They also came in on the ground as part of the events management team to ensure the event’s safety requirements during the evening.
The dockside warehouse was transformed into a circus-themed venue, for an evening combining bingo with an extensive stage production fronted by Jonny Bingo, featuring crazy humour, giant screen footage, dancers, circus performers and a finalé show by singer Kelis, including confetti canons, pyrotechnics, AV displays and music.
Jess Helliar, Events Manager, said: “We knew that Symphotech had worked on Vevo Halloween in 2016 at the same location. When we came up against obstacles meeting the requirements to hold a temporary event in this location, we were recommended Symphotech due to their experience and understanding of the legal requirements and regulations”
Duncan White is Symphotech’s lead consultant for event fire and crowd safety, he says: “We were hired as overall safety consultants for Bongo’s Bingo but we found that it was necessary to work alongside the local authority to deal with issues around fire safety and capacity to ensure the evacuation strategy satisfied all the requirements”
“Temporary events taking place in permanent premises can sometimes cause misunderstanding between some of the responsible authorities in relation to which guidance and legislation takes priority. With the experience that we have here at Symphotech we were able to challenge and push back a little bit with safety advisory groups to focus their attention on the right piece of legislation and importantly, take that pressure away from the client.”
Duncan continues: “The first priority is always to ensure there is a sufficient exit capacity to get the numbers that the client wants. In this case they are well within capacity; the venue is a low fire risk and lends itself to the use of special effects due to its high ceilings.”
Since the event began in Liverpool Bongo’s Bingo has rapidly grown into an international phenomenon, now hosted in over 35 cities across the world.