January is, I’m told by my PA (who must have too much time on her hands, or a classical education, I’m not sure which!), the month of exits and entrances, derived from the Roman god, Janus, who was traditionally depicted as double-faced, one side looking to the past, the other to the future.
Appropriately, January is our time at LRBHT to take our last look at the 2014 event, before we launch ourselves very definitely forwards into the planning for 2015. We have allowed ourselves our brief, annual ‘go-slow’ over the Christmas period, but now the year end finances are fast approaching, so there is a flurry of work to ‘close the books’ and commence budgeting for another cycle. The previous year’s event has been fully de-briefed, and every last detail pored over, internally and with all our contractors, the ‘lessons’ of 2014 (where things have not gone so well) have, we sincerely hope, been learned, and we are now ready to do it all again!
Our office is once again buzzing – meetings with our site team, the Police, our Veterinary Co-ordinator, the Box Office, our corporate hospitality providers, public caterers, our commentators, the organisations which run some of our retail Pavilions and our wonderful plumbers, have all taken place in the last three weeks alone. Of course, it’s hard to believe that planning for one week in September could cause such year round hubbub, even angst! With nearly too many years’ involvement with the Burghley Horse Trials for me to comfortably admit to, I should be able to do it in my sleep. But in the events industry, this level of activity is normal and readily understood, especially when one’s core staff in the Organisers’ Office numbers just seven, with some working only part-time over the winter months.
There is also one small, but significant, factor that comes into play when, each January after the Christmas break, my crew step back into the wooden cabin we call ‘home’: the Horse Trials here still run, and proudly so, according to the traditions evolved over half a century, but they must also evolve incrementally into the new century in order to appeal across the many generations which love our great Event – Janus-faced indeed! There will therefore be some changes to the visitor experience this year – they are exciting, not threatening, I promise! – so watch this space as our plans unfold over the next seven months.