Picnic at the Palace is a brand new series of events taking place in July and August at Blenheim Palace combining live entertainment, delicious food and a beautiful backdrop. The events have been created with social distancing front of mind. We had a catch up with founder Francesca Nally to find out more!
Picnic at the Palace is a brand new event – can you describe the concept and experience in a few sentences?
Picnic at the Palace is an experience really like no other, it is a mini-festival of all sorts created in response to social distancing and events. When else would you get to sit under a beautiful pergola covered in foliage with Blenheim Palace as your backdrop, listening to some beautiful live music with a delicious hamper sipping on some cocktails? It really is the full VIP experience.
What do you hope that the setting of Blenheim Palace will bring to the event?
Blenheim Palace is the most ideal setting for this event, the grounds and the Palace are just the most glorious views. Where Picnic at the Palace is set up you can see the great courtyard of Blenheim, the lake and even the whomping willow from Harry Potter. Parking is included in the ticket and the site is very accessible from London.
Food is very important at Picnic in the Palace – can you talk us through what is on offer?
We have spent a long time collating and collaborating with local suppliers to create the most amazing hamper! With a selection of delicious cheeses and flower focaccia bread for dinner, tarte aux framboise for lunch and homemade scones and delicious quiches for lunch. All topped with edible flowers! The food will look almost too good to eat.
The events are taking place over the summer months and so social distancing is something people will need to adhere to. How will Picnic at the Palace use social distancing so that attendees can enjoy the event in a safe environment?
Our event was created in light of the current situation so we aren't trying to adapt a venue or event to the new restrictions. Therefore people’s safety has been at the forefront of every decision we have made - every unit was built in light of the situation so people are socially distanced in their own pergola in groups with a maximum size of six. Also, the gigs are intimate at 200 people per sitting. All our staff will be wearing PPE, you cannot access the front of the stage and the nearest seat is 10m away with social distancing rules for our stage acts as well.
Tell us how you came up with the idea for this event?
Like many other local companies, I was completely shut down due to the current situation. While many people have been able to open up again, companies like mine without events happening did not see a very promising future.
I created Picnic at the Palace in light of the current situation to help offer work and opportunities for people in the events industry. We are a small independent business taking all the risk here - but when you buy a ticket to come to our event you are giving support and work to small businesses like mine, the small artists and acts who haven't had any work, comedians whose gigs were cancelled, stage and lighting hire, engineers and all the amazing staff who didn't have work in the current situation.
I created this event for them and for people to be able to enjoy these amazing things and celebrate in a safe and amazing environment.
Tickets are on sale now for Picnic at the Palace!
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