THE hunt is on to find a company that can help make Blackpool’s Tower Festival Headland one of the premier outdoor event locations in the north.
Marketing Blackpool is advertising a contract – worth up to £1m over three years – to provide the logistical support needed to put on major events including the annual Illuminations Switch On.
The chosen company will provide the event management and production services – such as staging and seating -–needed on the £15m Headland which is situated on the Promenade opposite The Tower.
Marketing Blackpool, which will remain responsible for delivering and promoting events, was recently reprimanded over the handling of contracts linked to last year’s Elton John concert on the Headland.
Cuffe and Taylor Event Management, based in Lytham, complained about the tendering process after they said they were denied the chance to bid for the contract to install the stage.
They said the contract should have been advertised.
A subsequent Government inquiry recommended the council openly advertise contracts in future.
Marketing Blackpool Managing Director, Natalie Wyatt today said: “The procurement process is about finding a company or number of companies that are capable of providing the right infrastructure for future events on The Tower Festival Headland.
“This tender relates only to the infrastructure of the site therefore, what we are looking for are companies that cater in staging, audio visual, lighting, stewarding and so forth, basically everything that happens off stage.
“Marketing Blackpool remain responsible for delivering events on The Tower Festival Headland. However, we would hope to encourage numerous event companies to hire the site and programme activity on it in the future.
“The process also ensures that we have a list of companies that have been properly checked, offer quality and are value for money when selecting which operator to work with.”
As well as last June’s Elton John show, other Headland gigs saw performances from bands The Wanted and McFly.
British Olympic stars flicked the switch to launch the Illuminations from the Headland for the first time last year.
Agencies have until Sunday to express an interest in the Headland contract – advertised through the OJEU tender procurement website. It is valued at between £300,000 to £1m and will last until the end of the 2015 Illuminations season with an option of a further year.