There was a time when the REM winter schedule was quieter than the summer. Admittedly, it’s still not quite as hectic but this Christmas season has been the busiest on record for REM.
The team have been involved in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Victorian Festival of Christmas for so many years that some people think they can actually remember when Charles Dickens really was a visitor. Festival visitors were magically transported ( by lots of hard work and creativity) into a bygone era of Dickensian-style snowy streets with seasonal carols, traditional Victorian Father Christmas, the ever raucous Fagin’s Tavern, local produce, catering and a larger than ever Christmas gift market.
Carrying on the theme of historic elegance, Bath Christmas Market continued to be one of the top – it’s certainly one of the busiest markets in the country. There is never really a quiet day for our site managers with over 170 chalets to maintain and a city centre site to keep running. The entire population of the Welsh valleys seems to shop at the market so there is always a lively atmosphere.
The two new additions to the REM Christmas calendar prove that if you want a really atmospheric market, you really need a beautiful historic setting. Salisbury Christmas Market was built and managed in the 18th century Guildhall Square, right in the heart of the medieval, cathedral city. With the backdrop of the historic Guildhall and surrounded by dozens of other wonderful buildings this is a truly beautiful setting for the market and with over 100 chalets, a great shopping destination. We also produced a rather wonderful Christmas Lights Switch On ceremony involving lighting effects and pyro.
If we were playing Top Trumps then St Albans would have a very strong hand. The pretty 11th century Cathedral sits right at the centre of a triangle of St Albans ‘oldest’ treasures: the only working Medieval Clock Tower; the oldest Public School in the country; and, for visitors to the market who fancy a pint of real ale, the oldest pub in the UK, The Fighting Cocks.
The Holbourne Museum Lantern Procession has, over many years, grown from a small scale family celebration into a magical spectacle involving the whole community. The theme this year was The Enchanted Forest taking its inspiration from the museum’s displays, in particular the autumn show Gold: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection, and also the work of Japanese paper cut artist Nahoko Kojima. During the procession, birds, beasts, trees and mythical creatures travelled from the Holburne through the streets of Bath to Parade Gardens.
A huge thank you to all the clients, agencies, contractors, exhibitors and traders that we worked with in 2015. Let’s do it all again in 2016!