How to protect ground at festivals

A proactive approach to protecting ground at festivals can make a big difference to the cost of staging your event – a relatively small investment in ground protection mats for hire or sale can save a lot of money on putting the ground back as it was afterwards.

There will always be some damage or disruption after a major event, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect ground at festivals. Instead, you should aim to minimise the damage as much as possible using sensible, affordable methods like trackway mats.

What happens to the ground at a festival?

Outdoor festivals can be held on all kinds of ground, but it’s when they’re held on grass or bare earth that the damage can be most severe.

Soft ground is easily trampled, compacted and kicked about by pedestrians, especially dancing crowds. Worse still, if it rains, all that earth is going to turn into mud, and we’ve all seen the state of British music festivals in rainy summers in the past.

When the rain stops, the ground can be baked solid by the summer sun, making it even more difficult to flatten out any deep ruts or lumps and bumps in the surface – which is why prevention is better than cure.

How do ground protection mats help?

Ground protection mats do more than just put a barrier between feet and earth. Their large area helps to spread the pressure of people, vehicles and equipment passing above.

By distributing pressure more evenly, you remove the potential for individual footprints or tyre tracks. The weight is divided by the area of the mat, so any one point on the ground beneath experiences less force than it otherwise might.

Large numbers of ground protection mats can be laid seamlessly alongside one another, so no matter what area your festival covers, you can create a single, flat and consistent floor for your event.

Why choose trackway mats for festivals?

The availability of ground protection mats for hire means you can rent our trackway mats when you need them, without storing them between events.

Without further regulation changes, there will likely be a huge surge in festivals this summer and our trackway mats can help to saving huge amounts of damage to the land whilst providing your festival attendees a significantly more pleasant surface under foot.

To find out more about ground protection for festivals, call Timbermat today on 0800 012 12 31 or email and a member of our specialist team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Where are temporary roads required?

Bog mats are a good way to create temporary roads and temporary walkways wherever they are needed. They are easy to transport, easy to place in position, and connect together to create a stable roadway with no breaks in it.

In practice, there are very few limits on where temporary roads can be used. Bog mats are versatile and hard-wearing, and can be used in environments where other temporary road mats are not suitable.

For example, timber mats can be used in tidal zones and marshland, and can be stacked in an H-shape to raise the roadway up above the water level if required.

Some other examples of where temporary roadways are required include:

  • To distribute pressure more evenly across soft or waterlogged ground
  • To bridge small gaps, gulleys or underground voids along a route
  • To create a temporary access road to a work site with no vehicle access

The last of those points is very broad and gives an idea of how versatile temporary road mats can be, to create a vehicular route on to all kinds of active work sites.

Just some examples of this are:

  • Grassy fields at risk of churning into mud slicks
  • Wetlands, marshy ground and coastal sites
  • Sites that are ordinarily inaccessible e.g. drained canals

Temporary roadways can also be laid for convenience. For example, if you are hosting an event such as a festival on farmland or similar, a temporary roadway can signal the route for vehicles to take, using ground protection mats to preserve the grass beneath.

Equally on a construction site, a temporary roadway can be used to protect the permanent roadway beneath, so there is no damage to rectify due to rugged tyres and tracks driving over the road surface while the work is carried out.

So temporary roads serve several different purposes:

  • Access
  • Convenience
  • Protection

You can of course create a separate temporary pedestrian walkway to keep people away from vehicle routes, which further enhances safety on sites with public access.

To find out more about our temporary road mats for hire and for sale, please contact Timbermat today and we can help you decide what you need for your future projects.

Sheffield festival falls foul of no ground protection mats

A park festival in Sheffield left residents outraged after a lack of ground protection mats led to the grass being churned into a deeply rutted wet and muddy quagmire.  

The event was called BassFest and was held on the Ponderosa, a designated ‘open space’ in Sheffield, although not officially a public park.  

Organisers Fire in the Park did not lay temporary flooring, so when the weather proved to be severely inclement on the day, there was nothing to prevent the field from becoming a muddy mess. 

 While this is in the true spirit of British festivals, it left a significant clean-up operation, and local residents are not amused. 

 Petition to put right the Ponderosa 

 Paddy Moloney took to to petition Sheffield City Council to restore the land to its previous even and grassy condition. 

 He wrote: “After a festival of music on the Ponderosa Sheffield, we the residents of this area are left with churned up muddy field. 

 The Ponderosa was used up to last week as a sports area for two local junior schools. This summer it has been used more by families for picnicking with their children.” 

 He added that “this all finished” due to the damage done during the event, and such use by local families and students would not recommence until the original condition was restored. 

 ‘Working on it’ 

 In an announcement following the petition, Sheffield City Council member for culture, parks and leisure Councillor Mary Lea said the authorities are working with Fire in the Park on the issue. 

 She added that “full reinstatement” is impossible until the ground is dry – and that the grass will not be reseeded until the spring. 

 Fire in the Park added: “We are fully committed to reinstating the ground and are doing everything we can to make this happen as soon as possible. 

 But with autumn-winter on the way, residents face potentially six months before grass returns to the Ponderosa, all for the sake of proactively protecting the ground in the first instance. 

 It’s a great example of why we often recommend ground protection mats for summer festivals, as you never know when the British weather will turn and clean-up can be costly and a lengthy process. 

How to free heavy machinery stuck in mud

If you need to free heavy machinery stuck in mud, you’re likely to need two things: more heavy machinery and a way to reach your bogged-down equipment.

Where to start with mud-trapped machinery

Assuming the machinery already stuck is not able to escape the mud even with a dry clean roadway, then it’s important to consider not only the weight of the equipment used to pull it out, but also the additional forces that will be exerted during the pulling or lifting process.

Because of this, it’s crucial to spread the load of the lifting vehicle so as to minimise the downward pressure on the mud and prevent another vehicle from getting stuck.

How can Timbermat help?

We supply heavy equipment mats for some of the most challenging working environments, as they can be used in different configurations to overcome obstacles like waterlogged land and even bridging across gaps. These uniquely engineered timber mats are substantially stronger than standard bog mats and are fully tested, making it possible to calculate specific deflection and ground pressure conditions under certain loads.

On extremely boggy land, heavy equipment bog mats can be laid in an H-configuration with mats laid across beneath the main temporary roadway, effectively acting as outriggers to spread the pressure over a larger area.

This can create an access roadway even on extremely challenging sites, providing a means for the rescue vehicle to reach the swamped equipment and haul it out on to the roadway.

Can you build a road to freedom?

In some cases where equipment is only partially bogged down but unable to move, it may be possible to free it by laying a clean, dry and solid temporary roadway right up to the tyres to provide some purchase.

Again, heavy equipment mats are a good choice for this on very wet ground, and we have an extensive range of alternative options that could also be suitable in less challenging conditions.

For this purpose, the idea is to lay a dry roadway in front of the vehicle (or behind it, if attempting to reverse out of a mud slick) and use its own engine and tyre tread to establish enough grip with the textured surface of the timber mats and transfer enough power to drive out on to dry and solid ground.

Timbermat can help free your trapped equipment. Just get in contact with us today to discuss options. It might also be a good idea to be prepared for next time!

The Purpose of Bog Mats

In essence, the purpose of bog mats is simple: protecting the ground when it is subject to heavy use. Without them, you may find the quality of the ground rapidly disintegrating, leading to long-lasting damage which is difficult and expensive to repair.

Before looking to buy or hire bog mats, however, it is vital to know exactly what you’re looking for. There is a broad range of options, and making the wrong decision could lead to damage still occurring.

What are bog mats?

Bog mats are a ground protection solution used to create long-term temporary access roads on construction sites located on or near fragile ground. They help to limit the project’s impact on the surrounding environment and provide access to hard-to-reach areas to heavy machinery.

As well as this, bog mats also help people who work on-site. Even if protection for environmental reasons isn’t a concern, as the ground becomes churned up, muddy and slippery, it becomes more difficult to traverse and can lead to accidents. All of this combines to allow projects to run in a smoother, more efficient manner, helping deadlines be met and decreasing costs.

Typically, bog mats will be manufactured from a variety of wood types, including:

Each type of wood has different strengths and weaknesses, meaning the bog mats used on one project may not necessarily be suitable for the next. If used properly, however, some bog mats can be used again and again for decades, making them a wise long-term investment for any business requiring them for multiple projects.

Who are bog mats used by?

Although it is most common to see bog mats being used to protect the ground in the construction sector, they have a wide range of potential uses and can be applied in a number of ways:

  • Providing temporary flooring for festivals and other outdoor events, ensuring minimal damage to the site
  • Staging areas which are used to hold and sort materials
  • Strengthen weak land, allowing access for cranes and other heavy vehicles
  • Demarcating safe routes through and around sites for vehicles and pedestrians
  • Reducing pressure points on land with buried utilities, basements, storage tanks and other cavities.

This wide range of applications means bog mats are used by a wide variety of businesses, including:

  • Housebuilders
  • Pipeline construction and maintenance companies
  • Civil engineers
  • Wind farm constructors
  • Festival organiser

If you’re working on an outdoor project which is expected to have heavy vehicle or foot traffic, bog mats are the ideal solution to many common problems.

Temporary Roadways and Walkways for the Festival Season

Summer is just around the corner, meaning planning for outdoor festivals and events is now in full-swing. And as event managers UK-wide dot the i’s and cross the t’s, one of the most vital aspects is completely out of their control: the great British weather.

The best will in the world can’t stop the heavens from opening and turning your site into a mud bath, but you can take steps to reduce the impact it has.

Building temporary walkways at festivals and outdoor events

Building temporary walkways at key points throughout your site are a simple, effective way to protect the ground from the worst of the elements at outdoor events. Even if it does start raining, temporary walkways will ensure your guests are able to easily navigate the event.

Although this may seem like a daunting process initially, it can actually be relatively simple. The right temporary walkway will be easy to click into place, making installation fast, and can simply follow the plan you have laid out for stands at your event.

The benefits of temporary walkways

Installing temporary walkways can benefit your festival in a number of ways:

Protect the ground

As well we providing a steady surface to navigate during times of rain, temporary walkways help to protect the ground whatever the weather.

Even small events can have hundreds of people walking over a small area in a single day, this can cause serious damage to areas hosting the events. Installing temporary walkways protects the ground from the stampede of people, leaving your staging area looking almost as good as new once you leave.

Not only does this make cleaning up easier, it helps you remain on good terms with the owner of the land being used to host your event.

Allow vehicle access

Many festivals require heavy vehicles to access the site as part of the setup process, something which can be extremely challenging when the event is being hosted on less-than-solid ground.

If you know where vehicles will need to access, you can create temporary roads for them which allow the vehicles to quickly navigate the festival site, making the process of building larger structures much more efficient.

Create staging areas

Final set-up in the days leading up to a larger event is often characterised by vehicles racing in and out and the finishing touches are put together. This can often lead to vehicles being backed up and make the process much less efficient then it otherwise could be.

Temporary walkways can also be used to create staging areas at strategic locations around the site. By using these, all required tools and materials could quickly be dropped at the staging area, making the process much faster and allowing staff to focus on completing construction rather than unloading materials.

And during the festival, areas used for staging in the build-up could easy double-up as a convenient place for visitors to store their possessions or as a medical area.

Make staff and guest access simple

Throughout the festival, you staff will require fast access through crowds to ‘off-stage’ areas as they seek to keep everything moving. Providing walkways for your staff in these areas will allow them to move much faster, helping them do their job more effectively and the festival run as well as possible.

Many festivals also have performers ranging from musicians to comedians to professional speakers. Temporary walkways in backstage locations will ensure their first experience of your event is walking through a muddy field.

Keep the crowds moving

Opening time for any festival sees massive crowds forming at the entrance, as people seek to get in and enjoy themselves as quickly as possible. This is even more pronounced for larger, multi-day events where people will potentially be bringing a small suitcase, camping equipment, and be desperate to get in and grab the best spots.

Temporary walkways leading from the entrance to key areas make it much easier for crowds to filter through, especially those wheeling larger bags, and also makes it easier for you staff to direct guests as appropriate.

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