Tents allow you the freedom of having your event where, when, and how you want it.
When people think about tents, they usually associate them with protection from the elements: the rain, cold, heat, and sun. But tents can offer a freedom you don't have when you choose an event facility. A tent gives you the option to house as many guests as you choose, and to decorate as you choose, without having to work around a room’s size, shape, features, and colors. With clear or windowed walls, you can even showcase the surrounding environment, while maintaining a comfortable climate for your guests.
Below is a description of the different types of tents, flooring, walls, decor, and accessories and what you need to know about each one.
TYPES OF TENTS
There are three major kinds of tents: frame tents, bale-ring or push-pole tents, and tension or Genesis tents. They differ in construction and shape and each has it's advantages and disadvantages. Your Event Specialist can help you determine which is best for your event and location.
The frame tent has no interior poles, but instead a framework of horizontal poles below the ceiling that are often concealed by draping material from the ceiling to the walls. Frame tents are ideal for tight spots because they need little or no clearance around their sides.
The bale-ring tent has a framework of center poles, quarter poles, and perimeter poles. These tents need to be staked to the ground, and as a result, need clearance around their sides.
The tension, or Genesis, tent needs fewer interior poles than a bale-ring tent, and has higher centerpoles, creating a more "open" feeling inside. Like the bale-ring tent, these tents need to be staked to the ground, and as a result, need clearance around their sides.
There are also modular tents, custom tents, clear tents, and more. These tents are not as common and, therefore, not as readily available.
TYPES OF FLOORING
Tents can be installed on many different types of surfaces, including grass, dirt, asphalt, concrete, tennis courts, over swimming pools, etc. If you choose to cover the surface with flooring, you have several options.
A wood subfloor is constructed of wood framing with plywood applied on top. It can be constructed over virtually any surface, including an uneven surface, a moderate incline, or even a swimming pool, providing a safe and sturdy surface. Often, the plywood subfloor is covered with artificial turf or carpeting.
Often referred to as "port-a-path," this rigid plastic subfloor can be applied to virtually any flat surface.
Available in several colors, artificial turf can cover most surfaces, but does not protect against rain or mud.
If the tent is on a level surface, a dance floor can be installed directly onto the ground. It is recommended that a tarp be placed underneath the dance floor if the surface is grass or dirt.
TYPES OF WALLS
Contemporary tents offer several different types of walls at varying heights (8', 12' or 14'). They offer protection against the elements or provide privacy while incorporating your event theme.
The most common wall offers privacy and a clean, white palate for your decor.
The decorative "Cathedral" windowed walls offer additional light and outdoor views.
Clear walls protect your guests from the elements while incorporating the surrounding scenery.
If protection from the elements is not your concern, you can construct walls from various materials including sheer fabrics and lattice covered with ivy.
TYPES OF DECOR
Tent decor offers you endless opportunities to turn your "vision" into reality. You can create virtually any setting or theme, with the level of detail dependent upon your budget. Listed below are some of the more common types of tenting decor.
You can drape the ceiling of your tent in many different ways and with many different materials. The most common techniques used are: fully pleated, minimal pleating, and flat "false" ceilings. Some commonly used materials are velon, muslin, and duvateen, but virtually any flame-proof fabric can be used. There is also the option of backlighting the ceiling liner or casting decorative gobo light patterns on them.
Sidewalls can also be draped using similar techniques as ceiling liners. Full pleating, minimal pleating, and smooth liners are all available.
Partial swaging is used to create interest and focal points. You can use fabric, vines or props to create intricate garlands that are draped across the ceiling of the tent.
Tent poles can simply be wrapped with material or can take on lives of their own with some creative ideas.
Lighting can transform a tent from a simple open space into a dramatic, romantic or magical environment. Color washes, patterned gobos, focused pinspots, and dramatic chandeliers are but a few of the techniques used to transform a tent.
Props and Plants
Props and plants can add interest to your event and also hide undesirable rigging elements related to tenting.
Special event tenting can also offer many other accessories and options. A few of the more common accessories are listed below.
Entry Ways and Doors
An entry to a tent can be as simple as a section of wall removed, or as sophisticated as a marquee entrance or real french doors.
Stairs, Ramps and Staging
Tents can house multiple levels or tiers with connecting stairs or ramps. Staging can be created in varying sizes and heights or be custom made to your specifications.
If the event location does not offer adequate restroom facilities, portable restrooms can be brought in for the event. These restrooms can be as elaborate as a mobile trailer with separate men's and women's rooms that contain individual stalls, sinks, mirrors and ambient lighting.
Heating and cooling is available for your tented environment. If the site does not have the capacity to power these machines, a generator can be used to power them.
There are many other options and considerations when renting a tent. Your Event Specialist will discuss all the appropriate options that relate to your event. Below is a list of additional considerations that relate to most tent installations.
- Permit Assistance
If you have any questions about any of these topics or something that is not listed here, please contact an Event Specialist at (408) 856-3232 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.