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Coronation Festival organiser Lee Newton talks to Royal Central

This weekend, the gardens of Buckingham Palace will play host to the Coronation Festival, a spectacular display of exhibitors from up and down the country to celebrate everything British to mark the Queen’s glorious 60th anniversary of her Coronation.

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The Coronation Festival will celebrate the Queen’s 60th Coronation anniversary.

The event has taken two years to plan and the three-day festival will be the icing on the cake, as Royal Warrant Holders will gather in the Palace gardens to show of their products that have given them the royal seal of approval over the years.

Over the three-day extravaganza, innovation, excellence and industry within the UK will be celebrated to honour her majesty’s 60 years. The event has seen a unique partnership between event organisers Media 10, the Royal Warrant Holders Association and the Royal Household.

Ahead of the weekend’s festival, Royal Central caught up with Lee Newton, co-founder of Media 10 and one of the event’s main organisers. Lee, a former market trader founded Media 10 ten years ago and now the company is the force behind some of the country’s most loved events including Grand Designs Live and the Ideal Home Show.

As we chat to Lee, he reveals how it has been privilege to work on the event and how preparations for the festival have left the office “buzzing”, he also reveals how the impending arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child has only added extra pressure!

How have preparations been going ahead of the this weekend?

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Lee Newton is co-founder of Media 10, who have helped organise the three-event.

Preparations for the Coronation Festival have been going fantastically well and the office is buzzing with activity in all areas. After nearly two years of planning it seems strange that we’re only a day away the doors opening. The fact that this is the first time anyone has organised an exhibition of this scale in the gardens of Buckingham Palace has meant that most of the planning has evolved each and every day. Usually Media 10 run their own events, but this time we are organising an event on behalf of the Royal Warrant Holders Association within the spectacular gardens of Buckingham Palace, so it has been a journey of discovery for all of us as the Festival grows and develops.

What kind of planning goes into an event on this scale?

With over 200 exhibitors and three Festival partners, as well as 10 main features and a Gala Concert which will see over 500 performers taking part and being televised to the world via the BBC, precise planning has been essential. Every detail needed to be considered and planned as every change affects each different part of the event. Being the official organisers of the Coronation Festival, Media 10 have to be ready to welcome ideas and feedback from all stakeholders, whilst ensuring that we stay on track with the vision of the event itself.

This is by no means the largest event that Media 10 run, and we are well versed and comfortable with the scale, but one of the biggest challenges for us has been creating an event that offers something for a trade and consumer audience, and links all of the various trades and industry sectors of the Royal Warrant Holders together.  Royal Warrant holders are extremely diverse and come from a wealth of sectors, so it’s been challenging to offer an event that has interesting features that represent the brands individually and collectively, as well as offering a great day out for visitors.

How has the planning been influenced by the location of the Festival?


Lee reveals holding the event as the nation awaits the arrival of the Royal Baby only added pressure.

Media 10 have worked in some of the biggest exhibition centres in the UK and the world, but as an outdoor location with such prestige, the venue has undoubtedly influenced every aspect of creating the Coronation Festival.  Security has been particularly challenging with all 60,000 visitors requiring personalised tickets, a lack of access for deliveries, right through to the protection of the Palace grounds and gardens have all thrown up challenges that have shaped and altered the flow of the event in order to take all of these details into consideration.

What does it mean for the Festival being at Buckingham Palace?

Holding the event in the Gardens of  Buckingham Palace, and in the 60th Anniversary year of the Queen’s Coronation, as well as the event taking place on the same weekend as the nation is due to welcome the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, adds to the pressure! But it also adds to the fact that Media 10 feel enormously privileged to have been picked to work with the Royal Warrant Holders and the Royal Household and run an event of this scale and nature.

The Festival will be the celebration of everything British, what do you think some of the highlights will be?

The Coronation Festival celebrates innovation, excellence and industry within the UK and there will be many highlights of the event itself. The Festival has been split into four different areas: Homes & Gardens, Style Pursuits & Pastimes, Food & Drink and Design & Technology and within each of these areas we will be showcasing the products and services of the Royal Warrant holders, as well as capturing visitors attention with show-stopping features. The Homes & Gardens section will feature a stunning mirrored structure built within the Gardens which will house a series of innovative, sustainable room sets representing craft, interior design, and restoration with a selection of products from Royal Warrant Holders. The Style Pursuits and Pastimes area features a 400 seat raised catwalk, which will show a series of unique fashion shows each day, and tell the story of British fashion and iconic style over the past sixty years. The Design & Technology area will showcase the technological and design advances from 1953 to 2013, while chefs and Royal Warrant holders will be demonstrating their skills on the Tastings and Demonstration stage.  In the evening, the Gardens, with Buckingham Palace as the back-drop, will host a magnificent performance of music and dance. Home-grown UK artists Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Katie Melua, Laura Wright and pop rock band The Feeling top the bill with special performances by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Have you had any strange requests for the Festival?

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A catwalk fashion show will help to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation.

Having worked on many award winning events, Media 10 thought we would have seen it all but yes, we have had many new experiences working on the Coronation Festival.The Royal Warrant holders are such a breadth and variety of companies that for each brand there are a number of areas, products and services that they are keen  to showcase – bee hives in the gardens, terrier racing and requests for  horses and a live equine track within the Gardens have been some of the strangest requests we have had to date!

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