Traditional Pole Marquees vs Clearspan Event Structures

Why choose a modern clearspan marquee?

At Field & Lawn, we’re the marquee hire specialists. We understand choosing the right structure for your event is essential. While traditional pole marquees are often a popular choice for many event organisers due to their distinctive style and the atmosphere they create, they do have some drawbacks.

We asked one of our experienced project managers, Dan Acford, about the pros and cons of each structure to get an expert opinion. Having delivered marquees for many high-profile events such as Glastonbury and WOMAD Festivals, Dan is an expert in the events industry and a seasoned professional. Continue reading to hear what he had to say:

A branded gable marquee at an agricultural show

First, what are the differences between the marquees?

A clearspan marquee is an aluminum-framed structure. They have no supporting centre poles, providing a clear internal space. Usually, they have flat gable ends, allowing these structures to be installed in bays, creating large event structures.

They are generally rectangular in shape with flat walls made of a durable PCV. One of the key differences is that the walls on a clearspan marquee can be swapped out to provide window walls or even solid walls.  This gives a good level of customisation for various events and applications.

A traditional marquee, or pole marquee uses supports in the structure to provide stability. This can impact the functionality of the space inside.  They are made of canvas rather than a more contemporary and durable PVC that you will find on a modern clearspan marquee.

Installation considerations

A traditional marquee can only be installed on grass or gravel as they do require guy ropes for structural support. This also means the footprint of the tent is greater than the actual usable space due to the additional area required for guy ropes. In comparison, a clearspan marquee can be installed on most surfaces, including hard surfaces by using ballast weights, and grass.

For example, if you are looking to install a traditional marquee at a stately home, this may damage the grass and may not even be possible if the venue has a grade listing or underground services. 

With a clearspan marquee, a level finish can be achieved, even on sloping sites with integrated flooring.  This is much harder to achieve with a traditional pole marquee as integrated flooring options are very limited.

Election marquee

Visual appeal

The visual appeal of a traditional pole marquee is one of the many reasons organisers often opt for installing this type of structure. They can create a vintage and rustic feel. There is no doubt that they can look fantastic on festival sites.

However, traditional structures tend to be older.  Sometimes, because of this, the structures do show their age more. 

They require additional maintenance and cleaning to keep them in tip-top condition. In addition, traditional structures are prone to needing repairs and are more likely to become damaged due to the more complicated and manual installation process.

When hiring a traditional marquee, keep in mind they are harder to wash and keep clean. Therefore, if a perfect, clean and fresh finish is important, you will need to carefully inspect the marquee before installation.

By comparison, clearspan marquees can be easily machine-cleaned and all our branches have specialist cleaning equipment to ensure that kit arrives clean, smells fresh and looks pristine.

All of our clearspan marquees are on a 3-year PVC renewal schedule, meaning you can be sure your marquee is spotless and ready for your event.

Customisation options

If you require a bespoke design or fit-out for your marquee, a clearspan structure from Field & Lawn allows you to have complete customisability. We can add a range of flooring and lining options, from carpets to vinyl and cassette flooring, creating a completely unique atmosphere.

If you want to create a themed marquee, a scaffolding frame can be created to sit around the clearspan marquee, this allows you to add signage, branding and graphics around the structure.  Alternatively, bespoke branding can be printed directly onto the gable of a clearspan marquee.

You are more limited in a traditional pole marquee as there are no additional options such as flooring, doors, clear roofs or gables. This makes the structures much harder to customise.

Inside the La-di-da Loos at WOMAD Festival

Health and Safety

Whether you choose to install a clearspan or traditional marquee, following correct health and safety procedures is paramount. Due to the weight of the canvas sides used on a traditional pole tent, there are additional safety concerns associated with installing them. Traditional marquees tend to be heavier to hoist and harder to install when compared to our lighter clearspan structures.

There is also the complication of lower wind ratings for traditional marquees, which can pose a serious problem in the UK. Traditional marquees are less resilient to poor weather conditions and can be susceptible to damage or failure in high winds. Clearspan marquees stand up much better to high winds and typical British weather!

Whatever structure you choose, health and safety is our number one priority. Our team will supply all the risk assessments and method statements before the build begins.

Our experts are the best in the business at installing and removing marquees, working closely with event organisers to co-ordinate vehicle deliveries, health and safety management and build schedules.

So, what should you choose?

To summarise, every outdoor event is different and if you want to create a charming rustic feel for your event, a traditional pole marquee will look fantastic.  However, if safety, customisation and high-quality fit-out are important, a clearspan event marquee is probably your best option.

Field & Lawn supplies high-quality premium event marquees for major events with national coverage. Long-term hire or short-term rental, our team are here to discuss your options at one of our local branches. Get your event underway today with Field & Lawn.

What are the benefits of hiring a marquee long-term?

Long term marquee hire from the experts

While marquees are often associated with a wide range of events such as weddings, parties, a corporate event or festival. They have a much wider application when hired for long term use.  

Our specification is adapted to you long term needs, with a range of bespoke options for extended marquee hire.

To explore the benefits of hiring a marquee long term, and look your options,  Project Manager, Helen Middleton shares here insight into extended hire commercial marquees and temporary structures. 

Helen is an experienced project manager and has helped hundreds of business hire marquees for long term requirements.  

How long is long term?

We provide long term marquee hire for a range of businesses, our rental periods range from as little as one week, through to several months.  Our rental agreements are flexible and can always be extended should you need you keep the extra space.  If you have a seasonal storage requirement, we can offer rental agreements to work around your needs.

It’s very common for businesses to extend either the hire term or physical space once the structure has been on site and has started to be used. The benefits are seen quickly!

Popular uses for long term marquees

The adaptability of marquee structures makes them perfect for a wide variety of long term uses. With their versatile design marquees present an ideal solution to longer-term needs. Businesses approach us if their existing structure is undergoing repairs, or when additional space is needed very quickly. In my experience, here are just a few examples of how we have helped businesses and the public sector with long term marquee hire:

Why do businesses choose a long term hire?

1. Cost-effective

Long-term marquee hire can be a cost-effective solution.  Hiring a venue for an extended period often incurs substantial costs, including venue fees, security deposits, and maintenance charges. In contrast, marquees provide a more affordable alternative with reduced overhead costs.

3. Customisation Options

Our marquees can be easily customised to reflect your brand with bespoke gables that feature your logo and brand colours. We have a wide range of customisation options for the interior and exterior of your marquee including various flooring such as vinyl, carpet and plywood options, interior tent linings and other fit-out options.

5. Environmentally friendly

Field and Lawn proudly operate as a carbon neutral company, meaning your marque hire will be carbon free! Furthermore, choosing these marquees for extended periods helps minimise the overall carbon footprint linked to traditional building materials and methods, promoting an eco-friendly alternative for events or disposable products.

2. Flexible

As marquees can be put up and taken down easily, exactly where you need the additional space, they provide a significant amount of flexibility. Our marquees are modular, which means they are constructed in 5m bays.  Marquees can be extended or shortened so over time the space can flex to suit your needs.  We can install a marquee on any ground surface too!  

4. Low maintenance

Our marquees are made from high-quality durable materials that are all quality checked before they arrive on site. Our marquee structures are designed to withstand various weather conditions and are resistant to tearing, UV damage, and water, reducing the likelihood of structural issues. Due to the modular structure of marquees, should any parts of your marquee become damaged or worn components are easily interchangeable without dismantling the entire structure.

How to spec a marquee for long term hire.

long term retail marquee

One of the big questions I get asked is what options are provided in the marquee.  It does depend on how and what it will be used for but our specification is one of the best in the industry.  We adapt the structure based on your needs and can provide everything required for a long term hire.  

Field and Lawn marquees can be hired with soft or solid walls, flooring, lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and windows to create a high quality temporary space. An enhanced specification can be offered for corporate marquee hire for example, luxury linings and glazed bays and doors are often used to create a high end feel that is comparable to a semi-permanent structure. 

Helen's Expert Insight on long term marquee hire

Expert tip on heating and cooling: If your marquee hire will stretch over several seasons, we can offer a flexible hire option for ancillary items to save you money.  For example, you can hire a heater for just the winter months directly from us.  You won’t need to pay for it over the full term of the marquee hire. 

How long does a marquee take to install?

For a 12 x 9m structure, we can complete the marquee installation within a day, for a smaller footprint, it can be installed in a matter of hours. This means you won’t face disruption or delay and your space will be operational within 24 hours.

How fast can I hire a structure?

Field and Lawn have a large branch network and access to over 800,000 sq. ft. of marquee space.  This means we can provide a marquee in a matter of days.  Sometimes, even faster if you have an urgent need. 

We can provide a quick quote and we use experienced in-house installation teams which speeds the process up and provides a quality service.

What about long term marquee maintenance?

If you are hinging a marquee over an extended period, we will maintain the structure.  The initial calculations and design will enable us to provide a safe structure based on your local environment. Periodic checks will be required. We can also check that any means of securing the structure down are still safely in place, whether this is stakes or weighting. Ad hoc checks are also sometimes required following adverse weather conditions.

Whether used for hosting events, creating temporary venues, or providing shelter in various settings, our marquee structures offer a blend of functionality, aesthetics, and flexibility. 

For a competitive quote and cost for long term marquee hire contact us: