Most of us can recall a time (or two) when we’ve struggled in our backyard or at a campsite to set up a tent for a small family. Are we sure we have all the poles? Is it supposed to lean like that? Who brought the stakes? It can be confusing and frustrating if it’s not something you do often.

Now imagine setting up a tent that spans 60-feet by 130-feet in size and can accommodate upwards of 1,000 guests. This is a whole different ball game! There’s a very good reason why people choose to rent these tents and it’s because the storage, transportation, setup and tear down takes an expertise all its own. While we live and breathe tents, not one of us can do it alone. It still requires a team – and a good game plan – to get everything working the way it should in time for your event.

Let’s take a look behind the scenes at everything that goes on long before (and after) you enjoy your celebration under one of these big beauties.

This 60-foot pole tent takes a team to set up and tear down!
This 60-foot pole tent takes a team to set up and tear down!

Pre-planning

For larger installations of frame/pole tents, we typically send out a crew of 4 to 6 guys. We factor in the distance from the truck to the site and if we need to bring equipment to move the inventory to the site. These details are planned out well in advance of the event, usually during a site visit held months prior. We require all sites to have a PA ONE CALL preformed to make sure all underground lines have been marked prior to our arrival in order to protect our employees and the customer’s property. Larger tents (40′, 50′, 60′ and larger) will take between 5-6 hours to install; however, that does not include dance floor, lights, chairs and add-ons that often accompany the tent.

Set-Up

The first thing we do when we arrive on site is layout the tent in the position it will be placed. For pole tents, we mark this out and drive the stakes for tension. We then lace the bays together by tying them at the seams. For frame tents, we lay out every piece of aluminum, cabling, etc. so that it is ready to be pieced together. We then raise each bay, one at a time, connecting them together similar to A-framing a house.

Here is a frame tent in the process of being set up.
Here is a frame tent in the process of being set up.

Take a look at this pole tent being pushed up with the Tent OX.

Safety Standards

The most important part of our installation process is making sure that the tent is secured properly to manufacturer standards and that all stakes are properly placed. For frame tents, stakes are placed in the feet of the tent or weighted with concrete ballasts. For pole tents, we use stake bars for greater stability. The importance of staking makes for a safe event if weather should become a factor.

Here is a tent secured with ballasts.
Here is a tent secured with ballasts.

First to Arrive, Last to Leave

When it comes to event production, we are the “behind the scenes” company. If your event is on a Saturday, we typically install on a Thursday so the customer, caterer and entertainment has time to set-up under the tent. Most importantly, we treat the property like our own. We are cautious when running equipment to not damage landscaping, as well as meeting with the customer prior to leaving the site to conduct a walk-thru to make sure they are fully satisfied with the installation. The tear down is just as important as the installation. We must make it look like there wasn’t a large event there days prior. We remove all items, even trash! The site is again walked through to make sure nothing is left behind.

Lastly, we are on-call 24/7. We know that with events, you must expect the unexpected. If anything is needed last minute, we can accommodate your needs with our on-call system. It’s our personal priority to ensure the event goes off without a hitch and guests have the time of their life!

What have you always wanted to know about how we set up our tents? Let us answer your most curious questions by sharing them below!

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