epic.LAN

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News :: EPIC34 1st August Update

EPIC34 1st August Update

After such a long time without large LAN events, we all know the first one back will be a little different. But throughout the pandemic we've been keeping a close eye on the guidance keeping in touch with Kettering Conference Centre throughout ready for our first event back. 

Officially the centre is closed until 2022 (apart from the gym and sports facilities) so the venue is opening specially for us for EPIC34 in October. That does mean that as the centre is operating on minimal staffing there will be a number of temporary changes for this event, combined with extra COVID-safety measures. 

While many of the national safety measures have been lifted, we still have a responsibility to protect our participants and crew members so we'll be making sure we put on as safe an event as possible. You can see the COVID-specific guidelines for EPIC34 on our dedicated page.

From our venue meeting this week, the following areas will be a little different to our usual events:

Spaces Used

We're seeing a lot of speculation on the spaces/capacity of the event. To re-confirm we are using the Lakeside and Arena spaces for the event, as we did for EPIC29 and they will be at normal capacity but with some layout changes to give additional spacing where possible. 

Bar

The bar for this event will be the permanent bar in the Lakeside room. It will be operating on an order + collection basis with a queue, you're welcome to then take your drinks back to your desk or the seating areas in the arena. We have selected this bar with the venue as it is the biggest bar on site and will allow us to operate a queue safely (plus it's probably Lakeside's turn to not have to walk far for drinks). For those in the arena don't worry, it's literally just opposite the arena doors in the opposite room, you don't have to go far. 

Note that as there are no other bars open in the venue while it is partially closed, KCC does need to order its draught beer stock very carefully as there will not be other events that can use it after ours so it may mean that we have to play it safe and under-order and then move over to bottles at the end of the event. We will be working closely with the venue looking at previous event data to get it as close as possible though. Don't worry, there'll be plenty of Jager! 

Catering

The serving area for catering will be in the foyer area outside Lakeside (the board games tables will move to where the catering stations were in Arena), this will allow the venue team to use the small kitchen behind lakeside for prep and hot holding of food. Not having the catering stations in the arena will also help with the temperature and ventilation in that space as having heat lamps and hot cupboards running all day is one of the main heat sources that we have to combat.

The menu will be reduced to simplify preparation for a smaller number of staff, there will technically be a wider range of evening meals but they will stay the same each night instead of the rotating themes. 

As we're expecting more people will be staying off site due to the indoor sleeping, the breakfast menu will reduce this time to a more grab & go style of baps/rolls/cobbs/buns/batches/barms/whatever you call your bread products, as people staying at hotels are likely to have breakfasts included. 

Note that we will not be running the advance meal vouchers, anyone who had them carried over from last year will have them refunded shortly. 

Car Parking

A large section of the car park on the Kids Play & Theatre side of the building has been converted in to a regional COVID-19 drive through testing facility so car parking spaces are significantly reduced this event. But at the same time, those areas of the building are also not operating so it should reduce the pressure as those areas are normally open when we are in the venue too. 

However, we would encourage as much car sharing as possible, particularly if there are people in your group staying at nearby hotels and you can coordinate transport to/from the venue each day and leave cars at the hotel car parks where possible. 

Indoor Sleeping

Indoor sleeping options for participants remains closed at this time. We feel that the spaces we could offer are too small and would still require additional spacing between people sleeping near to each other for a prolonged period of time and do not feel we can do this safely as well as then having to manage those spaces through the night. 

Camping outdoors remains available as well as local hotel options. 

Check-In & Arrival

We will be running staggered arrival times due to additional checks needed on entry. At this time we will be expecting to require COVID Passes for entry, please familiarise yourselves with the requirements for those. 

To ensure the check-in area is spaced out and safe we will be entering via the Boat House room fire exit (we'll put a map up for those who don't know the venue). From there we will go through our slightly longer check-in process to cover our safety measures. Once you have your wrist band you will be able to enter freely through the main entrance. If you're travelling in by car we would recommend you check yourselves in first before loading in any heavy gear in case you're in the queue for longer than usual. 

Payments

All payments on site either with EPIC.LAN or Kettering Conference Centre will be by card only. 

Hygiene

Both us and the venue will have sanitiser points all over the venue and encourage all guests to use them, particularly when approaching venue and event staff at bars/shops as well as after using the bathrooms. 

Ventillation

We will need to keep the ventilation systems running constantly throughout the event this could mean that the temperature drops at certain points, particularly late in the night. With the sizes of the halls it's much harder for us to regulate the exact temperature so we'd recommend that you pack additional layers in case it does get cold in some areas, but it's really important for us to ensure there is a constant fresh air flow. 

We'll continue to update more as we get close, but hopefully this gives everyone some reassurances that we're working really hard with the venue to make sure the event can happen safely and we can get back to LAN this October!