Transforming a green space into an outdoor concert venue has earned Hamilton's H3 Group a national award.
Claudelands Oval was named Best Venue 2021 by the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) at their annual awards function on July 26. This comes after Claudelands Oval had an impressive debut as a concert venue in February last year when it hosted a 25,000-strong crowd for Six60 Saturdays.
The Hamilton venue triumphed over finalists Whanganui War Memorial Centre for the 2021 Downer New Zealand Masters Games, and Christchurch's Haere-roa for NZ Antarctic Science Conference.
Claudelands was praised by the award judges for its "first foray into large-scale outdoor concerts, which was a complex undertaking with multiple stakeholders in the mix".
"The Claudelands team rose to the challenge and proved themselves to be agile and thorough – delivering a hugely successful event in a previously underutilised outdoor space. Six60 Saturdays was a great example of a venue working for all of its stakeholders."
Managed by Hamilton City Council's H3 team, Claudelands Oval has been the venue for Hamilton's annual A&P Show and Waikato Show for many years, as well as other recent events including Relay For Life and 4 And Rotary Nationals.
However, the space is most commonly used for car parking during large events at Claudelands Events Centre and GLOBOX Arena.
Council general manager of venues, tourism and major events, Sean Murray, said transforming this large green space into an outdoor concert venue required the H3 team to reimagine and redefine its vision for the area.
"It was very much a blank canvas when the idea first came about – the beauty of a large outdoor space like this is you aren't constrained by the four walls of a traditional indoor concert venue so this gave us unlimited scope to play with," said Murray.
"Ensuring Claudelands Oval lived up to the vision we had for it as a concert venue required our team to think creatively to determine the best configuration and overlay all of the infrastructure required, as well as proactively engage with the client, partners and stakeholders such as neighbours to ensure all of their needs were fully understood and met."
After its successful debut for Six60 Saturdays, Murray said the H3 team looks forward to hosting more live music at the oval.
"There are definitely plans in the pipeline for more outdoor concerts at Claudelands Oval so watch this space," Murray said.
Other Hamilton events recognised at the NZEA Awards include Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2021 which was a finalist for Best Arts or Cultural Event 2021, and Balloons Over Waikato which was shortlisted for Best Community or Not-For-Profit Event 2021.