Cheltenham Festival back in the Saddle with Arena Group

Cheltenham Festival returned with four sold-out days of top-level jump racing, supported by Arena Group, 15th to 18th March 2022.

Cheltenham race-course expanded its capacity with temporary venues, including Europe’s largest triple-decker, supplied by Arena. The course hosted up 92,000 people per day, culminating with the world-famous Cheltenham Gold Cup, won for the first time by a female rider, Rachael Blackmore, on A Plus Tard.

Arena Group UK EMEA seating, structures, scaffolding, interiors and furniture specialists worked together to supply bespoke temporary venues and grandstand seating, flanking the course's impressive permanent facilities, giving exceptional views over the home straight. With a design-led approach, the result is a stunning range of dining and viewing experiences for race-goers, which are a vital part of the event’s economy.

Working with the Jockey Club’s Festival Director David McKinnon, preparations began well in advance to design the venues to meet the client’s aspirations. This was followed by structural engineering and logistical planning, preceding the three-month build, which this year included weathering three severe storms. Interior fit-out completed the process, with creative finishes giving a range of contemporary environments, which hosted the range of VIP packages and general admission experiences offered by the Jockey Club.

Arena Group’s structures UK team, project managed by Ben Sly, installed 17,400 sqm of bespoke venues across the site. The record-breaking 185m long triple-decker accommodated 5,000 VIP guests per day, in a range of individually designed suites and restaurants. For 2022, Arena designed and fitted out new looks for the Theatre @The Festival, 480 Restaurant and Final Fence VIP hospitality, also creating contemporary luxurious environments in the Club Room, Chez Roux and multiple Cleeve View and Long Run boxes.

Tom Evans, UKEMEA CEO states:

“Cheltenham Festival is a jewel in the crown of jump racing and we brought an experienced, talented team, who have done incredibly well to support the Jockey Club to bring the event back from lockdown, looking even more impressive.

“Having been on course for 35 years of the Festival, Arena’s bespoke temporary infrastructure is central to Cheltenham Festival being able to expand it capacity to host up to 92,000 on site. Creating this range of venues requires close liaison between our designers and project directors with the client to install pristine demountable structures that feel like permanent venues.”

Arena seating division’s Project Manager Simon Chun delivered the Best Mate and Head On covered grandstands, media platforms and camera towers, along with the upholstered seating within impressive double decker Guinness Pavilion built by the structures team. This innovative venue was configured to host a 60m public Guinness bar at the rear, with staircases leading into the Guinness Village on the ground level, with a standing terrace at the front giving great views of the final fence. The upper floor Princess Royal Stand featured covered tiered seating and Guinness hospitality bars.

Arena’s 2022 equestrian season promises more innovation, with preparations well underway for the major meetings at Aintree, Epsom and Newmarket.