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Horniman Garden Party 16-05-13
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Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2009
Post: #1
17-05-2013 11:10 AM

Firstly I want to say that it was fantastic that the Horniman won the Museums of the Night event. The event seemed well attended and it was great to see locals out supporting the event. The contemporary dance/art installation was really great.

However it was such a shame that the catering was so badly organised (in my opinion). The queue for the gin bar was ridiculous. There must have been at least 50 people in the queue at 7pm and even at 8.30pm there was still a queue of 20 people. I didn't bother which was a shame as I would have loved to try the special gin. I can't have been the only person who didn't bother and this is a missed opportunity to raise as much money as possible for the museum (and people might have bought two gins if they didn't have to wait so long!).

Surely the organisers knew that there were 200 + (??) people attending and that at least 80% of those would want a drink at the ADVERTISED gin bar and especially on a Thursday night after work. Quite simply they needed more staff. Waiting in a queue when people could have been enjoying the gardens, the museum and critically the event itself seems such a shame.

And in the cafe itself (where I eventually got a drink after a good 20 mins), there was only one guy making drinks and bless him he was rushed off his feet which I thought was rather unfair on him. God knows how long it would have taken to queue up to get a gin! At all events, you expect to queue for a drink but 20 + minutes is too much.

Further it seemed a shame on what was a lovely evening that the samba band (playing songs inspired by nature) were not playing in the bandstand/pagoda in the garden with stunning views of the park and London. The acoustics in the main hall were not very good and on such a nice evening (and with the majority of people waiting at the gin bar!), it would have been gorgeous to listen to such lovely music wafting through the garden. As it was, only a comparatively few people were listening to them. I am sure the music could have been staggered so it didn't clash with the dance timings in the conservatory. Or perhaps some silly music license permit/law says they can't play music outside??

I don't wish to harsh, it was a lovely evening despite of all the above but it could have been better organised. Sorry Horniman - I know you do a grand job and the museum is such an asset to Forest Hill.

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Posts: 285
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #2
17-05-2013 12:30 PM

I went last night too. We were lucky to get there early and the gin bar at 6.15 only had a few people waiting. I had the rhubarb and elderflower which was tasty... but for the amount, it wasn't worth 6.50. We enjoyed it but even if there hadn't been huge amounts of people waiting, we wouldn't have had another. The queue at the cafe was ridiculous. I couldn't quite believe that people were prepared to wait that long. We went down to Canvas & Cream for dinner later; along with what appeared to be quite a few others.

Otherwise it was a lot of fun. The alternative tour was interesting; nice to hear some unusual stories about the Horniman. And Finbar was very entertaining.

The dancers were a little distracting at the light installation; they seemed to be dancing in old underwear and I don't think I was the only one slightly concerned that there might be a wardrobe malfunction in the nether regions. The actual installation was fun though - very clever and quite mesmerising.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
17-05-2013 12:58 PM

I hope you've emailed the Horniman with your observations, Belle. I'm sure they'll be glad of the feedback.

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Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2009
Post: #4
17-05-2013 01:07 PM

Thanks for your suggestion. I have emailed them!

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Posts: 3,256
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
17-05-2013 01:33 PM

Here's a snippet of what others may have missed.

I didn't quite get the point of the installation, but I don't blame them for my cultural ignorance. I really enjoyed the animation and live music, which was a bit unexpected.

I was a bit disappointed about the queues for food and drink. I quite fancied a caipirinha and the food looked lovely but wasn't going to queue for 20 minutes in the cafe.

A few more events like this would be brilliant and they might not be quite so overcrowded. Hopefully it made enough money for the museum to do something similar more often, especially in the summer. And it was great to see so many people coming to Forest Hill for something a bit different. Just a shame it was not possible to publicise it in some of the more local internet forums.

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Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2009
Post: #6
21-05-2013 10:21 AM

I had a great response from the Horniman. It was the first time that they put on an adults only event and they were surprised by the popularity of the gin bar and will definitely be putting on more staff next time.

Incidentally they had 1200 people attend which is amazing and shows that there is a real desire in FH for that type of event. Why go the South bank when you have top quality culture on your door step!

They are planning a Latin night in August and Sunday concerts during the summer so look out for updates!

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