Hard work and dedication – we will always succeed (The A-TEAM) – failure is not an option
Not all tent installation jobs are made equal.
While we are always ready and prepared for obstacles sometimes the sheer number of hurdles can be quite challenging.
Our visit to Clarence was one such job…
In late May 2019, we received a last-minute booking for a festival build in Clarens on the border of Lesotho (1400km) from our factory in Cape Town.
At Dimensions Tents we have a firm belief in not turning down tent installation jobs and to build great working relationships with up and coming events across South Africa and the world.
Early on a Monday morning our team assembled at our office and began loading our 4ton truck and 2ton trailer full of all the necessary gear required to complete the setup of 2000m2s of stretch tents.
The loading went smoothly, and the team was on the road in no time.
Our teams usually love the chance to get out of town and explore our beautiful country while working…
But this work expedition proved to be a lot more challenging than many before.
After stopping at a local weigh bridge and inspecting the truck and trailers load the team was on the road to Clarence.
The drive was going well, and the team was making good time in covering 1400km to the setup location.
The first hurdle
At about 8pm our team was just about to enter Beaufort West when suddenly they felt a big movement on the trailer they were towing.
They immediately stopped and inspected what had happened.
To their surprise the trailer mounting bar had become dislodged from the truck and would require welding repair work.
Our team took a ratchet strap and strapped on the tow hitch and slowly crawled into town where luckily, they managed to find a mechanic who could assist them.
Late and tired they finally reached their midway accommodation in Colesberg and called it a night.
The next morning our team was up bright and early and, on the road, again doing the final stretch out to the festival location.
On arriving at site our team went and introduced themselves to the festival organiser and got a run through of what he would like to achieve.
Apparently, there was an extreme weather warning that had recently gone out with the potential of flash flooding so the event organiser was only too happy that our team was on site.
The Second Hurdle
After setting up camp our teams jumped into action and decided to try get the biggest tents up first before the torrential rain started.
This was a 20x30m and a 15x30m stretch tent.
Upon hammering in the first pegs they realised that there was a massive rock shelf under the venue with only a small amount of soil on top.
Pegging into rocks is never easy and so the battle began.
Luckily our team was prepared; they had a drill and some anchor bolts with them which whch they secured critical points.
Other team members proceeded to hammer pegs into and through the rock shelf be means of brute force and determination, cracking the rock and hammering the steel rebar pegs through.
The Third hurdle
Just as the last of the 2000m2 of tents were setup the rain started.
It rained solidly for the full duration of the event.
This meant our team had to constantly inspect that all pegs were still secure, and the tents were solid for the party happening beneath them.
Luckily, we had no rain related issues during the event, only after.
With 5 days of solid torrential rain the entire venue turned into a muddy pool making it impossible for even a solid 4×4 vehicle to drive.
All attendees of the festival were stranded on the venue for a day until a tractor could be sourced to pull cars from the mudded venue.
On the Monday morning after the event with no sign of the rain stopping the team decided that they will need to break down the tents in the rain.
They were needed in a few days at another event in the Tankwa Karoo (Afrika Burn).
Wet and tired after a tiresome day of striking tents in the rain our teams called it a night.
The Fourth Hurdle
Upon returning to camp our team noticed someone had raided one of their camping tents and had stolen cloths and one of the crew’s blankets.
Thankfully, the event organizer came to their rescue and sorted our crew member out with a sleeping bag and some warm cloths.
The Fifth Hurdle
The next major issue was the mud created by all the traffic on the venue.
It was impossible to drive the truck around the venue to collect the tents and gear as it kept getting stuck.
This was a slight problem as the tents with our team needed to be in the Tankwa Karoo in the next few days.
Battling the elements, the crew decided to carry what they could by hand to the truck.
This was time consuming and extremely tiresome, but with looming deadlines, our team pushed on.
The Sixth Hurdle
Due to the extreme weather, all the tents were wet and now weighed almost double.
They were so heavy that they could not be lifted onto the truck and trailer.
Luckily, a local farmer came to their rescue.
He had seen our team struggling and pushing through against all odds and offered his tractor and a low trailer onto which the tents where rolled.
Next, the farmer proceeded to hitch up our truck to the tractor with chains.
He pulled us for about 5kms to his farm where he got a forklift to load the heavy wet tents onto the truck and trailer.
Our team thanked the farmer for his generosity to which he replied, “I saw you guys struggling but never giving up and just seeing your determination made me want to help you.”
Before departing our crew was given a cup coffee and a warm meal on the farm.
The team was completely blown away by the generosity experienced during this tent installation and will never forget this.
After doing a final once over check on the load, our team was finally back on the road towards the Western Cape.
Tired and muddy but happy and warm inside they made their way back home.
A tent installation job like this is never easy and it takes a solid dedicated crew to be able to pull it off.
We always remind our installers:
You have to have challenging jobs like this to be able to appreciate the easy ones.
Its always sunny at the end of the road and in this case extra sunny as their next location was Afrika Burn with hot desert weather and amazing sculptures and bonfires to enjoy.
One never knows when the next challenging stretch tent installation job will arise, but we do know our A-team will be up for the challenge.