Rental company Papakåta were amongst our very first UK Event customers and have been at the forefront of the Nordic tipi event industry for more than a decade.

Founding Director, Richard Monaghan, tells us how he developed a new technique for linking seven tipis, in a circle, to fulfill a customer request. 

This configuration came to be known as the "Firecracker". Thanks to Papakåta's generosity this technique is now widely used by our customers.


How Papakåta created the Firecracker - by Richard Monaghan

Back in 2007, the tipi market in both the UK and internationally was very different to today’s market.

The idea of holding an event in a giant tipi structure was still very new, unusual, and often difficult for potential clients to get their heads around.

The structure of the tents, whilst flexible, didn’t allow for the creation of big event spaces - particularly in the rain-prone climate of the UK.

However, now and then you get a client with a bigger vision, and it’s these clients that challenge us, and drive innovation.


Tipi pioneers

In 2007 we were one of the tipi pioneers, an early adopter of this wonderful product. We were still learning our trade, understanding what was feasible, and where the boundaries were. There was no official training manual, sure, we had a basic set of instructions, but they were in Swedish! We learned as we went, with some painful lessons along the way.

That year, we received an enquiry for a large garden party for 350 guests, to celebrate the 350th anniversary of a local Estate the following June.

Given the history of the family, and the significance of the occasion, they wanted a celebration that would be remembered and talked about, and felt the guest experience of our tents was ideal.

The site visit went well - a beautiful property, with a large grassed lawn that seemed ideal: a clear space of 30m x 30m. However, as the details of their seating plan, catering, and entertainment requirements became clear, the limitations of the tipi structures meant we’d be falling short.

I sketched a plan, 6 tents in a circle with an open centre, and tried to sell them on the idea of a beautiful, central courtyard, open to the sky.


"Why don't you just add another tent in the middle?"

But the Event Planner and client were, rightly, concerned about poor weather on the night, and the effect of dividing the space for guests.

“Why don’t you just add another tent in the middle?” I was asked. 'Emmm... Yeah, well. We can’t, unfortunately the structure won’t allow it'.

I explained about the limitations, the available configurations, and the need to ensure water could drain from the canvas in the heaviest of downpours.

Another 30 mins went by, sketching various configurations and layouts. But given the available space, either the structure didn’t fit the site, or wasn’t large enough to host the guest numbers.

The more we talked, the more excited they got about the 7 tent structure, coming back to it time and again.

We came full circle.

At that time, this was potentially the largest event we had ever done, by quite some margin - I really didn’t want to lose the opportunity.


"If you can make the 7 tents work, I'll book today"

Then the client said “I challenge you: if you can make the 7 tents work, I’ll book today”.

A pause, a rueful smile... 'OK. I’ll do it' I said, aware of the responsibility I’d just taken on.

It’s the PapaKåta ethos: we don’t like saying no, and every problem is an opportunity. But still...

As soon as I could, I called Jon Parr, of Tentipi UK - had anyone done the 7 tent structure? Did anyone have a solution? What was their experience?

Our friends in Sweden had joined larger groups of tipis, but in predictable, cold conditions, too cold to snow, let alone rain.
Essentially, the answer was ‘no’.

I sat down the following day to work on the problem, and in the end the solution was simple: raise the central tent a few feet.


Floor plan for the first Firecracker


7 Tent 240p 3853

It worked beautifully

After considering several ways to achieve this (jacking the legs up, extending the poles), the cleanest and most elegant solution was to purchase longer poles specifically for the job.

Whilst simple, we still didn’t know if it worked, and hadn’t tested the idea.

Time to set up, and much relief and elation when it worked beautifully - almost. A huge deluge two days before the event saw gallons of water pour into the tent, but we solved the problem and noted the adjustment for the next installation.


PapaKata The First Firecracker Round Tables

The event was spectacular, and fulfilled the criteria of the client, and a demanding Event Planner - and opened the door to many such events for both us and the wider Tentipi family.

PapaKåta Founding Director: Richard Monaghan


PapaKata The First Firecracker Papa15




Please click the 'Add Comment' button below if you wish to comment.


Related blog posts

Create More Event Space With Tentipi

Wednesday 20th May 2020

As the world emerges from lockdown, the immediate challenge for the hospitality, event and sporting industries is the need for extra space.

Safe social distancing solutions are the key to getting back to business.

For 31 years Tentipi Event Tents have been supplying imaginative, practical and beautiful structures to pubs, bars, restaurants and venues around the world.

Fully engineered and meeting international fire safety standards, Tentipi Event Tents are easy to build and fast to install.

Tentipi ANTA Photo Competition

Monday 4th May 2020

Tag us in your photos and be in with a chance to win a Zirkon 7 Tentipi Adventure Tent.
We are also giving away a Tentipi Hammock every week for 12 weeks.
The closing date for the Zirkon tent prize is 31st July 2020.
The overall winner will receive a Zirkon 7 Tentipi Adventure Tent (worth £1350).

With so many events being postponed until later this year, it got me thinking about the dozens of tipis I built for winter events during my 11 years running a tent rental business.

Jocke Sundberg is one of three owners of Uthuset, a Swedish tent company with several different parts. Together with Janne Johansson and Kajsa Albrechtsson, Jocke runs a business in a big old barn, Ladan, where you can buy outdoor equipment, primary tents of different shapes, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and rucksacks. Sales are also done through the web shop. Another part of the business is tent rental and a wholesale business is a third. Ladan, the Barn, was renovated and started to be used as a shop and showroom for tents (summer time) in the spring of 2017. Tentipi is one of the exhibition brands.

Imagine the Danish country side in May. Small roads allowing cars, but perhaps mainly bicyclists, to gently roll over the green fields, passing red brick houses, farmlands, tree groves that have seen centuries passing by. Above all of these, blue skies with small white clouds blowing in with the salty winds from the North Sea. And in this Scandinavian idyll fourteen giant beige brown Nordic tipis rises, hosting 1,000 people, as a local Danish banking company wanted to celebrate its 100th anniversary together with customers on a big day out.

1 3 4