A tent with two stories of glass sidewalls provides a high-class touch for a celebrity venue.
“There aren’t many companies in the U.S. that use glass walls,” begins Todd Barrett of Global Clearspans Inc. in Tempe, Ariz. “Our client base demands it, I guess. We’ve had great success, but we have a whole other clientele where money is not an option—it has to be the best, regardless.” Among this client base is an offsite promoter that contracted Global Clearspans to provide a dual-story tent for after-parties during the NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas in February 2007.
The double-decker, glass-walled tent was rated for 3,500 partygoers. The promoter packed the tent each night during a four-night fiesta, Barrett says, with A-list celebrities such as P. Diddy in attendance. And the tent itself was 100 percent engineered to code, he says—an absolute must for Global Clearspans. As the owner of the company, Barrett says he’s not willing to take any risks. High winds could rip a glass panel out of the structure—“so it has to be done properly,” he asserts.
Barrett says the job originally came to him by way of Rudy LeKar of Full Circle Events in Las Vegas, a long-time friend of Barrett’s and an expert in HVAC. A lot of jobs come in exactly the same way—via partners in the field—since Global Clearspans supplies rental companies with the specialist structures that they don’t have in their inventory. And Barrett works closely with Losberger U.S., not only to purchase the necessary frames, but also to help with the 3-D drawings required to bid the job. “Selling a concept tent like this is very tough,” Barrett says.
But concept tents are less difficult to sell in the specialist market that Global Clearspans serves, where clients may have a million dollars to spend on a tented event for one night. Many tent companies would find it hard to step into the glass-wall market, Barrett says. Clearly the glass takes up quite a bit of room in shipping, but more importantly, the cost difference is enormous. He says that companies can look to spend around $300 to $500 on a piece of traditional sidewall, while 16 square feet of glass can run anywhere around $4,000 or $5,000. For Global Clearspans, the price has proven to be no trouble at all. “Our glass—it moves,” Barrett explains. “It’s paid for.”