Anchors and Barriers

From where I am standing, every kite festival has two problems:

Anchors and Barriers

When we fly big kites, we use every last ounce of our baggage allowance for kites and lines. The more we pack, the more we can show. So we must rely on event organisers to provide our anchors and most events struggle. Anchors which are good include:

Provided that we get left with the keys, a 4x4 makes an effective anchor, with the advantage that you can move it around the field but they are expensive and seldom provided in sufficient quantity. They are also an ugly intrusion onto the field.
Permanent anchors.
The Al-Farsi team dig a hole, drop a 1.8m long rebar, complete with cross-pieces into the hard desert soil, then refill with dirt and water, so that it sets like concrete. This is very effective but not every organiser has their own permanent kite field.
Lumps of concrete.
Some organisers have a stock of concrete blocks with some form of fixing, which can be an effective anchor. But this requires cost, preparation and storage between events, as well as equipment for moving them round the field.
Builder's Bags.
A bulk aggregate bag, filled with a cubic meter of sand or gravel is an exceedingly effective anchor but they are even more difficult to move than lumps of concrete. They always seem to be in the wrong place.
So, what about barriers? Many events insist on segregation of kite fliers and audience and they do this by making a temporary fence around designated flying areas. Often the cheapest way to do this is by erecting a row of “road pins” and running barrier tape between them. A road-pin is a piece of rebar that has been bent into a spike and a hook at one end and a point at the other. The point is driven into the ground and the hook is used to secure the tape.

Whilst the motive for this is ostensibly for safety, they provide rusty sharp edges right at kiddy-eye-height. But for large kite fliers, they are the most common source of injury – to kites. When a large inflatable lands on them, the sharp point pierces the skin, then when the kite pulls away, the hook will catch the fabric to ensure the longest possible tear. If the kite takes off again, the pin may be pulled out of the ground, to hang like the Sword of Damocles, ready to fall on some unsuspecting spectator.

Road cones are a better choice but they are more expensive to rent (and too expensive to buy and store for a once-a-year festival).

But there is a solution to both these problems...

Festival organisers, I encourage you to approach your local builder's merchant and ask them to become a sponsor of your festival. This is the plan:

Place Builder's bags at regular intervals all the way round the edge of the arena. Every 20 meters. That gives us enough anchors, in the right place, regardless of the wind direction. It also ensures that the anchors are in a straight line, which means that there is less difficulty with lines crossing when the wind direction changes. It also means that people anchor at the edge of the field, which gives us the maximum space to fly in.

Then, simply run a rope or bunting round the arena, tied to the bags! Perfect.

Safe anchors all the way round. Barriers which won't hurt people or kites.

And for the builder's merchant? He is getting his name all round the arena and is seen to be helping to facilitate an event for the local community. It has got to be worth their time for the goodwill generated. They get their bags (and stock of sand or stone) back at the end of the event, just as ready to sell as when they started.