London Calling 2021 stood on the shoulders of other Geocaching Mega events. Quite literally – this thing all began as a result of a conversation that took place over lunch outside of the GeoCoinFest Europe 2019 in Manchester, England. This was the first time an inner-city Mega had been held in the UK. One geocacher suggested to another “We could do this in London”, and the rest is history.
A London based Mega event was first suggested at GC8E3W8 “Geocaching International Film Festival: London” on 11 September 2019. We launched the Tin Pan Alley Band Reunion Tour. The aim of the tour was to celebrate both geocaching in London in general and to promote the upcoming event. The first event took place at the Museum of London GC8GE2K, where there was an exhibition being held on The Clash.
The venue was not formally announced until GC8HXE7 “London Expects Every Cacher To Do Their Duty” on 24 February 2020. By this time, the location changed from Greenwich to Westminster, and we announced that we would be aiming to hold a “large scale” geocaching event on 28 August 2021 at Methodist Central Hall. Further plans were held for more Tin Pan Alley Band Tour dates, and merchandise was created – due to the Covid pandemic, only one further tour date was held. On 20 March 2020, a single cacher attended the event in Dubai GC8J766.
The Geocaching.com listing for London Calling 2021 went live on 28 August 2020, one year prior to the event. This was amid the cancellations of the UK Mega events for 2020, and so the reception was enthusiastic. We quickly reached the required 300 Will Attend logs in early September, and we were finally able to declare that London Calling 2021 would be a Mega event.
Over the course of the next 12 months, the committee was hard at work planning lab caches, side events and hoping that the lockdown restrictions would be lifted in time for the event to go ahead. In the end, we were sufficiently lucky that event restrictions were lifted in July 2021, only just over a month prior to our Mega. We were able to attend both Piratemania and the UK Official Mega in Lincolnshire with a table of merchandise and business cards.
Then came our Mega. We opened up the weekend of events on 27 August, with GC9EBPC “LC21: To The Underworld” in the crypt cafe of St Martin in the Fields just adjacent to Trafalgar Square. This was merely the warmup, as the following day was Mega Day itself. We had around 700 attendees through the doors over the course of the day, immediately becoming the largest geocaching event ever to be held in London.
With thanks to Groundspeak, we were permitted to keep 40 of our 50 adventure lab caches (the entire outside trail) which proved very popular on the day and over the course of the weekend. This leaves a legacy for London Calling 2021.
That evening we ran our “after-party” at London Scottish House nearby, a Community Celebration event, GC8K02E “LC21: Yes, I Was There, Too”. Then we finished up the weekend on Sunday morning, with a Cache In Trash Out event held on Wimbledon Common (where else?) at GC9BW1D “LC21: A Wombles Work Is Never Done”.
The committee wants to say a huge thank you to everyone to attended an event, bought some merchandise, or even just sent some words of encouragement along the way. You kept this event going, even when we were all concerned that Covid would derail our plans. Without your involvement, this could not possibly have gone ahead.