Scare City Experience is a 2 hour long, 2KM horror trail set within the abandoned Camelot Theme Park in Lancashire. This episode is courtesy of our partners in the UK – ScareTrack – and you’ll hear Mikey interviewing Paul Butterworth & Georgia Ramsey...
Scare City Experience is a 2 hour long, 2KM horror trail set within the abandoned Camelot Theme Park in Lancashire. This episode is courtesy of our partners in the UK – ScareTrack – and you’ll hear Mikey interviewing Paul Butterworth & Georgia Ramsey discussing the new event. Follow along to our Hauntathon: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork
Mikey: Hello and welcome to the ScareTrack Podcast, My name is Mikey, and in today's episode, we're going to be speaking to the team behind Scare City Experience at Camelot Theme Park. We're going to be speaking to operations director Paul Butterworth, and we're going to be speaking to the park events manager, Georgia Ramsey, here on the scale track podcast.
Mikey: So, before we get them on in our feature section of today's episode, let's talk a little bit about the Scare City Experience, and it's really exciting. I can't wait to check it out, we go in on the 29th of September, which isn't too far away now, folks, it's only a few weeks down the line. We're lucky enough to go on their press night and experience this 2-kilometer horror walkthrough, it has live actors all throughout, and it's a 2-hour fully immersive experience at the old, abandoned Camelot Theme Park. Like, all these ingredients are making the most perfect scary cocktail, aren't they? Scare City experience, 2 kilometers, 2 hours, sponsored by Swizzles, who doesn't love sweets?
Mikey: So, yeah, I'm really, really excited to go and check it out, and I'm really excited for this episode as well. Going to be speaking to the team, you know, George and Paul, they've taken time out of their busy schedules to come under ScareTrack. We really, really do appreciate it.
Mikey: So, I'm just going to ask them a few questions about the event, see if we can get any exclusives, see if we can find out a little bit more information on the zones throughout the experience. Let's get along without any further ado or welcome Georgia and Paul onto the ScareTrack podcast.
Mikey: I'm very excited to have you on, so I really, really do appreciate it. I was just wondering if you could let the listeners know exactly who you are and in what capacity do you work with a Scare City Experience?
Georgia: Yeah, I'm Georgia and I am the park events manager. So, I am based on site running the events, essentially.
Paul: I'm Paul Butterworth, I'm Operations Director. Whilst Georgia keeps the whole event running smoothly and amazingly scary, my job is to make sure everyone safe and everything works, and the whole thing goes off without a hitch, so we're a bit of a double act.
Mikey: Perfect. I like it. It sounds like we're in safe hands when we get there.
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Well, safe-ish.
Mikey: Safe-ish, except for the zombies. So, first up, I just want to say a huge thank you for coming on to the ScareTrack podcast. We really, really do appreciate it when people who are actually running, promoting, and creating these events take time out of your very busy schedules to come onto scare track, so I do appreciate it. We don't want to give too much away to the listeners, but we just thought we'd get you guys on to give them a little bit of a teaser really. So, let's talk about Scare City, Scare City Experience, what kind of event will people come to expect when they arrive in a few weeks’ time?
Paul: Well, again, thanks for having us, Mikey. Again, it's really great to talk to people who love what we do and what we're involved in. It's really, really refreshing and without you guys, it doesn't really feel the same. So, yeah, thanks for having us.
Paul: I mean we feel absolutely lucky this year because we've run a number of events in the past, which includes sort of scary drive-through movies with sort of live-action performances, but this year we're doing the biggest thing we've ever done, and we're creating the world longest outdoor horror attraction, and that includes 12 zones on foot through an abandoned theme park. We believe we're the only people doing this, and the only people that have ever done this. So, we're really excited about this one, and yeah that that will be our big event starting at the end of September.
Paul: So that will be an on-foot experience this time, rather than a drive-through, following a bit of feedback that we got from our regular scare attendees. Not to say that the drive-through won't continue, but for this one, we're going big and we're doing an on-foot scary experience where you feel just a little bit more vulnerable.
Mikey: Nice, excellent, and you say the world's longest sort of horror walkthrough, it's 2 kilometers long, isn't it? Do you have to walk that every day? Are you getting your steps in?
Georgia: Yeah, we definitely got all steps in doing that.
Paul: Yeah, we've been actually building the route. We're very lucky to already have this land and the access to this. I mean, the place is horrifically slow in the daytime, please don't let me tell you every time a pigeon moves in a bush and you're on your own, it's really scary. So, we've been clear in some of the areas. When we've got an innately scary venue already we just want to enhance it, we do not want to overtake it. We want it to be naturally very spooky and scary like it is. So, we've been building our route and our track through areas of this park that haven't been uncovered for at least 12 years. We've definitely gone through areas that we've never been to before as well. There are loads of bits of it that haven't been seen before if you've been to any of our previous events. So, definitely come down and check it out, because it will be one definitely that we won't forget for a long time.
Mikey: Yeah, it definitely sounds like it. What's great about this sort of event as well, like you say, you're very, one, lucky, but you should be proud of having a fantastic sort of venue. Not only is it spooky anyway, but like you say, it used to be a theme park. I guess a lot of people who have either visited with your drive-through experience in the past, or they're going to come to a Scare City Experience in September or October, do you guys get some sort of nostalgia feeling from actually being at Camelot theme park? Or is it just a little bit of a mind trip in the fact that you're not only in this in this theme park that might be haunted anyway, but you're actually making it even or then even more authentically scary?
Paul: Yeah, I mean, I took my daughter to Camelot many, many years ago, so I knew it when it was a theme park and I'm a bit of a theme park fan myself.
Mikey: The best of us are.
Paul: So, being able to mix the two, it's just great, it doesn't get any better than this. So, you're kind of going through different areas that, as you say, the nostalgia and the feel of it, whilst some of the attractions were taken down when the site closed, quite a few different areas still remain and still remain untouched from that moment, and nature is sort of taken over them. So, we're going in, we're creating some sort of fantastic zones of backdrops using all sorts of special effects, but at the same time really trying our best to make this an authentic walk. In spaces we want you to feel like you're walking through the woods and that you are vulnerable, and it isn't sort of a massively overproduced area, so it's going to be real variants, and we've got the length with the two kilometers to do that.
Paul: But rest assured there is a bar and an area to get some food, cover, shelter, and recharge your batteries halfway whilst overlooking the key part of the site, which is our Bloodcurdling Swizzles Castle, which is the centerpiece of the experience.
Mikey: Oh, wow. That sounds epic. That sounds really cool.
Paul: So, it'll be some time for some R&R.
Mikey: That's actually really a smart point, your place where you can chill out for a little bit, have some R&R and drink is actually halfway through, as opposed to... I mean, some events have it at the beginning and some people have it at the end
Paul: Yeah, but they'll be both, actually. We're quite lucky with the space we've got. So, there'll be areas in, in the main scare village, which is the entrance and the place where you'll come to join the experience, but also that key halfway point. Because we really want people to enjoy the time there and not feel like it's too much, and if the weather is being inclement, I mean, hey, we're still going to be there if it's raining or not, and actually, that would seem even more scary when that happens. So, if that is the case, we'll have a place just to recharge and sort of dry off, maybe get some food and beverages and in, and go again. So, we think that'll be a great mixture for us.
Georgia: Yeah, I think people walking for 2 kilometers will definitely need a break halfway through.
Mikey: Yes, definitely. Another thing as well, can I make a request? Can there be a toilet halfway? Two hours in the rain whilst you're wetting yourself screaming, you know, that could be a perfect stop halfway through.
Georgia: Yeah, there definitely will be.
Paul: Yeah, request granted, although it was already for sure. I think for myself as well, because it's quite funny coming into this type of event because, actually, I am horrifically scared by these types of events. I'm not somebody who walked through these generally, and I'm now doing this for a living. Even when you're working there, I mean, the actors don't tend to care whether you work there or not. They spend their whole time trying to get pretty much everyone. Oh, sorry, not actors, sorry, the people who you may find inside the event.
Mikey: Yeah, the inhabitants.
Paul: So, they definitely keep us on our toes, so it's an experience for everyone.
Mikey: George, do you get scared quite easily while running around Camelot as well?
Georgia: Yeah, I am not a horror fan, so it's very interesting. Like Paul said, they do tend to go off on absolutely everyone, so yeah, definitely keep us on our toes.
Mikey: That's what makes it so exciting, I guess.
Georgia: Yeah, definitely.
Mikey: It's a weird one myself. I mean, I do all these scary experiences and mazes and stuff like that, but I can't stand watching horror films.
Georgia: But it's so much fun, like I absolutely love it.
Mikey: It's one of them, isn't it? You're terrified of it, but once you actually finally do it, you do experience, you go, "that was just funny in a good way."
Georgia: Watching other people as well.
Paul: It's great, isn't it? Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Actually, I find that, because obviously with our previous event we talked to all the people that come, and we have many, many regulars that attend all the events and we get their feedback on them, and there is a real mix. Some people come to get scared out of their wits and then laugh about it. Some people don't get scared, but really enjoy seeing what you've done with the site. Now with it being a theme park, we now have the theme park fraternity if you want to come and see what's left without breaking the law, without breaking in, which sometimes in the past has had to happen for some of these guys to get in there. So, we've literally opened the place up, so we've got such a varied audience who're going to come and have a fair look and feel for what we've done, so it's great.
Mikey: Yeah, absolutely. It's exciting as well. That's something else I wanted to ask as well really, obviously you've been at this site for a little while now, but this is the first walk-through. Well, like you say, it is a 2-kilometer, 2-hour, longest scare experience in the world. It's huge, it's massive. What has the buzz been like? Not only from us theme park and scream park nerds but just the general public as well. Has it been pretty epic? It's all over my socials and such.
Georgia: Yeah, it's been so successful so far. Everyone seems to be absolutely loving it and engaging in it really well.
Paul: I think, also, it's interesting because we're getting so many requests for people office party. We've already had people going, "can we bring the whole office and a coach?" We booked one today for a customer like, "we want to bring everyone, the people from work." It's an audience that usually you would get kind of three or four friends turning up or couples, and all of a sudden there's all sorts of people who want to come and see it.
Paul: Obviously, with our sponsor Swizzles, we're able to kind of reach a new audience, perhaps through some of their media sort of channels that we wouldn't have done before who may not even have known we were doing it before. So yeah, I feel like we're going to have a really good, varied group of people coming to these events. Which also helps and it adds to it, because other people around add to the atmosphere of what's going on. So, we're really keen for everyone to have their own some kind of unique experience when they're walking through the event, and to kind of feed off everybody else's energy as well.
Mikey: Yeah, absolutely. You know, just like laughter, being scared is contagious and if someone is scared in a group, then the next person behind them gets scared because they're scared. Again, with big groups like from the office and such, if they love this time, they'll only come next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. So, it's just building an even bigger target market, really, isn't it?
Paul: Yeah, and I think it's such a growth area. Every year it feels like everybody who do these events go bigger and bigger every year. So, we're so excited to be part of that sort of that group this year, and hopefully we'll encourage others to follow suit in following years. Maybe venues that didn't really think about lending to this type of experience might be more open to it for both us and other experiences, which would just be great for everybody who goes to these things.
Mikey: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You touched on there with this sort of experience as well. Obviously with Halloween and scare attractions and such like that, there are different types of events throughout the season. We have ones that have just your standard scare mazes, you have ones that have multiple scare mazes that you do in a certain order, there's more theatrical performances such like that, but you guys have opted for the long, sort of immersive scary trail. You've basically gone with that sort of construct, really. What made you go into the spooky long trail sort of scenario rather than doing different scare mazes or the more traditional scream park style, I guess?
Paul: Well, it's a really good point. Lots of people will go to an event where they can perhaps pick a couple of different trails and they'll be unique to themselves. With us, what we wanted to do was create one experience. There's one way through this place from the start where you're told how to stay safe throughout the event, because it's extremely spooky and there's lots of things going on.
Paul: We want you to feel like you're going through a journey for all of the different zones in it, one by one. That once you start this that you're embedded, you're involved, you want to come through the place, see all the different areas, see kind of all the different themes and spooky happenings that are happening in different areas of the park. It's kind of like a journey from beginning to end that start and end in the same place, but at no point do you sort of cross past to other people, or crossover each other, so you feel like you're going through that.
Paul: We will space our audiences enough so that they feel like they're in that part of the park on their own. That, for me, is really, really important. We really want everyone to feel like their experience is unique and when they go through some of the areas that order them, there's no one behind me and it's gone quiet, and all the things I feel and Georgia feels while we're working on there at the minute, we want you all to come and feel that for real at night.
Mikey: I'm glad you mentioned that though as well. Especially in the more scare maze set up, but even in trails or we've done in the past as well, continuity, consistency, and also throughputs, all these things sometimes do get a little bit lost on those busy nights or something like that. So you the fact that you've mentioned that you really want each individual group to feel that, at certain points, they are just alone in the woods. I feel that's really important, especially nowadays where people do want value for money, they are spending their hard-earned cash during the time that we're all struggling a little bit. They want to make sure that they get the value, and they want to make sure that Scare City Experience appreciates their experience. So, the fact that you've mentioned, as well, that you want them to be basically secluded from other groups as well, that they're not going to be bumping into other groups, I feel that's really important, so they'll get something that will really benefit the event this year.
Paul: Yeah, absolutely we've got more people bringing this together than we've ever done before. A 2-kilometer run inside this place needs a lot of people, a lot of spooky, scary experiences, but also people that are helping with the flow of that without taking away from the fact that you're in the event. So, we're going to try and avoid stewards in higher viz's as much as possible and go more with your people who can assist the experience and within it and enhance it, rather than kind of patrol it, if you like.
Mikey: Yes, yeah, nice.
Paul: So, that's definitely our approach with this. Obviously with it not being a drive-through event helps because there's obviously some restriction with cars moving around about having to be in higher visibility, and we don't have the restrictions now. We will make sure people can see all their way through the park, but it will be very close. It will be single file at points, it will feel like you are there, and you are vulnerable, that you need to go and experience that whole park.
Georgia: Yeah, and Paul mentioned are drive-through cinema there, that was such a success. But like he said before, we do take people's feedback from that, and we just want to make it bigger and better for them really, and going with what they told us that they want.
Mikey: Which is great. You're just listening to the audience and adapting to the people that bought the tickets previously, aren't you? So, you can only be commended for that, because you're not resting on your laurels and just doing the same thing as last time. You go that extra mile, well, that extra 2 kilometers in fact, and making it the longest scare attraction.
Paul: Yeah, it's definitely 2 kilometers.
Mikey: I know you don't want to give too much away about the actual experience, and the trail as such, but can you give us just a few hints of what kind of creatures or what kind of experiences we may experience throughout the Scare City Experience?
Georgia: We have 12 different zones as Paul mentioned before. So, each one of them is going to be scened differently according to the kind of area that it's in. So, like the woods will have like a ritual area, and so we'll have anything like that theme there. They'll all be different themes around the site, and I'll give them a few, but I don't want to give too much.
Mikey: Yeah, just give us a couple. We don't want to get you in trouble.
Georgia: Yeah, we've got the Scare Village, which is where they'll start. That's the base where they register and get a briefing, and then we'll go into the woods, we'll get Nightmare Alley and we've got Satanic Panic and Carnevali to name a few of them out of the 12. So,1 there are a few of them which will be themed around that kind of idea. Then obviously we've got 12 zones, so it's going to be a long ride.
Paul: There is a map that went as that that has been circulated amongst people and will be on our website soon. So, the zones are currently, you can go onto our website and click through and get some narrative around if you like the law for each are and kind of how we're theme in it. So, it will give you some indication, but we don't want to give it all away. But hastening to add, the Bloodcurdling Camelot Swizzles Castle, and the Carnevali are two of the really key, really visual parts of the old theme park that just we don't believe anybody's got anything like it and it's going to be outstanding.
Mikey: I really can't wait, I can't wait to check it out.
Georgia: There are a few Share if you Dare points, people can have photo opportunities, take some pictures with their friends, actors, like different opportunities like that you don't really get to do at other scare places, like you don't really get to get involved with the actors. So, that's another point that they'll be able to kind of engage with.
Georgia: It's really good point, yeah. They're actually inside the experience as well. A lot of the experiences we find, they're kind of at the start or the finish, but these are actually within it, so they give you that respite to share stuff with friends. Again, some people will walk through this at a snail’s pace too to inhale all of it, and some people will run through absolutely terrified. So, there's something for everybody regardless of how you want to sort of take on the route.
Mikey: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I really like, as you said earlier, you get a little bit of rest halfway through, there's a little break and the sort of photo points as well to Share if you Dare. It's just given, again, the visitor, basically, more things to do other than just being scared. It feels like more of an all-round experience, and even better with those Dare to Share moments as they can put that on their social media, and they can show everyone they've had a great night at Scare City Experience. So, it's just a win-win situation all around really, isn't it?
Paul: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. I would say, if you're considering coming, whilst it is extremely terrifying, it's so much fun it, I can't tell you that enough. I had been seeing this before even getting involved in this sort of thing, I personally wouldn't even considered going. Whilst it does make you jump at certain points, it's brilliant, and if you could feel the buzz at the end of these events when people come out of them... I don't have to say that to a lot of your audience, because they will be seasoned pros, but just for anybody listening who might not have been to one yet, give it a try. Choose ours by all means, but even if there's one close to you and you can't make it up here, give it a try, because it's just one of the most enjoyable things you would never imagine could be.
Mikey: No, that's really well Paul, definitely. So, I think the best thing to leave us on really is on how people can get their tickets, how can they check out their social media pages, what's the best way to find Scare City Experience?
Georgia: Just before Georgia gives you the details, I just wanted to jump in and steal a bit of thunder, and just basically inform everyone who might not have seen our social media handles, which George will give you in a minute. We've actually just launched a really big competition for everybody who has currently booked, previously booked, and will book a ticket for this event up until the 25th of September. Every single person who books a ticket will be entered into a prize draw to win a year's worth of Swizzle's Sweets. There's no extra, you don't need to like, share, or post anything, just buy a ticket and you'll be entered in and one person will have enough sweets for a whole year delivered to their house, or they can pick them up on the dam, on-site, on the time. So, it's a really great thing from our sponsors. We're dead happy to have them on board and we're thankful for the prize, but it is a great one. It's got a real big value as well. So, before Georgia gives you all that, thought I'd just jump in and say it's not just buying a ticket, you've also got a chance of loads of sweets, and who could moan at that?
Mikey: Winner, sounds like a winner, definitely.
Georgia: What more could you ask for? So, if you want to book tickets, probably the best way to do it is for our website and you type in "park and party" or "Scare City Camelot" either of those, it comes up with our website. Just click on book tickets. You've got two options you can do the VIP which is £40, or you could do a standard one which is £20. So, completely up to you which one you do. If you want to look at our social media and our Instagram is ParkNParty_ and our Facebook is ParkNParty. So, that's our social handles. If you want to check anything out that we've done before, what we've got coming up, and anything to keep updated, really, there are social handles.
Paul: It might be a nice little one to mention now, and a bit of an exclusive for you guys, if anybody wants to keep an eye on the Facebook, page tomorrow on Saturday the 19th there, there may be some unseen footage being launched on that space. So, I can't say anymore whatsoever.
Mikey: Here we go, exclusive, you heard it here first, guys, you heard it here first, yeah.
Paul: Nobody knows yet, but it'll be out tomorrow on the 19th, so keep an eye on the Facebook page.
Mikey: Well, at Paul, Georgia, a huge thank you for coming onto to ScareTrack, I really, really do appreciate it. I guess now it's just back to the grind of you guys building, creating, and making a really scary experience for us.
Paul: Yes, there's lots of walkway to put in, so we're definitely got a bit of work on that on that front. Then we've got to go and make sure all the ghouls and ghosts are ready for work at the end of September. So we'll get busy with that and hopefully see you all there.
Mikey: Perfect, excellent. Well, Paul George from Scare City Experience, a huge thank you for coming on to the ScareTrack Podcast and we'll see you soon.
Georgia: Thank you for having us.
Paul: Thank you.
Host of ScareTrack Podcast
Mikey has been reviewing scare attractions since 2012. With a BA Honours Degree in Theatre to his name, Mikey uses his specialist knowledge of Artauds Theatre of Cruelty along with other detailed research when reviewing attractions. Mikey has conducted numerous haunt seminars and hosted an extreme haunt panel debate at recent scare conventions. Along side ScareTrack, Mikey also admins the ‘Scare Actors Group’ on facebook. This group helps aspiring and seasoned scare actors find new and exciting acting opportunities. Mikey enjoys attractions that aren't scared to try new ambitious ideas.
Here are some great episodes to start with.