The who, what, where, how and when
In autumn 2019 Universal Live and The Event House collaborated to produce two events on the coast of Singapore delivering a full production service for the Singapore Grand Prix hosted by Martin Brundle and Mark Gallagher, and the John Farnham concerts which featured as a part of Imagine Cruising’s cruise package attended by over 500 cruise-goers, per event.
More than just a cruise, Imagine Cruising create holidays for every type of traveller and events play a crucial part in these extraordinary, money-can’t-buy cruise packages. The event is often referred to the golden nugget of the holiday where some guests purchase the cruise purely to experience the events and the John Farnham and Singapore GP events held at the iconic Gardens by The Bay, was no exception.
The roles and responsibilities
Universal Live was charged with the technical production including management of lighting, sound and technical requirements for all three events. One of the key reasons for the partnership with Universal Live was the efficient conduit between the ground and operations teams. Universal Live designed and recommended content at the Singapore GP, liaising with Mark Gallagher and Martin Brundle to enhance the event.
With the technical brief in hand with Universal Live, The Event House was then able to fully commit all of their focus on how the event would operationally play out — taking into account how to oversee the transportation and logistics of over 50 personnel, including performers, management and technical team over the three events, liaising with the venues team, artists, acts and speakers. As well as event running schedule, and all manifests and performer movements as you would for a conference, exhibition or awards evenings.
Both companies ordinarily work in the corporate sectors, so having an event which is B2C whether it be a concert or an afternoon with Martin Brundle and Mark Gallagher, is very different. The audience who have attended the event really want to be there and have paid to do so. Therefore, producing a show or event worthy is of utmost importance. Working with personalities and meeting the need of their technical riders can also be challenging, but the entire team collaboratively worked excellently. With 500+ guests at the events, engagement was key. Universal Live used a mix of content with video, creating lots of subjects and audience interaction.
It’s not what’s wrong; it’s how you fix it
One of the challenges of the Singapore GP event was how to enhance and make the content exciting and engaging enough for the audience. Therefore, the lead up to this event was crucial, ensuring we all communicated effectively to create the right event format.
This is also how Universal Live and The Event House work when preparing for corporate events, engagement is more important today than it has ever been; with many distractions around us such as mobile phones and tablets diverting delegates attention at events no matter the type of audience, be it B2B or B2C they need to feel engaged with what you are delivering and saying to them; this could be stakeholder information or visual accompaniments. In our tech-savvy, social media crazed world, it is imperative that we enable ourselves to find new and exciting ways to keep delegates minds actively engaged throughout the event to spark interest and intrigue. Universal Live and The Event House do this through communication and teamwork throughout the event process with our clients from the initial concept ideas, development stages, delivery and beyond.
With the John Farnham events, the challenge was the type of room; while it’s iconic, it’s an unconventional and tricky room to work in logistically. A low ceiling proved challenging, especially for the stage height having to be compromised to 1 metre- meaning the performer wasn’t as high as we would have liked. Universal Live and The Event House managed to negotiate this and built better relationships with the venue to allow it to alter slightly. The height was originally restricted due to the light bulbs – while they’re unique, it certainly proved challenging for both companies.
The Gardens by The Bay was particularly tricky for what Universal Live and The Event House were trying to achieve for the John Farnham events, but you could say that about all event venues, there is always a niggle or two that you wished wasn’t there, for example, pillars restricting views or power supplies being limited. The solution and something that both Universal Live and The Event House advocate is a minimum of one site visit, especially if you have never worked in the venue in the past. Take as many site visits as you feel is necessary and of course, within your budget. Liaise with the venues build relationships with them and work with them to find a solution as they are the ones that work in the venue daily; that is the advice from Universal Live and the Event House.
Working with international teams
Working abroad on events always holds challenges, whether it be authorising items through customs to language barriers when communicating instructions. Both Universal Live and The Event House have worked in Singapore numerous times now, and each time it does get slightly easier, as the understanding with the suppliers improves. For instance, Gardens by the Bay is a fascinating venue but rather sprawling and requires a certain level of logistical know-how and a particular eye for detail when predicting what can go wrong.
To prevent any miss-communication and shortfalls this, both companies worked closely with the venue and local suppliers as an extended team and mapped out worse case scenarios; organising run-throughs. And thorough briefings the local teams began to be open to change.
What’s the difference?
Every event should be treated with the same respect and importance as the next. While these events were different from the norm of a corporate event, they still required a similar thought process and planning requirements. From project planning, production of master agendas, to negotiating the budget, technical planning and know-how to adapt in any venue are all key elements to the success of the event, which all events should have regardless of whether they be B2B or B2C.
What needs to be taken into account by event organisers, marketing professionals and event suppliers (especially technical production companies) is that engaging with attendees should be the number one priority. Attendees are only privy to the end product of an event, and if it doesn’t wow or excite the in some form, be that how striking the set design is, the innovatively use of technology within the event space or sessions, how presenters innovatively deliver the content or how you encourage attendee participation, it won’t engage them.
Universal Live and The Event House firmly believe that working together as an extension of each other’s teams on a collaborative level with mutual respect for everyone involved as well as taking into consideration how to engage with the attendees on an event-by-event basis and NOT rolling out a bog-standard, one-size-fits-all package will deliver the best solution for the client; a rule that they standby on every event.