Be afraid events people!


Somewhat stupidly I should have blogged about this event weeks ago, instead I’ve got out of the habit of blogging of late but a deluge of tweets in my stream telling me who has been nominated for a shorty this year has spurred me into writing action and given me the kick up the arse that I truly needed.

I rarely write about events as newroomsonline has taken centre stage on this blog but wearing my other professional hat for a second I must comment, with the highest respect about IAStivel back in September.

I’ve worked in event management for over 15 years now and dealt with the usual corporate hospitality requests but never done anything like this!

Living near enough to Cumbria, mine have, by and large, revolved around outdoorsy days driving mental quad bikes, or a spot of abseiling and shooting even racing up the Forth on a yacht (that was a great day).

So it was a real luxury to be invited along to someone else’s event as a guest. Cheshire based IAS b2b marketing invited my husband along to their weekend! Yes, not a two hour cheese and wine affair, oh no, a three day music festival in the Cheshire countryside with option to camp.

I’d only heard of one band playing – The Adventure Babies – and then only because I exchange tweets with @adventurebaby…largely about how gagtastic the idea of his weekly eggbanjo fest makes me feel!

Months previously I’d been dragged (I admit it) to a Factory Records Cover exhibition at a pub in Manchester….and seen the Adventure Babies for myself…at least, their album covers

The Manchester scene lay totally outside my immediate music awareness back in the late eighties so the xpo was a bit enlightnening. Not only was I intrigued by seeing the Adventure Babies album covers but also The Duritti Column, whose existence I had strongly questioned weeks before, but now, reluctantly had to admit, was real afterall…

(I digress….although the expo, was also, a very interesting jaunt….if groupie central – who can blame ’em and all for a good cause – The Christie.)

Iastival was a three day music festival. You could go along for all three days, or, as we did, for the day.

To say it was superb is an understatement.

There was a main stage featuring local bands constantly performing – all good, all interesting, none of whom I’d have listened to otherwise and largely unsigned, as I understood.

There was a smaller stage in a tent for the more intimate acoustic performers….sadly we missed Tamsin Warley who I would have loved to see, but hey ho, some other time – the main stage had us glued to our seats.

There were free dodgems, an ice cream van, the best food tent in the history of events serving everything from burgers to curries to top vegetarian nom noms. There were hay bale seats and a booze tent serving a great selection and as if to complement the efforts IAS had put in – the sun shone all day.

In my mind the best corporate hospitality event I’ve ever attended, a credit to the team who put it together – I understand it was as much about training for new members of their team as it was hospitality but seriously – a hard act to follow. Anyone can bulk buy tickets for Take That, seats at Wimbledon and South African vuvuzelas but organising every aspect of the gig….that’s grafting!

And for me the most enjoyable bit – Ultimate Elton – an Elton John tribute act…or was it? So close you could touch him and with a playlist which featured all my favourites off Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and only a couple more recent numbers, I snag my heart out – high-fiving the yoof all the while. He was so convincing that at one point David did turn to me and say, “You’re not sure are you? Now wouldn’t that be ironic?” Even when the guy spoke it could have been Elton John in person…..the only question being in my mind “But was he playing that keyboard? Hmm I don’t think so”

Oh…..and as if to beat all music festivals….banks of loos, all of them clean!

(because if checking the loos at your event isn’t the first thing you do, then you need to redress your event management skills!)

Consider the corporate hospitality bar raised people!!!!




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