Better Together

January is a great time of year for a business and even more so for an outdoor events business like ours. It’s a time of year you can review the old and plan for the future, reach out to new clients or simply make that change to your operations you have been putting off for the last 4 months since the summer season ended.

After a successful, yet somewhat challenging, first year we welcomed in the New Year, a time to regroup and review our plans for 2017. However, that very quickly turned into a very busy with a new event, numerous tenders and an exciting new partnership with colleagues and friends Ice Blue Medical. Whilst all great news also challenging with a never-ending task list and new hurdles to overcome. We had to rely on each other’s skills and ability to share workload. Then it came to me, we’re better together.

Successful business is only successful when we work together. Our colleagues and partners, suppliers and clients and this is a policy we whole heartedly practice at Proud Events. We share each other’s opinions and knowledge to identify the best outcome, when one of the team is too busy we help them by offloading their workload. Now don’t get me wrong this is not always smiles and rainbows. Sometimes it is hard to take on extra work to help others. Sometimes it is hard to hear opinions that differ to your own. Ultimately thought we know this it is what makes us stronger.

This transfers into how we plan our events. At Proud we know what we are good at and that’s event management. Seeing the big picture and putting together the pieces to deliver experiences for our clients that are true to their vision. But what about the detail of the individual parts? The tech specs for the stage, the power requirements of the traders, the health & safety regulations. The list goes on. The truth is all the parts are equally important, not one person can do it alone and that’s why we collaborate. By working together we become stronger and it empowers all of us to deliver great events we feel part of. That’s what’s special about working in events, why else would we give up our summer to live in fields for 4 months?!

Here at Proud HQ we continue to develop projects that centre around this approach, our collaboration model still ticks on in the background and we are looking at an exciting new project with the UK Pride Organisers Network where we, Proud Events, are building a Pride Buyer’s Club. A platform where Pride organisations can come to us with their event management requirements and we can match them to quality suppliers who deliver, whilst passing back savings through economy of scale of the club and its members. Whilst in its early infancy it is an exciting development in the Proud journey, one that we feel passionate about, being able to give back to the Pride movement.

So instead of doing more exercise or giving up chocolate this new year why not adopt our approach to events and let’s work together, after all it’s better right? If you are interested in hearing more about the Buyer’s club and would like to be part of it get in touch at harry@proudevents.co.uk and let’s do business together for a cause that’s worth contributing to.

The Proud Team x 

#Trump & #Brexit = End of #Events? Never!

All our social media and news feeds are filled with gloomy news about the impacts of the US election and the UK referendum. Currency and financial markets haven't reacted well and we could be in for uncertain times ahead.

For those of us operating across the UK and Europe, and those with an international profile, we're all looking for that crystal ball.

In fact now is probably a great time to look to the past and learn the lessons of those businesses who not only survived but prospered in previous challenging times.

What are our event attendees thinking? Is my job secure? What's going to happen to interest rates? What will rising inflation do to my spending habits?

There's certainly a lot of insecurity and that drives a behaviour that can be more cautious. But does it mean people will cut back on their leisure activities or things that give them some fun 'time out'?

Turn the telescope around. If the £ is worth less against the $ then maybe the 'staycation' will be a strong trend. Value for money could mean spending on great events with great experiences rather than not spending. Payment plans may win out over big one of ticket purchases. Free events may become even more popular with scope to make reasonable returns through concessions.

In previous economic downturns the events and entertainment industries didn't disappear. Audiences became more discerning, chose carefully and spent wisely. Those promoters and event organisers who planned ahead and thought about the challenges their audiences would face actually did pretty well. 

That's not to say there weren't tough times and many businesses and their associated suppliers didn't survive. But common to many of these was carrying on as before. Not preparing for a smaller, more discerning market. And forgetting that currency changes can matter!

We also learned that people needed their break from the challenges and uncertainties. As a proportion of their overall spend, disposable income, spent on activities faired pretty well. People wanted to reward themselves for working harder, cutting back and making the savings. 

They wanted to go out and have a really amazing time and they didn't mind investing wisely to achieve it. But the event had to be good, great even, and not outside their budgets.

So what's the lesson? Don't live in a bubble and keep going as if nothing around you is changing. Model your future events around future uncertainty and a downturn in spending. Is £6 for a pint and £8 for a burger sustainable? Can you justify putting your ticket price up 5% if everyone's wages are reducing by 2% with inflation?

Taking the time to do this now puts you ahead of the game. Even better why not talk to your audience. Find out what they're thinking and try and test that against your own assumptions. 

Here at Proud Events we've been looking to the future. We've been modelling our business for long term sustainability. Looking at EaaS (Events as a Service), commoditising events and collaboration. Why not speak to us

We've also been supporting our clients with their own future planning and taking a 'big picture' view about the future. We've got lots of consulting expertise. Give us a shout

All Good Things Come To An End

It is said that all good things come to an end, and this time it is my work here at Proud that is ending. It is with a lot of mixed emotions that I leave, a mix of sadness, gratitude, but also a lot of excitement for the future!

During my time here at Proud, a period of almost 6 months, I have been thrown into the hectic, energetic and oh so inspiring world of events with my head first. My experiences have contained a fair share of everything from volunteering at this year’s AMP Lost & Found in sunny Malta, to hours on the phone in London, to doing event logging in a small cabin in a rainy Tatton.

Being part of the Proud Events team has been fun, challenging, stressful and awarding.

 I have acquired valuable knowledge (such as: when the Production Manager calls in to Event Control asking for the cherry picker to be moved, he is most likely not talking about a man picking cherries), mastered the underrated craft of laminating, and I have overcome my imaginary fear of phones (or making phone calls more precisely).

 There have been moments when I wanted to rip my hair off in total frustration (when my volunteers decided to pull out in the last minute), there have been moments of complete confusion (like my first day ever in Event control), but most of all it has been a fantastic learning experience.

So yes, of course I am sad to leave. This work placement has been much more than I ever imagined it would be, and Harry and Ben has been the best bosses I could have ever wished for. Working for Proud has been a privilege and I am so thankful for my time at this company.

However, as I mentioned earlier, sadness is only one of the many feelings I feel towards moving on. My time here at Proud Events might be coming to an end, but this does not mean that I am done with events.

To me, the world of events is like a never ending roller coaster with its ups and downs and unexpected turns. Scary at times, exhausting at others, but most of all thrilling in a way that just makes you want to keep on going.

So, instead of saying farewell, I just say goodbye for now, hoping that it will not be long until I am out on the road again. Until then, I feel more than ready to continue my studies in Music Business at BIMM London this fall.

Until the next time.

Lisa x

Event planning - Glamour can only give you so much

‘People always think that our job is so glamorous, and it’s just really not’ my colleague said after another late night on site, back in our hotel room out in the middle of nowhere (also known as Barrow-in-Furness).

Earlier that evening she, and the rest of my colleagues, had been sitting comparing their diaries for the next couple of months, searching for those odd days of liberty – which were almost impossible to find. With the festival season gong into full bloom, meaning fun and games for most, Proud and all its partners are busier than ever before. The 8th of June the company hit a new milestone when being live at five sites at the same time, and although that means a lot of hard work we also couldn’t be prouder!

However, while the rest of the team is out on the road I am still left in London. My first year at BIMM London is coming to its end and I am wrapping up my last assignments of the year before leaving the city for new adventures.

These past months have been hectic at times, rewarding at others and very educational for the most. Yet, my colleague is right, it has rarely been glamorous. Live events require huge amounts of hard work, time and planning. 

As I mentioned in my last blog this job has really made me realise how much planning there goes into every live event, and if I thought I had a greater understanding of that after AMP Lost & Found, it is nothing compared with the knowledge I have now, several months later.

Take staffing for example – what a process! When Harry, one of the directors, told me, a couple of months ago, that I would take on responsibility for the staffing process for this year’s festivals I was terrified. Not only because little old me would suddenly be in charge of something this important, but because I was convinced I had telephobia (the fear of making or receiving phone calls) and I would now have to conduct hundreds of phone interviews. 

Needless to say my imaginary fear was of course completely irrational and it didn’t take long until making those phone calls went from being dreaded to just a part of my everyday routine.

Since April, every day has been a constant puzzle trying to fill the spaces in the rota for our sister company Live Stock Brands’ first ever festival – Parklife 2016. It has been a time consuming task, with last minute changes up until the very day of the festival.

Although Parklife may be over for this year, the staffing process is far from over and now continues the work with finding appropriate staff and volunteers for festivals such as Hideout Festival, Kendal Calling and Bluedot (why not apply if you haven’t already?).

Alongside my staffing duties I’ve been in charge for everything between laminating signage and putting together the most cost effective site kits, to booking accommodation and travel for our staff on site.

Once again, these tasks won’t particularly make any of you jealous, but these tasks are still important pieces of the overall planning, and if not properly done they may lead to your boss being booked in the ‘crack den’ that ‘should be avoided like the plague’ that you mistook for a hotel…

In May I’ve been on site twice, first at Wirral Rocks and then at Cartmel Racecourse, getting a first taste of this coming summer and my new role as event logger. This role, a role I hardly knew existed a month back, has showed me a whole new side of live events.

This time around I get to see the big picture, almost as from a bird’s perspective, seeing how all the different teams (production, security, site, medical, etc.) work together to make these events possible.

It is truly inspiring to see all that hard work and planning pay off with your own eyes, but it is almost more inspiring to see what happens those few times when a plan fails and our amazing team needs to create a new solution.

No, working with events may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but putting the laminating aside, it’s certainly never dull. Although a lot of the planning stages contain long office hours and paperwork, there is still such a thrill attached to being part of the live event creation that an ordinary 9-5 job just won’t give you. Glamour can only give you so much, but on that thrill you can live forever!

Until next time: stay up to date with all the exciting things happening on site, by following us on our social media or get in touch by contacting info@proudevents.co.

AMP Lost & Found – When you have fun together you work well together!

It may only be April, but for us at Proud Events the festival season is already kicking off! Last week we came back home from our first mission this year – the 2016’s AMP Lost & found in Malta. For a little more than a week our amazing team of staff and volunteers exchanged British rain for Maltese sun and got off to a brilliant start to this year’s outdoor events.

As Proud Events’ new Events Assistant this was my first time working on site and I could not have asked for a better introduction to the job. Being directly thrown into action as part of the volunteer team, working on tasks such as accreditation and merchandise, was a fun way of getting started and has filled me with loads of new knowledge, energy and motivation for our future events.

Normally I study Music Business at BIMM London, so it felt really good to finally get some hands-on experience and an understanding of what all those months of planning finally lead up to. When leaning over a book of event management theory it’s hard to get a grip of just how important the attention to detail is when you plan an event, but after following the work on site I now see clearly how those little details make a huge difference on the overall outcome.

It is easy to forget simple things such as scheduling coffee breaks for the staff or making sure that there’s that extra stock of merchandise ready when the old stock runs out, but if those things are already in your plan you’re more likely to get it right the first time around. This newfound understanding is definitely something that I will take with me both in my studies, as well as in future projects here at Proud Events.

Of course everything has its ups and downs, and I would lie if I didn’t say that working at a festival isn’t challenging at times.

Somehow there always seems to be more VIPs than there are names on the guest list and if I got a penny for every time someone realised that they’d forgotten their ID at home when they finally had reached the end of the line to the accreditation tent, I’d be a rich girl by now. Long shifts continuing into the early morning hours, mean winds sneaking in under every possible layer of clothing and hectic periods with never ending queues were some of the tough elements that we had to endure.

However, when I look back at AMP Lost & Found and Malta I don’t remember it as stressful or tiring, but rather as week filled with laughter and new encounters.

What I remember more than anything, more than any of the DJ sets or the Castle raves, more than the wind or my aching feet, is the amazing team.

I remember the silliness in the accreditation tent at slow periods, I remember making friends with the security and how they gave us coffee and Maltese pastries to pull through our shift, and I remember all of the AMP Lost & Found staff dancing together in the sunset at the well deserved staff party at the end of the festival.

As a team we worked hard by taking on new challenges and supporting each other through it all – from our first shift together to the long bus journey home from Leeds airport.

It’s said that when you have fun together you work well together and I really believe that to be true.

Back in London, I just can’t wait to get on site again, but as I’ve learnt recently planning is more important then one thinks.

So, now we’re back in the office preparing for our next event, hoping that it will turn out even better than the last one by taking with us all we learnt at this year’s AMP Lost & Found.  

Make sure to follow us so that you don’t miss out on any of our exciting upcoming events, and please get in touch with us at info@proudevents.co.uk

If you want to join our team on our next events click here

Festival Reflections

We’ve been immersing ourselves in all things Festival for the last part of this year’s summer season. It’s all great preparation for Scarborough Fair Festival taking place next May Bank Holiday weekend. Ben’s been appointed as Festival Manager and preparations are in full swing.

We were fortunate to be asked to work with the amazing Festival No 6 in beautiful Portmerion. What an incredible experience, not just getting the opportunity to work at the event, but we learnt so much about how to deliver a great festival experience.

No sooner had we finished at Festival No 6 than we were off to the Isle of Wight for Bestival. A whole different scale but again such an incredible experience. Don’t get us wrong we’ve been dong the festival circuit for decades but there’s so much more to focus on when you’ve got one of your own to deliver!

It’s easy to forget that your attendees give up to five days of their time for you to fill with fun, entertainment and the basic necessities of life, sleeping, washing and going to the loo! Both festivals worked so hard to ensure a great ‘customer experience’ and in so many different ways.

The ‘customer journey’ has always been at the centre of our events. Well designed sites, a stonking programme to keep people entertained, food and drink to keep people fed and watered are all essentials. But it’s those little details that can sometime really make the difference. Turning a bit of woodland into a crazy set of unexpected surprises or dressing an area with a strong theme really enhances people’s experience.

We’re building the team for Scarborough Fair Festival over the coming weeks. We have our first big supplier day soon and we’re looking for not just quality but for innovation and creativity. We think it’s going to be amazing and we’ll be letting you follow the story here and through our Twitter and Facebook feeds

2015 has been Proud Events first full year. It’s had its moments, some amazing and some challenging. Despite our years of experience every day has brought something new. We’ve done more than we had ever dreamed was possible, pushed ourselves to the limits and we’re still laughing and smiling (well just about anyway)! Follow our continuing story and get in touch info@prouudevents.co.uk