The MEA 2016 conference kicked off last night at the Melbourne Convention Centre by sticking to convention number one – a welcome ceremony on the evening of the first day.
However this welcome was unconventional – Chair of the MEA Board, Simon Baggs, walked to the lectern and said “welcome” then walked off as a Brian May* lookalike let rip with a typical Brian May guitar chord and then made his way to the stage to be accompanied by the rest of the SongDivision band.
The conference MC, Candy, then introduced Vinh Giang, the son of Vietnamese refugees (boat people) who threw in his university studies to become a magician. So what is the point of a magician as a keynote speaker?
Vinh is more than a magician – he is a very elegant speaker who uses magic tricks to challenge our everyday perspectives. And he does that very well indeed.
Having a keynote speaker at the opening session is unconventional for a MEA conference and what followed was also our of the ordinary. Three teams competing in a lip-sync battle with live accompaniment from the SongDivision band. A challenging concept at this time of the day – much better suited to an after-hours session.
Then across to Cargo Hall for the welcome drinks session – excellent food and beverages and plenty of networking to get the conference kicked off. Very conventional and very necessary.
*For the youngsters out there – Brian May, legendary Queen guitarist.