The RSVP Party After Dark parties have become something of an institution – so why did Melbourne’s latest party not live up to previous ones?
The location was perfect – the balcony area in the Royal Exhibition Building above the trade floor. During the day there were tantalising glimpses of the bump-in from the show floor.
The design worked well – including some welcoming arches, scattered furniture, drapes, casino tables, an island bar, a chill out room.
Because of the nature of the space the party are had two distinct sections – on either side of the central void. It could have been designed to all be on the one side but I didn’t mind it being split – particularly for entertainment purposes.
There were three main issues that spoiled the event – the food service, the entertainment and the technical.
The food service was slow to come out at the beginning of the night and with so much booze around people were heading to get smashed pretty quickly. When it did come the food was great but the poor waitstaff were nearly demolished along with the food. There was also a wonderful dessert table by Boutique Affairs that was pretty much demolished by the time the main savoury food came out. (well OK… life is short, eat dessert first)
The first part of the entertainment was fine – casino tables, the Liquid Infusion juggling cocktail makers, interactive photo studio and plenty of networking opportunity.
All quite chic, well except for the bucking bronco ride, but that did fit with the karaoke.
I’ll now declare my dislike of karaoke of any description, but putting that aside… unfortunately Rockstar for a Day could only attract people who could only sing off key (one of the main reasons karaoke exists and why I hate the concept) and it was too loud. So I headed over to the other side just as the band were cranking up. A loud rock covers band. Not a showcase, just a rock band.
This brings me to the technical. The REB is a very live space and with very little heavy draping to absorb the sound it reverberated immensely. Unfortunately the sound mixer had no idea how to pull a decent sound from that band in that venue – he just went for loud.
Lighting can make or break the atmosphere of a set of a room. Unfortunately the décor that had been carefully selected and arranged for this event was just not lit properly – in particular the two inflated half domes, which instead of looking quite stunning just looked like they were totally dumped in the space.
The lounge area between the two sides to the event went largely unused – because it was lit like a shop display, not an alluring chill out den.
Previous PAD events in Melbourne have been great – last year’s at the Old Melbourne Gaol showed just how it can be done, with plenty of variety and lots of little entertainment showcases, and the year before the event was held in a very lively bar with a small jazz combo.
There were plenty of entertainment showcases through the day at the expo that would have perfectly suited the party event. Surely the whole idea is to sample what is on offer, not get blasted by one or two offerings only.
So how did it end up – no idea, I bailed.