Described as “one of the most globally connected and influential professionals in the festivals and events industry today”, Australian maestro Bill O’Toole was inducted into the International Festivals and Events Association Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Through a diverse career which began with a Pure Mathematics degree from the University of Sydney and included music instrument making, founding significant and influential folk bands on two continents, starting his own performing arts agency, providing event management training in Africa on behalf of the UN and the European Commission and developing various widely used and cited textbooks and principles for event and project management, O’Toole has a legacy which reaches right around the world.
O’Toole used his acceptance speech during a special luncheon at the IFEA Convention in San Diego, California, to reflect on that most unpredictable – and sometimes elusive – element for organisers: an event’s “magic moment”.
“That’s what you people do,” he told assembled attendees, “You create that special moment. It doesn’t have to be the razzmatazz, it doesn’t have to be the fireworks; it could be something as simple as a shared magic moment.”
IFEA President and CEO Steven Wood Schmader was effusive on O’Toole’s contribution to the industry.
“I can speak personally to the amazing career Bill has had and I feel very honoured to be a very very small part of some of the things he’s accomplished in our industry,” he said.
“You set an example for us to aspire to.”
Watch the full presentation of O’Toole’s induction below.
You can also read his impressive biography here.
And for a bit of fun and a salute to the experience that led to his event management legendary status, you can also glimpse O’Toole’s musical prowess in this video of his five-time Aria nominated band Sirocco playing at the Old Melbourne Jail in 1987.