Report by Trevor Connell
Belle-Laide Events were invited to stage this year’s Party After Dark at the Museum of Sydney. Not a venue that one would usually associate with largish events as the museum space is spread out over a number of floors.
So the answer – a marquee on the forecourt of the building. However this forecourt is also an integral part of the venue as it sits over the foundations of New South Wales’ original Government House, so a lot of sensitivity was required..
This is the first time a marquee has been erected on this site for an event so the organisers had to be extra careful.
The team had a four month lead time for the event but it was still a tricky setup. The construction of the marquee had to take place after the museum closed on Wednesday night. Fitting out then took place during Thursday and then the complete bump-out had to be accomplished before the venue opened again on Friday morning.
Décor and entertainment.
Event Manager Georgie Duddy described the approach as a “quirky take on the museum”
The feature of the entrance to the marquee was a plant wall that consisted of the letters RSVP covered in moss (at the MoS – get it?) and a grid holding dozens of potted plants. This represented the event donating a total offset of 100 tonnes of CO2 – via Carbon Conscious Limited planting 500 Mallee trees within the Australian wheat belt.
Scattered around the venue were glowing tables with interesting ‘Secrets of Sydney’ decaled on them. The little known facts about Sydney that guests may or may not know tied in with the exhibition content at the MoS.
The media wall was quite a hit and was created to add to that historic feel by featuring headlines from years past with the RSVP exhibitors included within the text of the articles and sections that were entitled ‘what’s your story?’ Textas were provided so that people could add their own comments.
Most popular was the photo wall, a creation of Belle-Laide Events, which consisted of a wall with framed cut-outs that guests were invited to stick their heads through and then captured by photographer Lucas Jarvis.
The only walk around act at this event was the mobile bar atop an extravagant Louis XIV period dress.
Challenges of the event
Georgie Duddy told ASE the biggest challenge was to get the various areas to connect – the marquee and the space in the museum. This was achieved by putting cocktail tables between the two and in particular, the media wall which was located in the glassed-in entrance to the museum – very visible and a drawcard.
The other challenge was in regards to the sensitivity of the site – which I’ve covered above.
How did it work?
The event proved to be quite a contrast to those of previous years. This was a simple event with the focus on networking.
On arrival guests were invited to have a look around the museum or just get down to networking and socialising in the marquee or the building’s foyer. The space between the marquee and the building was quickly commandeered by that anti-social element, the smokers, which in turn kept them connected to the event rather than being ostracized.
The background music was kept at a comfortable level for conversation and the food and drinks flowed smoothly.
After the speeches (short) and prize draw the DJ kicked in and really got the marquee rocking for the next couple of hours until the end of the event.
My only criticism of this event was that when the DJ kicked in not only did the volume level in the marquee go up (fine, because that is where he was located) but also in the museum foyer – which meant there was nowhere to go for those who wanted to continue conversing and so quite a few guests then left, this in turn left the room more naked and the sound reverberated around even more making conversation impossible. Pity, because the initial networking/conversation option really kicked this event off on the right track.
There were also some lucky winners on the night – Samantha Loveridge from Macquaire Group received a $200 gift voucher to Universal Restaurant donated by Belle-Laide Events; Rachel Newman from Baker and MacKenzie won a $100 gift voucher for MoS Café and Stacey Howard from CPA Australia won 2 x 1 year memberships to the Museum of Sydney
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Venue – Museum of Sydney managed by Historic Houses Trust of NSW
The client – RSVP – Delwin Kriel event manager
Event management – Belle-Laide Events
Event managers Georgie Duddy and Mark Taylor
Innovative Production Services – Lighting, audio & staging
Airstar Australia – Light sphere installation
Belle-Laide Events – the photoshoot wall with props, macaroon station, creative design of the newspaper articles and bar decals
Ambius – plant wall
Blond Flores – RSVP moss and floral design
Decorative Events – decor
Toast Food – food and beverage service
Edge Hospitality Solutions – service staff
Events, Festivals & Weddings – catering equipment
Brewtopia – branded beers
Twisted Liquid – cocktails
Frontier Wines – wines
Harry the Hirer – marquee installation
Greyhound Commercial – transfers from SCEC
MoS Café – chill out area
Zadro Communications – PR
O’Neill Photographics – event photography
Lucas Jarvis – photo wall photography
DJ Mr Chad supplied by Musicland