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Run an exit poll at any event and ask ‘what impressed you most’. The answers are most likely to refer to an innovation – something never experienced before, says EventServ development and support manager Emily Huddart.

Think the Olympic Games drummers and the be-winged cyclists disappearing into the night sky on a high wire. You have to make something new happen – use a fresh approach or technology in a different way for that ‘wow-factor’.

So how do we, as an industry, keep injecting awe into the hardened hearts and minds of those regular gig-goers who have probably seen it all by the time they’re 25?

Start right

Visitors to British Summertime in Hyde Park this year were welcomed by three giant semi-circular entrance archways and the theme was carried through with conviction particularly the dressed concessions and themed village green, piazza and Havana areas. They combined to make you forget you were in central London as you lost yourself in the festival atmosphere for the day. Priceless.


At the other end of the spectrum in the corporate sector, we had the Web Summit (Dublin) with its main stage made of water containers flanked by a long wall of dynamic screens showcasing technological advances and a bridge made of shipping containers – funky, industrial-edge, reusable and above all, innovative.

Breath-taking brands

All the best event innovation is rooted in the brand. Brand activation starts with a great story and follows through with visual impact and a whole experience which consumers relate to.

Take Heineken’s ‘Sound Atlas’ which we designed and installed for their brand activation company – Exhibit Design Group. Made up of several components including shipping containers, the 30 or 50-metre square structures flexed to either a VIP bar or DJ booth as it made its way around the festival circuit.

The Sound Atlas stood out with its 10m-high hall drawing visitors in to sample musical and cultural experiences from all over the world – some digital, some real such as the Brooklyn Deli, basketball court and roof garden. Often breath-taking but always attuned to the Heineken brand.

No let-up

In this relentless business, you need a constant stream of ideas, insights and timely reminders of how best to bring a brand to life. 

Event excellence often comes from collaborating with both our clients and others in the event supply chain.  A subtle alchemy happens when people from different companies work together in an environment of trust which generally starts at the top.

That collaboration brought about by trust can make all sorts of magic happen which overcomes health and safety concerns, the impractical or makes ‘mission impossible’, possible.

So it’s all about thinking well beyond crowd barriers and staging. It’s all about thinking differently so we find new ways to solve problems old and new.

Picture caption: Example of brand activation – Heineken Sound Atlas inviting visitors to sample musical and cultural experiences from all over the world – some digital, some real.