Shout About London’s Stuart Groves is hyped about the inaugural London Venue Awards, and gives his tips on who might bag the trophies on the night (16 October).
As London event specialists, we recently heard some extremely welcome news: this October brings the Inaugural London Venue Awards at the (mighty) Emirates stadium.
From the team behind the London Conference Awards, currently in its 7th year, this is set to be a real industry player from here on out.
One of the most impressive things about this all new event is the judging panel, featuring more than 30 business professionals – largely at director level and above – who have expertise and experience from every facet of the industry.
*Coughs* just wondering why we weren’t picked
This year, twenty categories are up for grabs. As we are now a proud partner for this event, we’ve been asked by Access to single out some categories and throw a few names into the mix.
Don’t worry, this won’t influence the decisions. All judging will be processed independently online, to ensure the integrity of the accolades. We’ve also locked the judges up in the Tower of London until the ceremony (not because we’re jealous or anything).
Here’s a pick of six of the categories and some of our musings. Never ones to sit on the fence (or use clichés) we’re going to have a guess at the winners as well. Although, we may have to stop saying we’re specialists if none of these are right.
Best Sporting Venue
We’ll start here for two reasons.
One: The Emirates are headline sponsors for this event, as host venue
Two: FA Cup winners again! Nope, couldn’t resist.
Our other contenders would include cricket grounds: Lords and the Kia Oval. Between them offering a host of meeting spaces with pitch views and outdoor space. At the Oval you can even hire the pitch for a match or have some teambuilding in the nets.
We’re going to punt for that horrible C word… Chelsea (urgh) Village.
The venue has boardrooms overlooking the pitch, two hotels, two restaurants and an awesome music venue all nestled in the grounds of Chelsea (urgh) Stadium. We’ve taken a few clients here and the event team are professional, fun and engaging. Shame it doesn’t rub off on the football team really.
Best Board Room Meeting
This is a great category and one that I’m sure will be wrongly overshadowed by other awards to some. However, some of our most important client events take place in boardrooms. Finding somewhere that’s not just the same old four walls is getting more important than ever.
You can overlook a sports pitch at one of the above venues, and hire a space at the Ritz for a very reasonable rate, or you can enjoy a bit of outdoor space in the unforgivably underrated Museum of London meeting spaces.
The Vinoly Room at Sky Garden is probably the most breath-taking boardroom setting we’ve seen since we first stepped in to the Royal Suite at the St Pancras Renaissance and my ‘royal friendly’ business partner jumped into my arms at the sight of her majesty peering down at us from her stunning portrait above the fire. The views at Vinoly rival the balcony in Galvin at Windows, but with a privacy the Galvin can’t match.
Best Corporate Party Venue
Under The Bridge, the basement at the Ace Hotel, One Embankment are contenders here.
This is a tricky one to choose, as London really is the party capital of the world. Our friends at the Kensington Roof Gardens have to be in the running. Year upon year they host incredible events and there’s not many people I know that haven’t been and had a great night there – corporate or otherwise. Top Golf, Bounce and Brooklyn Bowl, meanwhile, offer something to do whilst you party and bring the group together over more than just prosecco and a fight for the last canapé.
The Vault London is a double decker red bus, only with a DJ… and a bar… and a toilet… and lights… and no crazy driver shouting expletives at you for daring to give him, you know, legal tender (“You never seen a note mate?”). Only last week they were hosting the Young Guns album launch, with hundreds of fans picked up at various check points and the band playing 20 minute acoustic sets upstairs whilst on the move. We’ve had lots of clients (and venue teams) aboard after our events and I bet only half of them remember leaving.
Best New or Refurbished Venue
The Leadenhall building has to be in the running with their first events in September this year. Sky Garden would also be up there (pun intended), I urge you to go if you haven’t already.
There’s also some exciting new offerings from: Blank Canvas, Tanner & Co and DandD London on the way. Qualgino’s is also looking smoking hot after its refurbishment.
We’re going to Shout About the Holborn Hox in this category. They could be in with a chance in several categories and walk away triumphantly like a pissed-up Robbie Williams at the Brits. The launch of their event spaces was a fantastic night and showed the amazing array of entertainment you can throw in to an apartment we all wish we owned.
Best use of Technology
Numerous nods here: the much-publicised renovation of Tower Bridge; 8 Northumberland installing Musion in their main event space; the sultry and alluring holograms splashed all around Le Peep Boutique; production value at venues like King’s Place, the Bloomsbury Ballroom and the Roundhouse.
Level 39’s general commitment to this area has to mean they’re in with a shout (pun even more intended). They regularly host hackathons and offer the kind of contemporary event space that is in such short supply in the capital.
Best Marketing of a Venue
Inception Group could enter most of its bars for this. The press around the Beaver Lodge opening was yet another achievement for them. Meanwhile, Hoxton Hotels ‘no bullshit’ stance, that I’m sure a lot more people appreciate than will admit to it, deserves a nod.
The institute of competitive socialising launched three-month pop up Swingerz London in Shoreditch over the winter period. Crazy golf, street food, craft beer – think Butlins without the smell but more hipsters (wait, is that an oxymoron?). After a three month sold out run they extended it a further three, before giving way to developers. We, alas, are left eagerly awaiting their next project, which passes about as quickly as waiting for Netflix to do another bloody House of Cards.
Well that’s that, but allow us to leave you with one last vision:
We advocate a segment to be added to this year’s ceremony, borrowed from the Oscars, namely an In Memoriam tribute to the many talents we lost in 2015.
Cue a huge picture of Vinopolis on the big screen with eight memorable words displayed against a solemn backdrop: So long… and thanks for all the wine
Pan to a tearful crowd *Fade out*