Well what a month February 2015 was for me and for Diary of an #Eventprof!  There’s been so much happening since I started blogging at the end of January and more importantly lots of volunteering!

One of the things I’m loving about my diploma course with Ashdown Academy is the opportunity to volunteer at events and pick up some valuable experience and skills. Whether that’s the London Remixed Festival or The Moon Walk London or even the Eurovision Song Contest, the opportunities keep coming through and here are just three of the amazing events that I was fortunate enough to volunteer at last month.

KIDS ‘Lunar New Year Dinner’ at the Berkeley Hotel

A great evening and my first time back in an event operation for seven years!

KIDS are a fantastic charity who work with disabled children, young people and their families. The KIDS approach is to empower disabled children and young people to develop their skills and abilities by creating opportunities to take part in positive play, learning, leisure, employment training and social activities.

DSC_0393Their ‘Lunar New Year Dinner’ was an evening of food, cocktails, entertainment and dancing with a Chinese New Year theme held at The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge. Approximately 135 guests attended, a mix of European and American longstanding and new supporters of the charity. I arrived around 5.30pm and worked up until Midnight with the KIDS events team and a team of volunteers from Ashdown Academy, helping with set up and decoration of the dining tables then the remainder of the evening assisting guests bidding in the silent auction.

The best part of the evening for me was listening to the heart-warming speeches from Georgia and Rhodri, both 17 years old and two of the young people that KIDS have supported over the years. In Georgia’s words “KIDS is great and the people who work for KIDS are amazing. They need support and belief from you so they can inspire more young people like me”. A very successful event raising over £50,000 for the charity.

City Music Foundation ‘Rhyme & Reason Black Tie Dinner’ at The Banking Hall

The City Music Foundation was set up approximately three years ago and provides professional musicians in the UK and in the early stages of their careers with expert advice, guidance and support to help them build successful careers in music.

IMG_2676Their ‘Rhyme & Reason’ fundraising black tie dinner was held at The Banking Hall in the City. Approximately 120 guests attended the event and again I worked with the City Music Foundation events team and a team of volunteers from Ashdown Academy, helping with meet and greet and registration and then the silent and live auction through the evening. There were some breathtaking performances from pianist Cordelia Williams, Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet and The Foyle-Stsura Duo, the highlight for me being The Kansas Smitty’s Jazz Ensemble, all artists that are supported and mentored by the foundation. Another very successful event raising over £20,000 for the charity.

The ‘BRIT Awards 2015’ at The O2 Arena

Well what can I say about the BRIT Awards! One thing I didn’t know until last week is that the Brit Awards are a charity event organised by BPI.

BPI, The British Phonographic Industry, represents the UK’s recorded music industry, one of the most exciting and thriving music sectors in the world as British artists now account for one in eight albums purchased by fans around the globe.

Launched in 1977, the BRIT Awards are the annual showcase for the UK music industry.
The organising company BRIT Awards Limited, is a fully owned subsidiary of the BPI. Both the BRITs and sister event the Classic BRIT Awards celebrate not just the biggest successes in music but also operate as an important platform to introduce and promote new talent.

Substantial proceeds from both shows go to the BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI, that has donated almost £15m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation in 1989.

IMG_2691As many of you will be aware the awards are now held at the O2 Arena. I worked from 12pm right up until the live broadcast on ITV at 8pm with the Compass team and approximately 20 Ashdown Academy volunteers and to give you an idea of the size of the operation there were 800 staff in total. I was mainly responsible for serving wine and drinks to the tables booked by Warner Music in both set up and during service from 5pm before the live awards. I managed their pre-order and any additional requests on the evening and looked after a number of high profile guests and celebrities.

The highlight for me was the chance to see some of the rehearsals including a perfect performance (minus fall) by Madonna. There was also a moment with literally seconds to go until live broadcast on ITV and, when absolutely no staff are to be in the main arena, that I’m running though the tables with a clean chair for Cara Delevingne, two bottles of still water for Adam Lambert and a glass of ice for another guest of Warner Music, all at the same time! I’m sure it’s a moment every event manager can relate to. An amazing day and a great experience and I came away with a huge reminder of my love for this fantastic industry that we all work in!

I have to say a huge thank you to the three organisations above and to Ashdown Academy, three amazing events and experiences for me and I’m looking forward to what the next few months hold. All that is left to say is that if you’re a student then consider volunteering at events, there are lots of opportunities out there and you will pick up some fantastic experience and transferrable skills to go alongside your studies and, if you’re an event organiser looking for staffing at your next event, consider taking on some volunteers, there are some amazing event management students out there who would really welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Until next time #eventprofs…