RUNNING LARGE SCALE EVENTS: MORE THAN JUST “WINGING IT”
Large Scale Events take not months, but often years, of planning. Anyone who thinks they can ‘wing it’ and do it well, will likely fail in one way or another. From the long term marketing plan, to selling large sponsorship packages and event logistics, it can take multiple teams, feeding into a central & dedicated team that is over-viewing all elements, whilst also problem solving, tracking budgets and managing risk… Collectively, working like a perfectly synchronized, bejewelled & crowned, Swiss watch; large events require a delicate craftsmanship that is not for the faint hearted.
I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Volvo World Ocean Race or VOR, as it was called to us, for one of the global sponsors, in fact, I worked on this event twice, back in the noughties. My on-site event role was as part of the Australia and New Zealand ground crew, as an event and logistical operative, but before the race, in the leading 2-3 years prior to each race, I was also involved in planning the stops, between the legs, from the starting line to the finish in Sweden.
Logistically, this event was staggeringly large, with teams from countries all over the world, each tasked with managing a venue within the VOR Village that would be base for the stops in each location. Some stops being as long as 5 weeks and others, being as short as 3 days. Event Crews looked after everything from in harbour race days, to merchandise, managing the hospitality events and functions, to pre-race planning of structure builds, travel and accommodation, handling expert VIP speakers and talent, ticketing and a plethora of other objectives to manage, seamlessly, tirelessly and with expert knowledge to manage people and their expectations.
It was remarkable, the work, effort and time taken to get everything right and for the lead team, which also included the VOR Yacht build and yacht crew needs; from building the boats, to training the crews, sail and race testing, to boat branding and supplies. It was its own full-time task for a large contingency of global experts and boat specialists. The money put into a boat build alone was in the millions and all for a chance to win the world’s largest, longest, yacht race.
On the ground, during the race, the hours were very long but the energy was ecstatic. We would arrive at Race Village when there was nothing but the sounds of water lapping at the piers, a breeze pushing through the race village buildings & the visual of the sun rising over the water, with the yachts all lined up in their magnificent colourful glory, ready for a day of action. We would leave with the sun had gone down, the people gone home, and cleaners had come out to clear the grounds, ready for another day.
The memories of that time will stay with me forever and gave me a huge respect for all my event comrades out there, across the globe, working on all manner of global and large-scale events. I know how hard you work, how many stakeholders you have to please and I salute you.
By Joanne Rosanoski, globally experienced senior level event manager who runs JR Events..
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