The client specifically wanted to hold the show – including black-tie reception and dinner with supporting AV for the awards – in the stunning Samsung Hall at San Francisco’s Asian Arts Museum.
Our challenge was to create this perfect setting including all event infrastructure (tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, food & beverage and full AV provision – with staging, lighting sound and live camera relay) in time for delegate arrivals at 7.30pm.
On the surface, that doesn’t seem unreasonable until you realise that the museum was open to the public all day and we couldn’t gain access until 5.00pm. Then when you factor in that the Samsung Hall is on the fourth floor of the venue with just one small freight elevator for access, the magnitude of our challenge becomes clear.
Principally, this all boiled down to outstanding teamwork between the Activate team, our local caterers, AV partners and the venue – and superb project management.
A detailed site inspection and follow-up planning meeting involving all key stakeholders provided the expert input that we needed to create a detailed project plan, carefully prioritising the timing and order in which each task needed to be completed. We brainstormed different eventualities & contingencies – what if it rained, what if traffic was bad, what if the one & only freight elevator broke down, how would we source the necessary additional power, what official clearances and health & safety assessments were needed – etc.
We arranged for a mobile kitchen to be set up in the loading bay of the museum so that food preparation could commence in the afternoon. At 4.30pm we were able to begin loading the freight elevator according to a carefully organised plan which ensured all the infrastructure arrived in the Samsung Hall in the correct order and at exactly the right time.
It was clear from the outset that we would never get all the catering and AV infrastructure into the venue within the available time frame, so we improvised and only installed the essential AV kit – staging, lighting, sound and a modest front-of house control.
The vast majority of the AV management & control, including the live-camera vision-mixing for the awards was situated 4 floors below with a comms link to the video director and event producer who were located in the Samsung Hall to direct the show.
An increased team of banqueting staff had the room fully set for dinner within 60 minutes of accessing the building, with the AV set and control not far behind. With 45 mins to go, we commenced the technical rehearsal followed by on-stage familiarisation and sound checks for the client’s presenters. The room was set, checked and cleared for “go” at 7.20pm and at 7.30pm on the dot, the guests were invited to take their seats and the show commenced.
Our client was delighted with the end result – a sumptuous gala dinner in an iconic location in San Francisco attended by guests from around the globe – creating a truly memorable occasion.