Monday, April 24, 2017

We Loved This Industry Retreat! #FTLOY2017

Can you imagine Janet in a dawn yoga class, relaxed and mellow at 7am?
We could not, either.
But it happened a few weeks ago when Ted and Janet attended TPG's Luxury Lifestyle Reboot in Napa Valley, For the Love of YOU 2017. Janet and Ted came back happy, relaxed and glowing. 

We were excited about TPG's invitation to attend the 3 day weekend at the luxurious Meadowood Napa Valley. A weekend of great wine and great food in the company of great industry colleagues sounded enticing enough. However, it turned out that the experience left us much more inspired than we anticipated. TPG allowed us to share details.


There's a sea change happening in today's uber-connected world.
Employees, colleagues, partners, and friends want more purpose, more daringness, less of the scarcity caused by our 24/7 bombardment of BS.
Together we'll become Life Ninjas, our phrase for rad folks who live authentically and with clear direction. 
(Miss) Stuart Patton, Communications Manager for The Performance Group Northern California,  was so kind to share this information with us.
FTLOY2017 was a full success, starting with guest reaction.

Attendees (without a hint of schmaltz) said things like “the weekend was life-changing!” and “I’ve been on a journey I don’t want to leave.”

Many carefully curated aspects made this weekend magical.

For starters, the location. Meadowood Napa Valley, with its oak trees and tucked-away cottages, offered a totally immersive “getting away from it all” vibe.  And get away from it all one had to; iPhones displaying “No Service” caused initial panic then lasting relief. And the conference rooms aren’t very conference-y. They’re more residential retreat, complete with crackling fire, than boxed in boardrooms.

The speakers were the A-List we have come to expect from TPG, known for curating amazing talent for its clients. This retreat was no exception.

Deb Parsons, President of TPG, opened the weekend by sharing exactly what motivated her to create this gorgeous and special event. She talked about the fact that 'For the Love of YOU' was years in the making. She was driven by an internal knowing that it was time to take all of TPG’s worldly event experience and create something of their own.  It was an opportunity to connect the dots and use all the levers that TPG has in their tool box to really move, change and inspire people. Deb explained how this event was conceived as a platform to help themselves, their clients and their partners slow down and listen to their souls.

We kicked off the event with Ayelet Baron, a former tech executive who’s committed to making an impact on business, as we currently know it. Her book, Our Journey to Corporate Sanity, argues that purpose and profit must combine to bolster our next generation of corporate leaders.
During lunch, we listened to Grammy-nominated songwriter and performer Ciaran Gribbin talk about his background in war-torn Ireland, and his belief that music has the power to bring people together. When he sang Brown Eyed Girl … well, let’s just say … few eyes were dry.

David Howitt, author of Heed Your Call and CEO of the Meriwether Group, discussed the merits of a personal hero’s journey — leaving what’s comfortable and tapping into the heart to manifest what you really want in life. Drawing upon the power of “and,” we learned we can be managers and artists, techies and yogis.

Laura Munson, author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is … A Season of Unlikely Happiness and creator of Haven Writing Retreats, closed by giving us the time and guidance needed to sort out the weekend’s common themes. She began by describing her let-down after reaching her life’s dream — becoming a New York Times Best Selling Author. The experience taught her that success is a myth. And if success is a myth, failure is a myth. Laura realized that happiness cannot come from outside circumstances; contentment comes from following one’s heart (seeing the weekend’s BIG theme yet?). She then led the group through a personally moving writing exercise, helping new and experienced writers mine their own hearts. The session ended with guests checking their calendars (iPhone service restored) in hopes of attending one of Laura’s upcoming Haven Writing Retreats in Montana.

The Yoga instructor who impressed Janet and Ted to take up yoga - and stick with the practice ever since - was one of lululemon's carefully selected yoga ambassadors.

Jessica Micheletti, yogi extraordinaire, lead the group through a journey comprised of fragrant oils, crystals, and live music. A fire was lighted in the fireplace while she helped the group climb into an alternate head-space. Yes, live music and glowing fires during our yoga sessions.

We have been to many retreats but FTLOY really delivered: it was truly inspiring and the takeaway is of lasting value.

Happy to be Ninjas and looking forward to 2018.


All photos courtesy of The Performance Group. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

How We Can Learn from Coachella

It is "Coachella Time".

This festival strives to add new bells and whistles each and every year, that set the bar higher for us in the event industry.

In 2017 everyone is talking about "festivalization" of meetings and events.

Here is our round-up of top trends and inspiring aspects.

“All experiences are morphing together into the festivalization of events. Concerts add conferences, meetings add new styles of collaboration, trade shows add consumer elements. Training conferences are like going to Lollapalooza. In a competition for our attention, event organizers are engaging all the senses."

- David Adler/BizBash Medium

"The meetings industry is evolving beyond its preoccupation with event technology and the impact of Millennials over the last five years. The new focus for 2017 revolves around developing more multidisciplinary business events, integrating education and entertainment, to engage attendees in new ways on different levels."

— Greg Oates/Skift

How can we learn from Coachella after 18 years? 

Does the Music and Arts Festival still remain fresh and new?
It certainly remains relevant.There is a lot more going on than arts and music. After all, the festival itself has become the catalyst for hundreds of smaller branding, marketing and pure party events surrounding it. 
Maybe due to its proximity to Los Angeles, Coachella attracts more celebrities and influencers than any other festival.Young show business A-listers park their private jets on the tarmac at Palm Springs.Every model-of-the-moment, Instagramer and YouTuber is heading into the desert. 
Los Angeles Times tallied the revenue generated by three festival weekends, Coachella and StageCoach, for the Greater Palm Springs area last year: ticket sales and tourism alone brought in $770 million! 
We are paying attention!


Kate Brack, Director of Floral and Event Design:

"I am truly inspired by the inventiveness and ingenuity of the fashion pop up shops created using shipping containers and airstream trailers. They are forward thinking, green builds that not only lend an eye to design but hit the mark as an experiential marketing piece. As events move further away from the hotel ballroom and into unexpected settings, Coachella, like Burning Man, is at the forefront of creativity in the field of live events."

We asked DJ Matt Cornwall, who is always at the forefront of trends in music.

"Coachella is offering an impressive VR/AR experience. See the  description in VR Scout":

In their never-ending attempt to continually top themselves, the marketing team introduced a slew of new augmented reality features activated by the welcome box itself. By simply downloading the Coachella VR app, available for free on IOS & Android, users can now activate an augmented reality mode and view a colorful spectacle right on the cover of the box containing all your festival necessities. Pointing your camera at the design reveals a circling group of neon sharks, a bright hot air balloon, tangled roller coasters, the infamous ferris wheel and more enchanting sights all colorfully illuminated by a spectacular light show.

The app doesn’t stop there however, as the Coachella team has actually hidden several augmented reality ‘easter eggs’ that festival-attendees can hunt for while on the official grounds. Combine this with the stellar catalog of Coachella VR content continuously being uploaded and you have a powerful VR/AR mobile app that should just about cover all your festival needs.

Coachella continues to be a game-changer.
However, the biggest draw has been and still is: MUSIC.
Matt is happy to share his recommendations.

DJ Matt Cornwall’s
Top 20 Coachella Acts Not To Be Missed! 

1. Los Angeles natives and local favorites, Classixx - Sat April 15th and 22nd.
2. Devendra Banhart - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
3. Bonobo - Fri April 14th and 21rst. 
4. DJ Shadow - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
5. FKJ (French Kiwi Juice) Sat, April 15th. 
6. Gaslamp Killer -Fri April 14th and 21st. 
7. GBV (Guided By Voices ) -Fri April 14th and 21st. 
8. Little Dragon- Fri April 14th and 21st. 
9. Thundercat - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
10. Tove Lo -Sun April 16th and 23rd.
11. Real Estate - Sun April 16th and 23rd.
12. Porter Robinson & Madeon - Sun April 16th and 23rd.
13. New Order! - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
14. Tycho - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
15. Nicholas Jaar - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
16. Sampha - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
17. T.S.O.L - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
18. Preservation Hall Jazz Band  - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
19. Kaytranada - Sun April 16th and 22nd. 
20. Kendrick Lamar - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
Lighters Up! ~ DJMC

Don't feel bad if you don't know many of the bands by name! 
By bringing new music, new bands and new trends Coachella inspires us to look for the next big thing, in every regard.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Event Report: Brynne Peña Took Over Petco Park

The Event: a 3-day Conference in San Diego
Event Dates: March 19-21, 2017
Guest Count: 1400+
Our Tasks: we provided full production services for a series of events surrounding a conference, culminating in the Closing Night Extravaganza at Petco Park.

We had spent 2 years on planning this event, especially the Closing Night Extravaganza in Petco Park, in great detail.
And then Murphy's Law applied.
The weather forecast changed, TV announcers were aflutter, RAIN was in the Southern California forecast for event time. Our event was planned as an outdoor event.

Brynne Peña explains: "After two years of discussing, planning, drawing and sourcing the event we literally had to do a 180 with 48 hours to go. We went back to the drawing board, created new diagrams and put the whole event under cover.

The entire Field portion of the event had to be moved up off the field because of the impending rain.
We moved the bars into the locker room to create a sort of secret, "hidden" Speakeasy kind of bar, giving exclusive access to this area that normally the public would not be allowed entrance into.
We placed the interactive activities inside the stadium and set up the concert stage in a weather proof area. We did dress our band in baseball uniforms!
By the end of the night, the skies were dry. Our closing fireworks went off without a hitch! Yes, I drank even more coffee than usual!"

"Part of the fun was the unusual access to the stadium. Not many of us get to enter the field in our lifetime. Did I mention that this event took place two weeks before the season opening? A lot of diplomacy was involved in making the client's dream come true without damage to the Padres' lawn.

"Ron Burgundy" proved irresistible to all of us.
Lauren, Brynne and Debbie.

"We checked Twitter. Some commented on the unexpected 8-minute custom fireworks and guests shared their excitement.
We love to see great reaction!

We also got to stretch our creative muscles for a
beach-themed, indoors Welcome Reception.
We had the opportunity to fulfill our design
wish list, a lot of updated, modern,
fun beach decor.
Kate Brack designed, Carolyn Vasi sourced.
Manuel built and Frankie painted.
We delivered new customized pieces."

Wishing you a fabulous week now that the boys of summer are back! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Alisa Walsh Reports from the Brand New House of Blues Anaheim

Alisa Walsh had the pleasure and the honor of chairing the MPI Orange County Spring Social and Fundraiser on March 22, 2017.

The Theme: "Back to the Blues".
The very appropriate Event Location:
the brand new House of Blues at the Anaheim Garden Walk.

The excitement among MPI members to be the very first to experience an event during opening week at the new location was palpable.
Alisa: "The event was very well attended and we raised over $12,000 for MPI! Everyone had a great time!
The new House of Blues Anaheim at the Garden Walk is much larger than the previous HOB at Downtown Disney - and it is a great event location!"
Here is our location report.

The excitement among MPI members to be the very first to experience an event during opening week at the new location was palpable.
Alisa: "The event was very well attended and we raised over $12,000 for MPI! Everyone had a great time!
The new House of Blues Anaheim at the Garden Walk is much larger than the previous HOB at Downtown Disney - and it is a great event location!"

Here is our location report.
Alisa: "The new House of Blues still retains the classic character and feel of the known brand, but the Anaheim location is an updated, more modern version of the Southern juke joint. It alludes in design style to a gospel church. It is more eclectic and upscale. We used the Foundation Room and the Restaurant for our event. I was moving around all night long to check the event flow. The HOB staff was fantastic! No first night mishaps! "
Alisa: "Having The Foundation Room, the traditional space for HOB members and VIPs, at our disposal allowed us to treat our VIP planners and top donors to a private area. We raised funds through live and silent auctions. Our auctioneers appeared dressed as the Blues Brothers at the beginning and ended the night in Elvis costume. They matched the decor and the mood perfectly. HOB made our work easy! Everything is included and in place: decor, staging, lighting. Catering and Beverage Service is provided by House of Blues. The variety of spaces allows for many different styles and sizes of events in the center of Anaheim. The more upscale, modern design is a great match for corporate events, just steps from the Anaheim Convention Center."
A BIG Thank You to Katie Pederson, | Director of Sales - Special Events, House of Blues - Anaheim, for allowing us to use their photo material, all shot by Alexander Mo.

Wishing you a fabulous week!