How to plan live music at outdoor events

By Susan Heaton-Wright at Viva Live Music

Spring is now upon us and plenty of events are being organised for the summer. If live music is something you’re considering, here are 7 top tips to consider to ensure the venue is suitable and prepared and your musicians are well looked after:

1. Rain. Living in the United Kingdom, we are used to a variety of weather, even in the summer and it is wise and sensible to have a ‘plan B’ in place, in case it suddenly rains. In the case of musicians, there are health and safety issues when they are using electrical equipment and rain. If you insist they play outside, there must be cover of the equipment and instruments to avoid accidents. Also, many stringed instruments (e.g. violins, harps) will be damaged by rain, even a drop. Since these are very valuable, no string player will want to risk their instrument being damaged, so if in any doubt about the weather, provide temporary cover as a precaution. A good music company like Viva Live Music will advise you about this before the event.

2. Sunshine. Of course we want sunshine at your event! However, for some instrumentalists, this is a hazard. String instruments, in particular, could be damaged by direct sunlight and understandably musicians get jumpy if they are asked to play outside in sunshine. Provide a canopy or gazebo for the musicians to be seated under, or shade, then they’ll be happy. For bands, direct sunlight could cause hazard to their equipment, so do discuss this with the band before the event and if necessary provide shade or a gazebo.

3. Temperatures. If it is really hot, your musicians could wilt in heat; make sure you provide them with plenty of water and soft drinks! If it is cold, some musicians will struggle to keep their fingers moving after a period of time and instruments are more difficult to keep in tune. If necessary allow them to wear gloves and warmer clothing and provide a warm place for them to thaw out between their sets!

4. Access to power. Jazz bands, bands, dancers and singers require power. Make sure there is access to power sockets and have a discussion with your entertainment prior to the event and include this in your planning schedule. A good music company like Viva Live Music will highlight this requirement early on in the negotiation. Remember that any power provision must reach health and safety standards.

5. Noise levels. Some venues and localities have noise restrictions; either they are decibel level restrictions or timing restrictions. Some venues have a meter that measures decibel levels. It cuts off the power when music goes over this level. There is a venue in Hertfordshire that allows DJs and discos, but not ANY instrument, including a harp or string quartet, which are definitely quieter! So it is worthwhile checking what restrictions, if any, there are when planning. Ensure you inform the musicians and entertainers before the event to warn them.

6. Acoustics. Sound bounces on walls, but gets lost in a big field unless you have very powerful sound systems to enhance the sound. If you place an acoustic string quartet in the middle of a field, their beautiful sound is likely to be lost. Within a small space, such as a courtyard, any sound, including guests speaking, will be amplified. This is important if there are noise restrictions. An acoustic instrument like an accordion will sound louder than in a larger space. Take advice from your entertainment provider and if necessary place entertainment in a good spot to make the most of their music.

7. Wind. Wind plays havoc on sound! If you have been to an outdoor concert when there is strong wind, it sometimes affects the sound and quality of the music and entertainment. For musicians who have music, they always worry their music will blow away. If you can, put musicians in a sheltered place. They will provide clips for their music, but any shelter helps!

For bands and entertainment requiring sound systems, speak to the sound engineers so they have contingency plans in place to alter speaker locations if necessary.

We hope you have a great time organising your event and will use live music entertainment outside as part of your event! To discuss options for live entertainment, please talk to Viva Live Music.

House of Commons Terrace Pavilion open for summer bookings

Offering uninterrupted views of the River Thames and the famous skyline of the South Bank, the House of Commons‘ Terrace Pavilion provides a unique location for your summer reception.

The principal function rooms on the upper floors of the New Palace of Westminster include the Members’ and Strangers’ Dining Rooms and the Pugin Room, designed by Charles Barry in a generalised ecclesiastical style and Augustus Pugin, whose inventive genius for adapting gothic forms created the elaborate interiors. Individually, these spaces can host up to 170 guests for lunch or dinner and 200 guests for a reception or when combined the spaces will accommodate 300 standing guests.

The lower floor offers four smaller private dining rooms and the Churchill Room, so named as many of his paintings hang on its walls. These individual rooms can seat between 10 and 100 guests for lunch or dinner or 25 to 100 for standing receptions. Outside on the Commons Terrace is the Terrace Pavilion, a purpose built marquee, which can accommodate up to 200 guests for standing receptions and opens out onto the eastern river frontage of the Palace overlooking the River Thames.

The House of Commons has an enviable reputation for delivering first class catering and services. Whatever your occasion, they will work with you to create an experience to remember whether it is a showcase dinner or corporate event, planning your party or wedding, finding the ideal venue, or a drinks reception or working lunch. As one of the world’s most iconic buildings, no other venue in the world is more instantly recognised than the Palace of Westminster. It is impossible to walk through its corridors or dine in its imposing function rooms without a deep sense of awe.
It is a unique venue and a very special place. The team invites you to share it with them for your own special occasion.

To enquire about hosting your next event at the House of Commons, click here.

The Meetings Show – coming soon!

Visitor registration for The Meetings Show has opened at www.themeetingsshow.com/open. Building on the success of last year, visitors to the show will benefit from an enhanced experience from the moment they walk through the doors at Olympia, London, from 7-9 July.

In particular, the education programme will address issues faced by agencies, corporates, associations, PCOs, AMCs, PAs and key sectors such as healthcare and technology. In addition to the dedicated Association Meetings Conference on 6 July, the education will include keynote sessions, seminars and Meet the Expert roundtables throughout the three days of the show.

With a growing exhibitor list, made up of more than 400 exhibiting companies, visitors will be able to meet with the UK’s largest collection of meeting industry organisations under one roof including: major domestic and international destinations, venues, hotel groups, DMCs, trade associations and suppliers.

Exhibitor highlights include The Westminster Collection on stand G19, London & Partners, Hilton Worldwide, Meet Birmingham, Accor Hotels and Tourism Ireland.

The Meetings Show’s Event Director Steve Knight says: “The Meetings Show is organised by meeting professionals, for meeting professionals, a fact that is demonstrated through both the calibre of our exhibitors and the quality of our education programme. If meetings are key to your business you will find the suppliers you want to see and education designed for your needs at our event.”

Applications for The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer programme are also open. Applicants will be reviewed by a team of expert qualifiers and benefit from scheduled meetings with organisations of their choosing, complimentary travel and accommodation, transportation to Olympia from host hotels and networking venues, as well as a choice of hosted buyer lounges complete with refreshments.

The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, organised by Centaur Exhibitions and taking place 7-9 July 2015 at Olympia, London. Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education. Click here to register and book your appointment with The Westminster Collection, where you can find out about our free venue enquiry service spanning more than 35 unique venues within Zone 1 London.

Westminster spotlight: Mayfair & Belgravia

Whether greasing your fingers at trendy munch spots Burger & Lobster or Goodman, or indulging in refined gourmet dining at the likes of Le Gavroche, Benares or Munaro are your personal style, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the well-heeled Westminster districts of Mayfair and Belgravia, which encircle iconic Buckingham Palace and border Hyde Park.

Refined London at its best, these enchanting streets house private estates, secluded gardens, luxury hotels and private members clubs aplenty, creating a destination for designer brands, wealthy residents, fashionable foodies and classy events.

Here are our favourite Mayfair and Belgravia haunts perfect for everything from drinks parties and standing receptions, to product launches, film screenings, private dinners and conferences:

BAFTA - Run Run Shaw TheatreBAFTA 195 Piccadilly
Nestled in the heart of Mayfair above the hustle and bustle of one of London’s busiest streets is BAFTA, home to some of film and television’s most iconic histories. The venue has five event spaces that are all available for exclusive hire, and at certain times of the year the venue can be hired as an entirety allowing the ultimate atmosphere of exclusivity. Accommodating numbers between 50 and 350 BAFTA offers a real versatility for a wide range of events. Within the Princess Anne Theatre space is an incredible state of the art cinema system which can play anything from timeless classics to the latest 3D blockbuster.

 

Athenaeum HotelThe Athenaeum Hotel
Combining the comfort of a family run business with the elegance of a 5* central London location is The Athenaeum Hotel. Located just a stone’s throw from Green Park and adjacent to Buckingham Palace, the venue’s location is truly spectacular. The events spaces range from 20 to 100 delegate capacity making it ideal for more intimate and personal occasions and with fresh fruit, unlimited bottled water and plasma TVs included as standard, The Athenaeum really does go the extra mile to ensure your event runs flawlessly. The venue has also launched a ‘Pick and Mix’ offer for meetings packages allowing you to receive a day delegate rate of £75pp and to enhance your package with a complimentary extra including a complimentary glass of champagne after your event. For more information please visit www.athenaeumhotel.com/events/meetings/piccadilly-pick-n-mix/

The RAF Club BallroomThe Royal Air Force Club
Opened in 1922, The RAF Club is ideally located along the edges of Green Park. A beautiful and historic building, it seamlessly combines fantastic history with contemporary facilities and interiors. Not to be missed at The RAF club is the incredible Badge Corridor containing an unrivaled selection of original squadron badges. The event spaces can accommodate between 20 and 200 guests all with complimentary WiFi and audio visual equipment.

 

 

 

The Chesterfield Mayfair
The Chesterfield Mayfair is a secluded and exceptional hotel with six events spaces catering for 50-150 guests, with an elegant yet welcoming home-away-from-home atmosphere. The Conservatory Room boasts marble floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and can seat up to 40 guests. On booking your event you will be assigned your own personal events manager who will guide you through the entire process and allow you to relax and enjoy every moment.

 

 

RIGB_JoannaandMarksWeddingTheatreThe Royal Institution of Great Britain
Grade I listed and established more than 200 years ago The Royal Institution of Great Britain, has history at it’s very core and has been at the forefront of scientific discovery, innovation and communication for two centuries. Sensitively restored it boasts a 440-seat theatre which is available for exclusive hire and throughout its collection of event spaces there are capacities for between 30 and 600, meaning there are endless possibilities when booking an event at The Royal Institution.

 

 

Lansdowne ClubThe Lansdowne Club
If exclusivity is what you are looking for then The Lansdowne Club in the heart of Mayfair has plenty to offer. Built in 1763 before being converted into a social club in 1935, it is now an exclusive members club offering a variety of options for your central London event. Perfect for business or pleasure the spaces on offer can cater for between 50 and 200 guests in a variety of seating styles. The spectacular library seats up to 100 guests and showcases jam-packed bookcases covering the walls, providing a unique vocal point for your event.

 

 

 

 

 

Club_Library_CaledonianClubThe Caledonian Club
Originally built for Hugh Morrison, a wealthy politician and land owner in 1891, The Caledonian Club is a little piece of Scotland in the heart of Belgravia. Showcasing their versatile events spaces, all with a quintessential Scottish flavour, the venue can accommodate between 50 and 250 guests. Function guests access the event using an exclusive private entrance meaning your event has an air of sophistication from the moment your guests arrive.

 

 

Great HallImperial College London (Knightsbridge)
Variety is in no short supply at Imperial College London as it offers more than 200 unique events spaces in the cultural heartland of Exhibition Road. Available for as few as 20 or as many as 620 guests, the options truly are plentiful. The venue is centered in an historic location, surrounded by historic heavyweights such as The Victoria and Albert and Natural History Museums. The Queen’s Lawn space, available for up to 700 people, can be hired as a stand-alone space or paired with The Queen’s Tower which is accessible using a marqueed walkway onto the lawn, bringing the outside in and allowing a spacious and airy feel. Booking a summer party before 15th May entitles you to 15% off with BBQ menus and Pimm’s on arrival. Find out more and visit www3.imperial.ac.uk/conferenceandevents/specialpromotions/summerparties

Central Hall to crowd-source Meet The Future conference content

Central Hall Westminster‘s next ‘Meet The Future‘ event technology conference on 9th June will feature Corbin Ball, writer and specialist with 20 years’ event technology experience, Neuroscientist Dr Beau Lotto and BBC technology journalist Kate Russell, while the rest of the day’s content line-up will be entirely crowd-sourced by delegates.

As part of the registration process, delegates must choose the topics they would most like to see covered in breakout sessions, with the most popular choices forming the basis of the agenda. The leading topics are currently audience engagement, location-based technology (iBeacons, NFC and RFID) and big data.

Maria Schuett, head of marketing at Central Hall and Meet The Future conference producer, says: “Our 2014 event was such a huge success, many felt it would be hard to follow. This year, however, we’re not only giving busy event buyers the chance to experience flash new tech as delegates, but taking the concept a step further and looking at how tech helps us to create better programmes and levels of engagement for organisers. Having Corbin involved is hugely exciting and we’ve got more than a few surprises up our sleeves for the day, so watch this space!”

A limited number of tickets for Meet The Future are available to senior event professionals by visiting www.c-h-w.com/future

Army & Navy Club to host talk on Britain’s war time songs

Join The Army & Navy Club at an interactive talk by Oskar Cox-Jenson, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Music Department of King’s College London, on Wednesday 3 June. Oskar’s talk will explore the songs and battle ballads as sung by British soldiers marching on Paris, by romantic poets in London Parlours and, most importantly, by ordinary men and women in Britain’s streets, homes and pubs.

The Waterloo Singers, a group of folk musicians and historians specialising in the music of the Napoleonic Wars, will accompany Oskar during the talk, which promises to bring to life the Waterloo songs in all its grisly tragedy and raw emotion – be it treason, pride, love or hatred.

The talk will commence promptly at 18.00 at the Army & Navy Club (36 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JN). Please allow approximately one hour for the talk.

There is no charge to attend the event, however tickets must be pre-booked by contacting Elana Kruger by emailing Club@TheRag.co.uk by Monday 1st June 2015.