Update (8/17/18): Congratulations to Cameron Rust and Janice Dowling, who took home Esprit Awards for "Best Entertainment Production: $25,000 - $75,000" AND "Best Event with a Legacy" for their work on Give Kids the World's annual fundraising gala. With two award wins and three additional nominations for Hello! Las Vegas, we couldn't be prouder of our teams!
Original story below
We are incredibly honored to be nominated for 5 Esprit awards by the prestigious International Live Events Association (ILEA). Want to know what it takes to be an award-worthy event? We're giving you a closer look at what happened behind the scenes.
Nominated for: Best Corporate Event: $75,000 - $150,000
One epic party concept, two completely different designs. What do you do when your event needs to overlook the Las Vegas Strip from The Cosmopolitan's multi-level pool deck, but the hotel is concerned about ruining their recent $15 million renovation of the pool area? You build two different visions for an event whose final plans and execution are at the mercy of the hotel's approval.
A large insurance provider was hosting their famous costume party night, known for its outlandish themes and creative costumes, during their conference for 2,000 guests at The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It was the client's first time in Vegas, so it was time to go big and give their guests an authentic Las Vegas experience with elevated events and five-star service, leaving an impression that transcended guests' expectations. We created a "Hangover Las Vegas" theme; a nod to the fun and relatable content of the movie "The Hangover," which captured the most famous scenes from the movie: Caesar's Palace garden, the dentist's office, the bathroom tiger, and the wedding chapel. Like in the movie, this event would help people form real friendships with some quirky mayhem and surprises along the way.
We began envisioning how we could bring "Hangover Las Vegas" to life. The event was originally planned for the entire fourth floor of the hotel's conference area, but discussions began about relocating the event to the Boulevard Pool; a recently renovated space that offered unobstructed, multi-level views of the Las Vegas strip. Knowing the dynamics of the group, we knew it would elevate our guests' authentic Vegas experience. Getting hotel approval to host an event with heavy foot traffic and tons of heavy décor on their $15 million newly resurfaced pool area was another story. It also meant we had to go back to the drawing board and redesign the costume party in case we were able to successfully leverage our relationships and gain that approval. We DID receive approval – just one week prior to the start of the program. Had we not been prepared appropriately for both scenarios, this would have meant a mad scramble that may not have fulfilled all of our client's wishes.
The expression for each of the vignettes depended on both the big and small details in order to bring them to life. Each vignette combined customized décor, activations, entertainment, and lighting to transport guests into each "scene." We also worked with The Cosmopolitan to design food and bar service that played into each of the themed areas for a fully immersive experience.
Guests were free to explore and create their own experience throughout the night. The musical entertainment kept the energy pumping, with attendees dancing all night. The client decided to extend the party on-site for an additional hour – something they had never done before! In speaking with the client they expressed how they had never experienced such a dynamic costume party and that we had outdone ourselves in making this an EPIC event for their company.
WINNER! Best Entertainment Production: $25,000 - $75,000
WINNER! Best Event with a Legacy
In September 2017, Give Kids the World hosted its 29th annual gala for 1,550 attendees at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The gala is just one of those events that touches you in ways you didn't expect and inspires us to do something extraordinary. Give Kids the World Village is a beloved Central Florida nonprofit resort that gives magical cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For a brief moment – one week – they are free of the worries of doctors and needles and the burden of the realities they never thought they would ever have to deal with. As it approaches its 30th anniversary year, this once-humble event has grown from a simple "thank you" dinner for a few top donors into an award-nominated event that is not only its largest annual fundraiser and a celebration of its mission, but an experience that transports its over 1,500 attendees from around the world to far off fantasy lands and into the intangible imagination of children.
We develop and execute the overall theme and show flow of this meticulously-planned, five-hour long event, guiding its food service flow, designing the décor and table design, and producing its multi-act theatrical show. It's a highly involved process, as the logistics require us to manage an entire AV team, seating for 1550, and a completely custom show with over 70 performers. Organization is key to ensuring our product matched the creative treatment and aligned with the goals of the event and the goals of our client.
This year's event, "A Night of Dreams, Darkness to Dawn" dove deeper into the Village's mission than ever before. The show moved attendees through the realization that your child has a life-threatening illness through the progression of sunset to twilight, night and dawn through modern dance, acrobatics, music, and song.
By developing a clear, strategic creative treatment, we were able to ensure that the Village's message was deeply present in the event. Along with strong logistical organization, we produced this event on-budget, in a very short window of time, and with new technology that our guests had not seen before. After the gala, we received great feedback from guests that were unfamiliar with the Village but were inspired to support it after their experience.
Nominated for: Best ILEA Team Effort Over $150,000
In the midst of planning an already challenging event, an unspeakable tragedy strikes. Las Vegas (and the country) was rocked to its core with a mass shooting that left 58 people dead and 851 people injured. The landscape of this outdoor event for 5,000 guests changed overnight, where real-world threats and significant last-minute changes threatened to derail months' worth of hard work.
The client wanted an outside location for their 5,000 guests to enjoy a "block party." They decided on a space in downtown Las Vegas with a "Vintage Vegas" theme. Several months later, we were asked to look into relocating the party to Toshiba Plaza and The Park, this time with a "White Wedding" theme. Due to security concerns following the Las Vegas shooting, we were asked to hold the meeting inside the T-Mobile arena. However, with the arena's sports schedules and possible memorials, securing the space was anything but guaranteed. Once we received confirmation for the space, we immediately jumped into coordinating new plans with all parties , including arena representatives, production, catering, and the client. We also needed to get approval from the arena's in-house catering team to allow outside food and beverage into the arena, since contracts had already been signed with restaurants in Toshiba Plaza. Given the heart-breaking circumstances, we were touched that everyone was accommodating, understanding, and willing to pull together to ensure a successful outcome.
After developing a solid plan for moving forward, the scope then changed again as we were informed that the client had booked the Goo Goo Dolls. We needed to rearrange the space and include a large concert stage and appropriate AV. We redesigned the event for a fourth time, working to reconfigure all décor and entertainment.
Despite being in size-restricted areas, we pulled out all the stops to make sure we still created our client's wish for a "White Wedding." During the event, guests had the opportunity to renew their vows by none other than Elvis Presley, along with chapel photo opportunities and cotton candy served in champagne flutes. Our team also ordered a custom, oversized Heart Locket Sign on which guests were initially going to write love messages to each other on a lock and attach it to the heart. With the tragic circumstances of the shooting surrounding them, the sign now became a standing memorial where attendees wrote messages of support for the shooting victims. Rather than showing their love for each other, couples and other attendees showed their love for Las Vegas.
Once the event concluded we had to strike everything immediately so the arena could begin turning the space back into a skating rink for the following day. During the strike of the event, some of our team members took the Heart Locket Sign with the goodwill messages for the shooting victims over to the memorial at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. While installing the heart on site, Las Vegas residents who were there paying their respects emotionally thanked us for adding this heart display to the memorial site. It was a very emotional and memorable moment our team will never forget.
Nominated for: Best Entertainment Production Over $75,000
Hello! Las Vegas produced the welcome reception for 1,600 guests of an enterprise software company at their annual conference. Over the course of the evening, three different themes came to life in front of guests' eyes; what started as a traditional Vintage Vegas-themed event morphed into a fluorescent 1980s wonderland, and finally into a techno electronic fantasyland. As each theme took over a single space at The Cosmopolitan, performers captivated guests with dazzling performances and interactive elements.
When guests entered the space they were greeted with a Vintage Vegas party by themed entertainers. We began the party using a swanky, slow build with live performances from The Rat Pack, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe. Guests enjoyed walking around and snapping selfies with the showgirls and other interactive characters while a speed-painter designed the Las Vegas skyline on a large canvas.
The lights and video graphics then morphed into a crazy 80's design as our high-energy 1980s band entered. The 1980s was all about excess, so we brought its "go big or go home" attitude with break dancers, Ghostbuster characters, and oversized, custom-designed Pac-Man characters. A host of 80's impersonators grooved throughout the crowd as exercise dancers tossed neon necklaces.
The DJ came on the speakers to ask the crowd if they were ready to move into the future. The DJ began playing pulsating tunes from his 3D booth, feeding into the crowd's already frenzied energy. Mood lighting and graphics once again switched up to match the new theme. Electrifying futuristic characters moved throughout the space along with a myriad of LED glowing performers.
We wanted to shake up the traditional event experience that uses different rooms and décor to segment themes. We began the bold challenge of transforming a single room into three different themes that would reveal themselves to guests over the course of the night. The event was originally scheduled to be in the pool area of the hotel, but a sudden, rare rainstorm approached the Las Vegas Strip. Our already short 2-hour turn time became even tighter as we had 90 minutes to mobilize over 75 performers from a dozen different companies to new green rooms and performance spaces, coordinate the move with our suppliers, and rehearse the transitions between the different themes. Had we been less experienced or unaccustomed to dealing with unexpected challenges, this could have spelled disaster. Overall, the guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they were continually surprised throughout the night.