We're so proud of our teams, who have been nominated for NINE Esprit Awards by the International Live Events Association (ILEA)! Want a sneak peek at our award-worthy events before the winners are announced on Saturday, August 10? Take a look and get the inside scoop about what happened behind the scenes.
Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge Grand Opening
Nominated for: Best Event SolutionOffice: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
Luke Bryan's credentials speak for themselves. His first nine albums contained 14 number-one hits, with millions of albums sold and tens of millions of singles sold worldwide. A judge on American Idol, Blake Shelton's advisor on The Voice…the promo sheet for Luke Bryan seems never-ending and his popularity only continues to grow. So what happens when Luke Bryan joins an elite group of country stars in opening their own bar/restaurant on Nashville's Lower Broadway? The celebration needed to be as grand as the man himself. After all, the entire country would be watching. What began as a simple, standard bar opening grew into a full-scale free public concert for 30,000 of his most dedicated fans.
We began by visualizing and diagraming what a street concert on Broadway would look like. We knew the Grand Opening needed to happen in the block where the 32 Bridge Bar and Restaurant was situated, which also happened to be one of the busiest cross streets on Broadway. Our team engaged the city to shut down the street in key areas as well as local law enforcement and private security to execute crowd and traffic control for safety.
Our company wanted the celebration to be highly personalized to Luke Bryan, including his history, his songs, and his favorite activities. We designed a custom photo opportunity that recreated the 32 Bridge from Luke Bryan's hometown as the step-and-repeat. The 32 Bridge is a very important part of Luke's life that he references in his songs and has a clothing line named after it as well.
Production started at 2:00 a.m. the night before the event. We began by closing one block on Broadway and coordinating with the City Works department to come in and remove an entire traffic light and pole that would obstruct the stage for the concert.
We orchestrated a press conference for Luke Bryan inside the bar that morning where he answered questions and performed three songs with just him and an acoustic guitar for the media. All of the national press outlets were in attendance, with the hype building for this much-anticipated opening celebration.
We held the ribbon cutting in front of the main entrance for the bar and we intentionally designed it with a custom camouflage ribbon since Luke loves to hunt. It was also a nod to his number one single at the time, which was "Hunting, Fishing, and Loving Every Day." Luke and his wife cut the ribbon together in a staged location for the perfect photo opportunity. At 6:30pm, it was showtime. The gates opened for 30,000 of Luke Bryan's most enthusiastic and dedicated fans. The concert ended around 11:00pm and we had everything struck by 7:00am. The Grand Opening went flawlessly, and we maintained our stellar relationship as "the" DMC to go to for A-list events.
Give Kids the World Gala: The Color of Imagination
WINNER! Best Entertainment Production $25,000-$75,000Best Non-Profit Event $75,000-$150,000Best Public EventBest Event with a Legacy
Office: Hello! Florida (Central)Creative Leads: Jordan Bickel and Cameron Rust, CSEP
In September 2018, Give Kids the World (GKTW) hosted its 30th Anniversary Black and White Gala for 1,550 attendees at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. 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 one week they are free of the worries of doctors and needles and the burden of the realities they never thought they would have to deal with. After 30 years of raising mission-critical funds and awareness, this once-humble event has grown from a simple "thank you" dinner for a few top donors into an award-winning annual 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.
After a successful event in 2017, we wanted our 2018 gala to further connect the audience and inspire them to become activists. We developed the theme "The Color of Imagination," inspired by the colorful rainbow prismatic refraction that a diamond creates when light is pointed towards it.
In our story, we meet a man who is complacently moving through life. As he unpacks his desk, he happens upon a long-forgotten kaleidoscope. Upon turning it, we learn that this man had a sister who passed away from a life-threatening illness. As we enter this prismatic world with him, the memories of his younger self and his sister come alive all around us throughout the night, as we are transported with them to the Village. We follow them through the memories, ultimately reuniting our protagonist with his childhood joy, both teaching the audience that experiences at GKTW Village have profound effects on those that visit it long after they leave, but also to retrospectively look at their life and inspire them to use memories as a force for change and inspiration.
Amway Achievers 2018
Nominated for: Best Meeting/Conference Program Over $500,000Office: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
Five-thousand guests poured into the city of Nashville in December 2018 for the Amway Achievers program; the only incentive trip our client holds in North America. Headquartered at the Gaylord Opryland, Amway took an unprecedented step for their organization by entrusting us as the singular DMC to handle the logistics and creative services for their group of well-traveled, international attendees. We made guests fall in love with Tennessee over the course of just one week as we showcased its natural Southern Charm and world-famous venues, all while successfully managing transportation, off-site tours/activities, on-site and off-site events, staffing, creative décor, entertainment, signage, tenting, and heating for thousands of their most treasured guests.
Five-hundred guests arrived first for training and we welcomed them to Tennessee with a dedicated Welcome Reception that evening. We invited guests to travel down a country road and enter a world of rustic charm at the Gaylord. The reception was designed to be casual and rustic, welcoming our guests with open arms and that famous southern hospitality.
Following their General Sessions the next day, we swept these guests away to an off-site event—a private tour of a quintessential Nashville landmark, the Country Music Hall of Fame. Guests dined beneath the glow of the city lights where the only thing that shined brighter was their excitement for the future. After a plated dinner upstairs, we guided our guests to the conservatory downstairs for a rocking after-party.
We then began welcoming the additional 4,500 guests to Music City. Airport transportation ran continuously with guests escorted to the hotel via limo, sedan, or motor coach. The program began with an on-site Welcome Reception for all 5,000 guests. To be sensitive to our group of international guests, we made the strategic decision to recognize the holidays in one non-denominational event.
To keep the 1,200 kids in attendance entertained, we designed a kids' space in the theme of a county fair. We created mock drive-in vignettes where they could watch movies and had carnival games, arcades, themed inflatable bounce houses, a DJ, and an infant area. We invited the mascots from the local sports teams—the Nashville Predators, Tennessee Titans, and Nashville Sound—to take pictures with the kids. The mascots even danced with the children to the DJ and challenged them to highly entertaining dance-offs.
Later in the week our logistical experience shined as we coordinated over 15 tours/activities with multiple time slots. We provided offerings that appealed to all tastes—from civil war tours and a Grand Ole Opry tour/concert featuring country star Toby Keith, to ziplining and Top Golf. We even had 520 guests "rollin' down the river" on the General Jackson Showboat.
Their final night reception welcomed guests to "Mystic Rhythms"—a fairytale wonderland that combined Greek mythology with inspiration from Avatar's world of Pandora. Keeping reading for more information about this event, which was amazing enough to earn its own stand-alone nomination!
Best Entertainment Production Over $75,000Best Event Solution
Office: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
For the Amway Achievers 2018 closing celebration we decided on "Mystic Rhythms"—a magical fairytale environment at the Nashville Zoo that combined Greek mythology with inspiration from Avatar's world of Pandora. The storyline we wove throughout the entire program came to its dramatic conclusion as we told the "real" tale of how Nashville earned its nicknames.
The experience began immediately upon arrival at the zoo, where guests were greeted by a 10-piece African drumming group. They paused for pictures at the step-and-repeat before journeying through a giant entrance with themed décor. Attendees then walked across a foggy bridge with welcome signage in every language our international guests spoke. To prevent guests from getting lost on the zoo's expansive grounds, we blocked pathways to create a loop where guests could roam freely throughout six distinctive areas, each themed with a different lighting concept and entertainment.
Other activities throughout the event included face painting, temporary tattoos, a photo booth, guitarists, ballerinas, roaming entertainers, living gardens, and lighting displays that shined dancing lights on the ground for children to chase. Guests were guided by ambient lighting that created magical tunnels to help them traipse through the wonderland. Lollipop aisles along the way helped add to the whimsy of this fantastical place.
Among the revelry, the existing amphitheater assisted with our nod to the zoo by featuring animal shows and animal petting. While the loop inherently kept guests from getting lost, we created a custom and highly detailed map for them to reference and displayed posts with custom signage. To say the set up for this event was intense would be an understatement; it required all-day load-ins over six consecutive days, with lighting so intricate and expansive that its installation alone took four days!
While the weather decided to grace our guests with a rain storm, the wet weather couldn't dampen the spirit of our guests, who happily danced in the rain under their umbrellas and in their ponchos.
Nominated for: Best Technical ProductionOffice: Hello! ArizonaCreative Lead: Tressa Rini
Our client celebrated its 100-year anniversary as a top financial services provider with a "Celestial Centennial" celebration for 660 guests at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. Under the night sky, the company's top-performing sales staff reflected on the past century of success while celebrating the splendor of the stars—both the ones in the heavens above and each other. With transformative décor elements, theatrical mood lighting, and a larger-than-life drone show, we used cutting-edge design and entertainment to exalt the past and inspire future success within the luminous Arizona nightscape.
Guests entered the event by descending a flight of stairs lined with constellation projections down to the main pool. We used transformative decor elements like LED twinkle light drapes to create the visual effect that the starry sky was uninterrupted. We then placed an infinity-light dance floor in front of the pool so that not only did guests feel as if the stars were above, around, and below them, but it gave us the opportunity to do so in an edgy and modern way.
We moved guests over the bridges to the adjacent Casita Lawn with an immersive tunnel of crystals and lights to simulate a shower of falling stars. Now on the lawn, guests stood in awe of our geodesic domes that anchored the space. Embracing current trends in installation art, we custom-designed and fabricated a large shadow lantern, specifically designed to include subtle Southwest motifs.
An especially impactful moment was our 12-minute synchronized drone show that was designed as if the stars themselves were inspired to do something special for our valued guests.
Like a supernova, this astronomical event reached its climactic conclusion with an unforgettable bang! An unexpected fireworks display erupted over guests' heads to create a magnificent spectacle.