Our passion is producing extraordinary events while ensuring a worry-free experience for our clients. But what really goes on behind closed doors? We’re pulling back the curtain to show just how Hello! Destination Management overcomes obstacles to make a great deal of effort look effortless.
In June 2017, Hello! Washington, D.C. produced a three-hour opening night concert at a conference for the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the United States. This unforgettable evening was produced for 6,500 invited VIP guests and 1,500 public attendees at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. We were asked to create an experience that presented America in a way that the conference’s international guests had not experienced before. To achieve our client’s objectives, we worked extensively with the National Park Service (NPS) to do something that had never been done before—close the National Mall of the United States for a private event. The event overlooked the U.S. Capitol Building and included a myriad of performances that celebrated the American experience, from dance companies to a final performance by Aloe Blacc.
Our client wanted to showcase America on its front yard—the National Mall. However, the NPS has deemed the National Mall strictly off-limits for private events. The solution was to make the event partially public and partially private, essentially doubling our initial proposed footprint and logistical plan. We began drawing up plans to ensure proper segmentation and security according to the requirements of the NPS. Several months later we were informed that the requirements had changed due to a shift in the NPS leadership and presidential administration. We were back to square one as all of our plans had to be re-written.
As we drew closer to the date, we needed scale drawings of the Mall in order to properly plan for the event and mitigate any risk. Yet, since the National Mall stands between some of the most visited and secure buildings in the U.S., scale drawings of the Mall were unavailable. Not to be deterred, our teams meticulously hand-measured where every electrical box, tree, road, pathway, trash can, and bench was located in order to create our own scaled map. Every inch of the mall was covered, with all elements of the plan represented.
With this event, we needed to have laser focus to ensure we timed everything perfectly. The National Mall has hosted events before, but they have always been public events with many days’ worth of load-in time. We had exactly 48 hours from being granted access to the Mall to be completely out. This required us to be incredibly detailed in the load-in process, and many of our items could not be installed at the same time as each other. Since the barricades and fencing bordered areas that were still open to the public, including one of the Smithsonian museums, we needed to wait until a few hours before the event to install the lighting, audio, and food service equipment, as well as security sweep the area. We did not have any room, or time, for error.
Overall, our teams successfully organized and managed a staggering number of security and personnel: Over one mile of barricades, nearly a mile of fence, over 20 different government agencies, 65 NPS officers, and private security. We also designed and rendered all production elements, produced the concert’s audiovisual, and managed the entertainment. After months of planning with a highly skilled team, we achieved what was previously thought impossible and produced the first-ever private event on the National Mall.