Designer Father Christmas

This is how the original Coca-Cola Father Christmas would look in designer gear…

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BBC Music Awards


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Last night, we were treated to the inaugural BBC Music Awards. It was rather a flat affair, really.

The main problem was that there were not enough award categories. It took over half an hour before the first award was presented. Which meant it was a concert foremost and an awards event as a follow-up.

The press like the BRIT Awards because there are so many categories which they can list. People like to know who won what. So, the BBC misfired with their first awards event that was mainly a promotion of current stars’ albums for Christmas.

The awards themselves were strange. Big gold old-fashioned BBC microphones. Why? What has an old-style microphone got to do with up-to-the-minute pop stars? Are we going backwards?

Okay, the show was good. The production was excellent and the stage was as good as any, if a little unexciting. There was little in the way of branding and the podium only appeared for the last award.

All in all, it was a bizarre affair. It felt last-minute because it was a mixed bag of chat, concert and the odd award thrown in to justify it being called the BBC Music Awards.

The BRIT Awards needn’t worry about a new music awards event on the scene – even though the BBC couldn’t find any venue apart from the very one the BRITs use. Why did the BBC choose Earl’s Court? It’s all a bit weird.

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Evening Standard Awards


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When will they learn? Look at the pictures in the papers of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the London Palladium on Sunday and there is no branding. There is just a green hedge. Could be anywhere.

All these pictures of all these celebrities circulating across the globe, and nowhere does it tell us where they are and what they are there for.

This is a huge mistake and such wasted publicity for the Evening Standard. And, if it was sponsored or was in support of charity (we don’t know, because there is no branding to tell us), then the Evening Standard failed in promoting the sponsor or the charity.

It is a basic rule of event management and one which all event organisers should learn early in their career: photo opportunities need branded backdrops. It isn’t difficult to understand, is it? Yet, this is the 60th Evening Standard Awards and they got it badly wrong. Sack the organiser and call me in, next time!

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Morrissey in Warsaw



Morrissey experienced some abuse from a van which resulted in the star leaving the stage after just 25 minutes into his set.

This is yet another reason for tour managers to avoid Warsaw.

I notice how international tour managers are booking Lodz, Krakow, Gdynia, Poznan and everywhere other than Poland’s capital city of Warsaw. This is because there are no international-standard venues in Warsaw, as was evidenced when Beyonce experienced sound problems at the National Stadium.

Warsaw will drop from the itinerary of global music stars. It is already happening.

Morrissey on stage in Warsaw

Morrissey on stage in Warsaw

Camden Roundhouse


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I saw the Mercury Music Prize was at the Camden Roundhouse. When is this venue going to be superseded by something new and more interesting?

The Roundhouse has been hosting high profile events for about 15 years, so the sales manager is doing a great job. But, we don’t all have that job. We want something more exciting.

It would have helped if the stage at the Mercury Awards wasn’t dull matt black. And the host, Grimshaw, was just as dull. If they’re going to use a tired venue, at least brighten the old place up a bit.


Poland’s National Stadium


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The National Stadium of Poland, which is in Warsaw, is failing. Its profile is non-existent and we could be forgiven for forgetting that the venue is there. It looks closed and forgotten. It simply is not on the events circuit. And, it is far from being on the international events circuit.

When I met with the sales manager and the director of meetings, conferences and events, I asked what was their core market. I expected them to say events were their core market. Or, they could have told me it was domestic and international event agents and organisers. Instead, they answered by saying ‘sales’.

Wrong answer. Very wrong answer.

If the people managing a venue – especially a country’s national stadium – think that their core market is ‘sales’, it tells me that they are only interested in selling space. So, this expensive venue with all its high-tech facilities, might just as well be an empty warehouse, open field or derelict building. It tells me that they are not interested in hosting high profile events, creative events, quality events, or any events at all. All they want is to sell space and report the sales figures to the government body.

At Poland’s National Stadium, they do not even know HOW to organise good events or how to win business from international event organisers. Even local event organisers aren’t bothering to go there. The people running the stadium are frightened of events and would prefer to be sales people, rather than event professionals.

The problem is that such a large venue cannot sustain small conferences, pathetic little public events and other bits and pieces. It costs too much to run, to keep it going with such low profile, low earning events.

So, the National Stadium of Poland has to fail. It is, already.


Stadion Narodowy


I find Poland’s national stadium to be extremely disappointing. What ‘national’ events is it doing? All I can see is small conferences and silly little sporty events, like indoor windsurfing.

A national stadium should host the most exciting and highest profile events.

But, I see that all the big music stars are choosing Gdynia, Poznan, Lodz and everywhere other than Warsaw where the national stadium should draw them.

Why is this?

Is it because a year ago I predicted that the failure of the national stadium to meet international standards would quickly put the biggest stars off? Remember the Beyonce concert where the sound was dreadful? At the time, I said on TVN Dzien Dobry that it would not take a long time for word to spread around the international tour management.

More on this subject, next time…