How to deliver an action-packed, Australiana themed gala dinner for 1000+ international VIPs on Sydney’s harbour
Amway is a world-leading company in beauty, lifestyle and homecare. Every year, they reward their top distributors with immersive events around the world. This year Amway Taiwan chose Sydney as their destination and flew over 1150 guests for week of learning, networking and of course celebrating. They came to us with a proposal – they wanted a big, extravagant event. Exactly the sort of job that excites us.
Whilst these big event briefs are exciting to work on, they’re also laden with logistical challenges to overcome. As an experienced AV company, we wanted to share some tips for delivering large, high profile events of this kind, in the hope it will aid event planners facing similar challenges.
See below our top tips for delivering an Australiana-themed event for 1000+ VIPs.
1. Choose an iconic Australian location
Amway Taiwan chose Sydney for a specific reason – they wanted to surprise and delight their guests with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience and where better than Sydney.
For an event of such size and spectacle, we needed the right venue. It needed to be large enough to accommodate the guests with enough access points for crew and audio visual installations but also offer an exclusive feeling, fitting for such a prestigious event.
That’s why the client loved the Cutaway at The Barangaroo Reserve Headland Park. Located on the shores of Sydney’s harbour, the Cutaway is one of Sydney’s most anticipated venues, only opening in August last year. Flanked entirely on one side with a sheer, 18-metre high sandstone wall, this unique layout rendered the venue the perfect candidate for projection mapping. Our multimedia team created content that captivated the audience, branded the space, and supported the live performances.
2. Entertain the crowd with a host of recognisable Australian acts and performances.
From the moment guests arrived, they were met with performers – stilt walkers dressed as iconic Australian buildings, bouncing kangaroos and caricatures of Aussie lifesavers, plus Australian animal petting areas. Guests were then surprised by five flag-bearing water skis passing the cove, and watched a spectacular aerial acrobatics show by Strange Fruit. Soul Mystique also mesmerised crowds with their innovative dance and magical costume transformation routine.
As the entertainment continued through the night, guests were witness to a 40-strong cast from Decendance and the NSW Aboriginal Dance Company, a custom choreographed aerial show and an incredible performance by New Zealand (which is close to Australia!) opera singer Hayley Westenra.
3. Use projection mapping to turn a large venue into a themed experience
Projection mapping is a clever way to turn an inanimate backdrop into a dynamic visual journey. The magnificent sandstone wall lining the Cutaway made the perfect, albeit rugged, canvas for us to project onto.
Our in-house design team produced a stunning multimedia sequence showcasing iconic Australian buildings, animals and landscapes. We projection mapped this onto the rock wall, turning it into a talking point of the night. It is a clever way to keep guests entertained, theme a relatively bare venue and provide a beautiful backdrop for the on-stage performances and presentations.
4. Use simple, yet clever table styling that captures the Aussie spirit
While the dazzling performances were crucial, we couldn’t forget that our guests would be sitting down to gala dinner. Our event stylists were tasked with the challenge of creating stunning centrepieces and tablescapes, and then replicating it for the 100+ tables. No mere feat. Each table featured incredible native Australian floral table arrangements with tiny LED lights that made them glow, casting a warm light around the venue. In true extravagant style, we even had custom-made embroidered Amway napkins and rings designed for this special occasion.
5. Surprise and delight with big, extravagant acts
When you need to keep over 1000 guests entertained over a long period of time, you’ll want to consider using big, flashy acts interspersed throughout the event. They’re fantastic for getting the crowd excited, which is great for a fresh injection of energy. They’re also handy at creating a diversion, for when you need to draw your guests’ attention away so your events team can bump-in or out any changes to the event. For our Australiana themed event, our Event Directors covered all bases – flashy cars, water acts and a mesmerising fireworks display.
- Amway Taiwan asked for a grand entrance for their awards winners. We used seven vintage 1969 Mustang convertibles to give the Amway winners’ procession a red carpet arrival, driving them right onto the stage.
- During the day, we hosted all the guests on the water’s edge, entertaining them with a water-skiing stunt show.
- After such an action-packed day, we needed to end the night with a bang. We organised a magnificent fireworks display over Sydney’s harbour, with the entire show running 5 minutes longer than Sydney’s coveted New Year’s Eve fireworks! Staged from two barges on the water, and six positions around Nawi Cove, the shards of coloured lights lit up the harbour, casting a beautiful glow over the venue and a dazzling end to the event.
6. Partner with an experienced Audio Visual company
With big, extravagant events come higher stakes. As all of your most important stakeholders are in the room and with so many individual elements, you’ll need an experienced AV and event company you can rely on. Staging Connections has been the name behind some of the largest and most technically demanding live events to hit Australian soil. Having been in the events business for over 30 years, our experienced team of technicians and event directors understand what it takes to deliver to this scale and profile. We only use brands we trust; we take a tailored approach to every brief using everything from the latest in AV, lighting and staging through to event styling and engaging digital media; and we work with you every step of the way so there’s no surprises. If you’re interesting in finding out what Staging Connections can do for your event, get in touch with us today by calling 1800 209 099 or by completing our event quote form.