The Hard Rock Café in the Dominican Republic is simply huge. This was the setting for a three-day conference built around the central theme of “Harmonize”. With rock bands playing on stage as the 2000 delegates entered each day, look-alike pop stars arriving when you least expected them and our team adding interactive musical and physical activities, this event was on a spectacular scale!
It all started very well when we arrived. All six of us walked into our own suites each with a massive sunken bath and perfect balcony views. Luxury aside, we were here to do a job for a brand new client trusting us with engaging everyone and promoting the company message.
On day one, we had an early morning boomwhacker session. With all the musical plastic tubes hidden in bags under the endless sea of tables, we bounded onto the 25-metre-long stage. In 15 minutes, we had everyone on their feet, playing in harmony and ready for the day ahead.
Facilitating events for very large numbers requires a very different approach to smaller sessions. Clarity of communications, body language and pace all change when you need to communicate to people hundreds of metres away at the back of the room.
On day two, a special U2 tribute act from Las Vegas kicked off the hit song “One”. Bono abruptly stopped the song and declared that he needed some audience assistance…Our West End vocal coaches ran on stage and expertly taught the entire audience a three-part harmony chorus. Bono then reappeared to sing all the verses while our massive audience sang the choruses.
The lights then faded and delegates’ wristbands instantly activated to luminously shine, which all looked very effective! With hardly any time to congratulate Nathan, Ben, Carrie and Pete for a great job, we were off into the scorching sun to set up an entire beach Olympics!
When delegates were released from the ice-cold air conditioning to rush with their teams to the beach, we had a special Olympic opening ceremony. This was achieved in true Hard Rock café style with everyone learning the famous “The Final Countdown” riff played hilariously on kazoos!
On the beach, participants rotated in teams around six separate activities, which included coconut launch, giant sand castle making and ocean water sprint! The finale was a relay run obstacle course with all teams cheering on their specially selected athletes.
The medal ceremony took place just before the sun went down and all our work was done. Huge thanks go to Lisa, Helen and Kelly for all their preparatory work for this event. As I walked to my room, feet full of sand and voice coarse from shouting, I felt that we all deserve to be very proud of this event!
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