On The Royal Flotillas, The House of Commons and Tight Schedules…
Things have been crazy busy here at Metro recently! We’ve had staff working all over Europe with clients in Rome, Barcelona, Budapest & France, we’ve got routine events for regular clients in full flow and we’re also gearing up for forthcoming Olympics work, as well as a number of other more bespoke projects. There have, however, been two jobs recently that have been particularly interesting for us to be involved with.
First we ran an event over at the House of Commons for the Food Standards Agency. The House of Commons presents an interesting proposition when running an event. Certainly it is one of the most famous and prestigious venues in the city, but the security surrounding the building is incredibly tight, as indeed it should be. This means that when it comes to bringing in vans with equipment to set up stages, sets and AV it can be a challenge. The process is that the vans have to first go via a secure screening unit in Acton so it can be confirmed that they contain what they are supposed to contain and nothing else. Following that the crew take the trucks back to the House of Commons to be screened again and the crew themselves are then searched, similar to an airport check.
The crew and technicians then need to wait to be escorted to the appropriate room where the event is taking place. On this particular occasion, as a result of various other factors not to do with us, we could not get into the room until 20 minutes before the event. This left 20 minutes to build a set & stage, install two exhibition systems and sound equipment, and then test and sound check all the kit. Excruciatingly tight! This situation was not helped by the fact that the catering set up was already in place and to cause minimum disruption we had to build the set and stage in an adjacent room. The set was also slightly out of the ordinary in that it included interactive elements with flaps that lifted to reveal food safety related information. We did it with seconds to spare, massive thanks to the hard work from the crew and technicians who worked with their usual attention to the smallest detail but at breakneck speed to achieve this, think Hannibal & the A-Team trapped in a shed with some tools! The event was a resounding success with the client very happy and delegates impressed.
We also played our own small part in the Royal Flotilla. Metro were brought in to manage the AV on “The Elizabethan” boat, a luxury charter paddle steamer, as it took part in the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. This particular boat was to be the home of the Middletons for the day, as well as Lord Coe and many others among the good and the great. We set up screens and sound to enable the guests to watch the proceedings being broadcast on the BBC, streamed live to the boat. The Elizabethan cruised from Chelsea Pier to Tower Bridge where she moored up opposite the Royal Barge to watch the final part of the ceremony and the fireworks. A fantastic day for all involved and a truly once in a lifetime occasion, despite the great British weather doing its best to put a dampener on things.
Other than that we’ve been dodging puddles here in Southwark. There’s a huge one right outside our office which sends a 6ft plume of water into the air as the taxis fly past. It’s a game of strategy and risk to get out unscathed. June in Britain and we’re practically submerged, but on the bright side, at least the drought’s over.
I hope you all have a great weekend, fingers crossed for a splash of sun!