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Our worst nightmare has returned again – Loadshedding. It strikes fear into the heart of event planners and party hosts everywhere! But, you can make it work to your advantage and show your guests how clever you can be. Our team has come up with some ‘bright’ 😉 and innovative ways to host an event without electricity. So there’s no need to panic when the lights go out.

Cold and Unplugged Catering Ideas

Poke bowls are the perfect dish to serve when catering without electricity. They are a vibrant and healthy alternative to a hot cooked meal; they are also perfect for vegetarian and vegans.

One of favorite poke bowl recipes is this Spicy Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Poke Bowl by Jessica Gavin. This irresistible poke bowl recipe is a breeze to make especially when you are out of power the only preparation that needs to be made is steaming the rice. This recipe guarantees that guests will be running back for more.

(Click the pin to view the full recipe)

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An outdoor barbeque is the perfect catering ideas when the lights are out. Enjoy fresh foods from the fire under the night sky (on indoors if you absolutely must). We’ve been daydreaming about a good New Orleans-style Southern barbeque for weeks! Think Cajun spiced shrimp, saucy ribs, a seafood jambalaya, sweet iced-ice (with a dash of bourbon) and pecan pie to finish. You can pre-cook dishes like gumbo and jambalaya and just pre-heat before service. You can hire our 4 Burner Gas BBQ here.

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Light up your space the old fashion way

There are so many ways to light up your space without having to flip a light switch. What did folks do before the lightbulb was invented in 1879? There is something raw and magical about dinning under candlelight. Candle light can make large spaces feel intimate.

Thank candlelight, gas lamps, solar jars, fairy lights, fairy lights in jars. Make sure you browse through our selection of candle holders here: https://shop.xlevents.co.za/candle-holders/

Entertaining Without Electricity

Unplugged musicians

Last but not least, what about the music!? You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of talented acoustic/unplugged local music options like …

hip and oh-so-cool ACOUSTIC ELEMENT

the I-dare-you-to-try-and-keep-your-feet-still ABAVUKI

the beautiful African sounds of ZAMANANI BROTHERS CULTURAL GROUP

or the fabulous DIXIE SWINGERS BAND (perfect for your Southern Barbeque)

These are just a few quick ideas on how to beat the loadshedding schedule but we’re sure that if you put your mind to it, you could come up with a whole lot more!

If you’re looking for any kind of rental for your off-the-grid event, remember to contact our team on info@xlevents.co.za and we’ll happily source what you need!

When you’ve had all the singers, dancers, comedians and motivational speakers you can handle, here are some event entertainment ideas that will surprise and delight your guests.

1. Silent Disco

If your guest list is made up of people of various ages, it can be hard to choose a genre of music that everyone will enjoy. Now you don’t have to! Silent Disco allows users to choose a channel of music to listen to through their headsets. Add some extra excitement by having three DJs perform at the same time. Guests can switch from hearing one DJ to the next at the flick of a button.

An extra bonus is that guests who want to get down and boogie can set the volume as loud as they are comfortable with, while your other guests get on with mingling in the silence (but we do suggest some vibey but low volume) background music.

 

Silent Disco

2. Synchronised Swimmers

It’s hot and sunny outside and you’re hosting an event around a pool or body of water. Synchronised swimmers are the perfect way to bring your event space alive. Think of it as a dance and gymnastics performance … in water. Make sure your swimmers are wearing bling costumes to add some high-end glam.

Find South Africa’s Synchronised Swimming Clubs here.

Synchronised Swimming

3. Projection-Mapping

Travel through time, space, colour, shape and sound. Bring your wildest dreams to life on the biggest canvas you can imagine.

3. Human Tables

So you’re planning a cocktail party and your event space is too small to accommodate a band. Combine your food service with your entertainment! We’ve seen event planners use human tables for canapes, drinks service or delicate desserts … you can quite literally allow your imagination run wild.

Human Tables

5. Pole Theatre

Gone are the days when pole dance was confined to seedy strip clubs. This artistic discipline is on its way to becoming an Olympic sport. The extreme strength and grace required to perform many of these gravity-defying routines is quite a sight to behold. Don’t believe us? Watch for yourself!

Now that we’ve given you 5 spectacular ideas for some out-of-the-box entertainment options for your events, be sure to tag us in your event pictures (@xleventscapetown) if you use any of them!


Need some help with your event entertainment? The XL Events team are standing by to assist – with years of experience in planning and managing entertainment and AV requirements. Chat to us on info@xlevents.co.za or 021 556 8687.

Many of us have attended an expo at some point in our lives, either for work or as a visitor. Whether you go all out or keep it simple, what you do want to do, is make sure your stand attracts potential customers! You want your brand to be instantly recognisable, and your stand to be engaging.

 

We’ve put together a few tips to help you stand out in a crowded exhibition space!

1. Maximise the Space

 

 

Coil Candy @ Vaper Expo Show 2018 – NEC, Birmingham
Coil Candy @ Vaper Expo Show 2018 – NEC, Birmingham

Booth sizes can be restrictive and are often chosen based on budget. Always confirm dimensions well in advance so you know exactly what you have to work with, and you can start planning.

Make sure there are no physical obstructions or barriers when entering and exiting and encourage flow through your stand.

 

2. Think about reaching for the stars

 

 

 

Although many exhibition stands have a maximum head height, some larger venues have an extremely high floor-to-ceiling. It’s worthwhile to check if there’s a maximum stand height! If there isn’t, the ceiling is quite literally the limit! Bring in high signage, suspended props or incorporate interesting lighting so you catch the attendee’s eye from the moment they enter the exhibition and attract them to your stand.

 

3. Lay off the heavy text

 

 

 

Less is more here! There is a lot going on at exhibitions, and no one is going to stop to read lengthy text.

Use a slogan that people will remember after the event, rather than listing product information that few people will pay attention to.

Short, punchy, and memorable is what you want here!

Use a font that is clear and big enough to be seen from a distance. Try to place your text on the top half of your exhibit stand so that it is not blocked by people in your display area.

 

4. Light it up!

 

 

 

Lighting plays a very important role in the design of exhibition stands and is often not given enough attention when planning.

Lights enhance the aesthetic of your stand, create ambience and set the mood when used correctly. For example, a company that’s showcasing home furnishings might want to look at using soft lighting in warm tones to create a comfy and inviting atmosphere.

Use additional lighting and don’t rely on what’s supplied by the venue. Spotlights, up lights and coloured lights are a great way to highlight new products or special sections in your stand.

 

5. Get graphic

 

 

 

Images, videos, and graphics are a quick and effective medium to communicate a complex message or idea instead of loads of text.

Make sure your graphics can be seen from a distance and aren’t hidden or blocked by anything. Videos can be really useful in adding to the mood of your stand.

 

 

6. Consider different materials

 

 

 

Using the right materials can reinforce your image and create a stand design that will attract your target market.

Are you in the tech industry? Perhaps you want a contemporary design and feel- brushed aluminium panels or chrome detailing could be a good choice.

Smooth, plastic mouldings are also a great way to create a modern, clean feel. A good option for those in the pharmaceutical or medical industry.

8. Include Tech

 

 

 

Including tech in your stand can do a great deal in making your stand memorable.

Product demos are a huge part of trade shows, as they allow you to get your product right in front of your target market. Take the opportunity to showcase a live prototype e.g. an automation firm could showcase their products by creating a robotic barman who could serve refreshments to attendees.

9. Create an immersive experience

 

immersive exhibition stand design example

 

 

Check out this incredible stand for Bombay Sapphire gin.  Once visitors were inside the train they experienced different dishes, a projection of moving images, music, lighting and even fragrance to represent different botanical locations. A brilliant example of an immersive stand experience!

10. Exhibition stand freebies

 

 

 

On-stand giveaways are tried and tested trick to pull in visitors but rather than just handing out freebies. A cool idea is to incorporate gifts into the actual design of your stand. No one needs another pen, try something unique, that matches your brand!

You can also try interactive giveaways like free massages or manicures and design a special area for these to take place.

 

There are some truly incredible examples online that you can use to create a really memorable, interactive and fun exhibition stands. Gone are the days of manning the stand handing out lanyards, business cards and pens. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse potential customers into your brand experience, so they choose you and not your competitors!

Creating a sustainable event is so much more than stocking up on recycled seed paper for serviettes and serving tray after tray of organic hummus. Sustainability is essentially about being responsible, in every aspect of event planning. The earlier you make sustainability a part of your agenda, the quicker you can join a conscious movement that Mother Earth would approve of.

It may seem a daunting task to host an unforgettable event that is also sustainable. But as the collective consciousness of the industry changes, so do your options when it comes to what can be done to not only reduce negative environmental impact but also to up your ante on leaving a large positive footprint in your wake.

Here are some ideas for you to ponder as you bring your next great green event to life.

1. Let’s make it a “ZeeWee”!

Never heard of a ZeeWee? Well, we are about to enlighten you. A ZeeWee is a nickname for a Zero-waste event. Super cute, but also super important! Now, we understand that hosting a full-on ZeeWee is an incredible accomplishment, but remember, being sustainable is all about baby steps. Focus on the idea of Zero-waste right from the outset. Ditch the paper invites and go digital, choose a venue that recycles their waste, use volunteers that will benefit from the collection of waste after the event, consider bio-degradable (or reusable) cups and utensils… The idea is to make it as simple as possible for guests to become a part of the recycling process whilst still having a blast. Any step towards the responsible management of a ZeeWee is one in the right direction!

2. Food Glorious Food!

Events are notorious for the amount of food served, and for the amount that gets binned as leftovers. When it comes to the gastronomic duty of menu planning, clever thinking can truly make all the difference. Choose food that is bursting with freshness from local vendors who offer in-season varieties that don’t take a 3-day trek from the coast to get there. Avoid bottled or pre-packaged options as these can create mountains of unnecessary waste. Involve your guests in the process by offering them trendy containers that can be re-filled as the event takes place – these could even serve as cool little giveaways for them to take home.

3. Start a movement – A transport movement

Unless you’re throwing a neighbourhood shindig, most of the guests will need to travel to your event venue. Although we don’t have an extensive public transport system, there are sure ways to get around a deluge of single person cars pulling up in the parking. Organise common pick up points from which group transport can be arranged, this can even form part of the fun of the event. Or contact a local taxi or ride-share company and see if they will offer you a discount code for your event guests. If you can effectively reduce the number of vehicles bringing guests to your event, you are going a long way to reducing negative environmental impact. To get people onboard (excuse the pun) you can even offer spot prizes or a free drink to guests who take part in the fun.

4. Lastly… Remember that it’s all about fun – sustainable fun!

Of course, you want your guests to have the best time at your event, but just because it’s fun, it doesn’t mean it should be wasteful. Use local acts who share the same sustainable ethos as you.

Planning a sustainable event can certainly have unmeasurable positive ripple effects, but the important thing to remember is that being overly problem focused or negative can stall any sense of progress before it starts. Sustainability is all about solution-orientated thought and action and can truly be an opportunity to let your creative juices flow. Now is your chance to add mindfulness to the mediocre! Embrace this green playground for innovation and inspiration – you may very well be surprised by the results.

Event planning is an awesome industry because it’s always evolving. Style trends in colours, decor and fashion are ever changing, now add to that the cool advances in technology, and you’ve got a lot to work with when it comes to event planning.

Here are 5 Event Planning Trends you should be aware of:

1. Time is valuable

The old age saying that time is money is not going away any time soon, and in the our current culture of instant gratification, you need to ensure that your guests are getting as much value from the time they are committing to be at your event, as possible.

  • If you are hosting annual events, think about investing in an app. This can make it really easy for your guests to find every bit of information they need, from maps, to parking, to your list of speakers.
  • Setup QR codes at your event to avoid printing numerous program schedules and doing other unnecessary printing. If it’s on the app, guests can easily check what’s coming up and finding out about changes as they happen!

2. Diversity

Guests want to be stimulated an engaged. No one wants to sit through an entire event hearing all the things they’ve heard before.

So when considering your keynote speakers, look for speakers who aren’t necessarily part of your industry. Speakers who think and speak outside of the box to encourage creative thinking among your guests. Outside opinions often encourage incredible debates, and will make your event memorable!

3. ‘Brain Breaks’

Events and conferences can be quite taxing, especially when they are jam packed with speakers, have numerous topics taking place in different rooms of one venue or last multiple days.

Ideas to encourage this include:

  • Privacy pods where guests can give themselves a time out.
  • Break rooms or cubicles to make phone calls or just take a few minutes to breathe.
  • Incorporate wellness activities like 5 minute yoga
  • Incorporate spaces where healthy meals and smoothies can be enjoyed in silence, or if that’s not possible, in an outdoor area where guests can get some fresh air.

4. Personalization

This is another opportunity to capitalize on using an app to connect with your guests. Allow guests to vote or offer their input certain topics, load discounts and vouchers from sponsors or reminders about sessions they are interested in sitting in on.

5. Eco Events or Sustainability

This is a generation that is extremely mindful of the environment, and going green really is the right thing to do.

When planning your event, be mindful of the following, and encourage your guests to do the same:

  • Single use plastic
  • Straws
  • Bottled water
  • Recyclable paper or other materials (even name tags and programs can be recyclable and guests will notice!)
  • Food storage or serving containers
  • Sustainable and fair trade food options
  • Donations or support of community organisations.