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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!

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.

No event is complete without “The Talent”. Speakers, musicians, your emcee – all important and valuable aspects to a successful and engaging event. Here are 9 tips to help you foster great relationships with your performers, entertainers and speakers.

1. Communication

Let your talent know exactly what is expected of them, and find out exactly what it is that they require from you. From starting times, to meals, to AV requirements to payment. Put it all in writing and make sure everyone is happy and in agreement long before the event takes place.

Talent will also often have very specific requirements, from their preferred microphone to meal requirements and how they like to be paid. These details might seem insignificant to some, but it shows whether or not the organiser is paying attention. If requests aren’t possible, let them know timeously and honestly.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

2. Welcoming

If your talent is well taken care of, it will make your event so much more successful. Often speakers and musicians are in the middle of tours or travel extensively to make their bookings. Taking care to make them comfortable and showing a bit of extra effort can make a huge difference to how they perform.

Find out about their allergies and food requirements. Maybe even find out what sort of flowers, scents and other items they would appreciate.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

3. Safety

Make sure that your performers are always safe. For example if a performance involves trapeze or rigging, make 100% sure that everything is up to standard and has been properly inspected for safety.

Musicians and emcees using AV equipment – Make sure that all wires are taped down properly, speakers are secured, and any obstacles that could lead to injury are identified and corrected.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

4. Privacy

It’s important to respect an artist’s privacy, especially if that person is a celebrity. Make sure they have a safe area to retreat to when they’re not performing – perhaps a green room if your venue has one, or simply an additional room where they can don’t need to bothered unnecessarily.

Make sure their belongings are always safe, kept in a lockers or a locked room. Assure them that their belongings, requests and other info will be kept safe and confidential.  

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

5. Event details

Knowing key details about the event, including the client’s industry, demographics of the audience, dress code, and type of event helps artists give the best show possible.An artist might use a different approach for a room full of doctors as opposed to a group of startup entrepreneurs, for example. “The more information you give performers, the better they will be,” adds Fox. “At the end of the day, they want you and your client to be happy.”

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

6. Look after the team

A performance almost always involves more than just the people appearing on stage. From sound engineers to managers to bus drivers, it takes a team to create a large-scale performance. And just like the talent needs to be fed and cared for, so does the crew. “If anyone on the team is unhappy, it affects the end result of the performance,” says Marchetti. “I know that if the first truck driver comes in at 4 a.m. and can get fresh, hot coffee or something delicious to eat, it sets the right tone for everything else that will happen that day.”

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

7. Point of contact

Talent should have a single point of contact from your team on the day of the event. In addition to greeting the entertainers and keeping everyone on schedule, this contact will be the performers’ go-to person for any issues that arise.

The point person should be aware of all of the contract riders and requirements, then review them on site to make sure they are met.

Sometimes when you’ve been communicating over email, the performer doesn’t realize that they don’t have a contact phone number until the day of the event,” she explains. “It seems like basic logic, but sometimes people forget about it.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

8. Payment

Pay artists as promptly as possible and be open about the payment schedule. If it takes a corporate client 30 to 45 days to write a check, make sure you communicate that to the talent. Such issues should be hashed out beforehand, ideally before the contract is signed. “You don’t want an artist to be upset or have an attitude. You want them to be happy and get everyone excited.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

9. Appreciation

The collaboration doesn’t end with the event. To build a long-term relationship, communicate with the artist and his/her team after the event, especially if you’d like to work together again. After the performance, if it was well received, we send a thank-you note for a job well done. And if the performance wasn’t successful, the performer should know that as well. Sharing what went right or wrong can help entertainers improve for their next gig—whether it’s with you or another client.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

Weddings. If you’ve planned one, you’ll know there is never a dull moment during that exciting, but often stressful time. Couples want to show their love and appreciation to their guests for sharing their special day with them, but deciding what to give as wedding favours isn’t always as easy as you’d think! To make your life a bit easier if you’re planning a wedding for 2019, we’ve listed 10 unique wedding favour ideas that your guests will actually LOVE!

1. Hangover kits

I know, so clever! You’re throwing the bash of the year, so make sure your guests are well taken care of and ready for breakfast the next morning with these little hangover kits. A few things you can add to the kit:

  • Headache tablets
  • A bottle of water
  • Mouthwash
  • Bioplus fizzies
  • Plastic sunglasses
  • Mints or Tic-Tacs
  • Granola bars
  • Eye drops

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

2. Mini Succulents

Super simple, and will definitely add to your table decor! Mini succulent plants are easy to care for and will be a cute addition to your guests desk at work or on their windowsill at home.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

3. Midnight snacks

Most venues close at 12pm, so when your guests need to head back to their rooms after dancing the night away, chances are it’s been quite a few hours since dinner! Send them to bed with a little midnight snack! Ideas to include:

  • Chocolate milk or a small can of coke
  • Popcorn
  • Cookies
  • Muffins

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

4. Candy Bar take home bags

This is a fabulous budget friendly option, that also looks really beautiful if you set it up to match your decor! Set out a selection of sweet treats, as well as some small gift boxes or packets, so your guests can fill theirs with the sweet treats of their choosing.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

5. Mugs

Everyone uses mugs, so this is one that will definitely be appreciated! Keep the wedding branding small enough that the guest can continue using it for years to come, but prominent enough that they’ll always remember spending your special day with you!

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

     

6. Instant hot chocolate

Having a winter wedding? Why not get some delicious instant hot chocolate and send it home with your guests in cute bottles or vials. If you’re feeling crafty, mix up your very own hot chocolate mocha mix and name it after your wedding date or surname? The April 3rd mix or the Smith mix for example)

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

7. Coffee pods

If you’re a couple that loves your coffee, try sharing your favourite pods with your guests with a selection they can choose from to drink at home.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

8. Summer wedding sunnies

Hosting an outdoor wedding? Get some cheap plastic sunglasses, branded with your initials or wedding date (or even a cheeky phrase) and hand them to your guests on arrival! Everyone needs to see the bride and groom without squinting in the sun!

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

9. Luggage Tags or toiletry bags

If you’re having a destination wedding, send your guests some branded luggage tags or toiletry bags to start the festivities on the right note.
10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

10. Seed packets

Simple and lovely, send seed packets home with your guests as reminder of your big day that will last!
10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!