A day in the life of the Big Group Events team: The BRITs Aftershow Party
At Big Group, we’ve celebrated over 20 years of The BRIT Awards with Mastercard, making sure board members, business customers, cardholders and employees all have an unforgettable experience every year.
The team had the opportunity to set the theme for Mastercard’s Aftershow party at The BRITs. We thought about what The BRIT Awards means to some people…and some of the most iconic 90s British bands sprang to mind: Spice Girls, Oasis, Take That and Blur. Pop music. Britpop. Two genres with very different looks sharing the same stage to celebrate the best of British music. This is what The BRITs is all about.
We began researching 90s nostalgia and came across the American photographer Adrienne Salinger. Her series of 90s teenage bedrooms was like stepping straight back in time: Friends calendars, lava lamps, Trainspotting posters, pink fluffy phones. We were inspired. This would be a great theme for the Aftershow party, and we were excited to create a nostalgic experiential event that would transport attendees back to the 90s.
For our authentic 90s scene, we designed an era-appropriate set in-house and it was created by our partner. We then searched high and low for 90s props on eBay and Amazon – anything from Spice Girls posters and roller-skates to vintage Q magazines and basketballs. Sticking to budget was easy as random teenage props from the 90s were pretty cheap to source!
On the Day
9am – The Big Group BRITs teams gathered at The O2 for our annual pre-show breakfast and team briefing. This would be the last time we were gathered in one room until after 2am, so it was important to ensure that everyone was prepared and ready for the action-packed day ahead of us.
11am-2:30pm – After breakfast, we split into smaller teams to carry out our duties and make sure everything was perfect and ready. Some of our team headed to Indigo at The O2, the Aftershow party venue. We checked the space, received our prop delivery and began setting up. Set up takes time and the fantastic team had already worked their magic the day before, so our set was already in a great shape: branded step and repeats, hanging vinyls, red carpet, rope and post, stage set, hanging branding, a baby blue carpet and a prop wall covered in floral cream wallpaper – the perfect combination for an authentic 90s space. We began decorating the prop wall with posters to create a pop room on the left and a Britpop room on the right – our clashing clans, united. We also installed a fabulous neon flamingo. It was a hefty prop which needed 3 people to lift, but it added a special touch to the space.
2:30pm-5:30pm – All three furniture suppliers and our wonderful TV prop company arrived. With the furniture in place, the space was 75% completed. All we needed to do was add some finishing touches. The numerous stacks of retro TVs were probably the most challenging part of the whole event – but it was worth it. Acquiring footage that didn’t come with hefty rights fees on a limited budget was a challenge. But we were determined to find content that complemented the mood. We worked with The BRITs team who kindly provided us with some fantastic old stock footage of The BRITs, which would work nicely to tie the 90s theme together with the show and looked great on the stacks of retro TVs.
7pm-10pm – Once the main space was set up, our DJ arrived. During the sound checks, we worked with lighting technicians to make sure the space was lit with atmospheric, coloured lighting. Guests were given contactless Mastercard wristbands with which they could check in their coats at the cloakroom and tap to ‘pay’ for their complimentary drinks. We did some final technical testing to ensure the card readers and cloakroom checks were working smoothly. We also added our finishing touches to the venue; we checked every inch of the venue, ensured the entire venue and restrooms were clean, tidy and nicely scented. We gathered the team (including the bar staff, AV/staging, security, cloakroom staff) for a team briefing and a final review of the running order with the whole team onsite.
10:20pm-1am – Doors open! On entry, to the Aftershow party, guests walked a red carpet where a team of photographers were positioned, kicking off the party with the ultimate ‘red carpet’ experience of being snapped by ‘paparazzi’ as they entered the venue. Guests were then offered a glass of champagne as they stepped back into the 90s.
1am-2am – The Aftershow party came to an end at 1am. We all joined forces to derig the set and put all the props into storage, ready to be collected the next day. Suppliers collected the furniture, and the whole process went quickly and smoothly. The team finished at 1:45am and by 2am we were ready for a celebratory drink after another truly successful client event. Until next year!