The second in a series on how to plan an event in unique large scale venues.
With KONCEPT EVENTS on your crew, you’ll always find smooth waters! OK – metaphors aside, producing a large event with nearly 1000 people is no easy task. Now, take that event and put it on a giant, historic floating aircraft carrier…and you’ve got a whole slew of unique event coordination circumstances! But KE is the expert when it comes to boundary breaking challenges! You might say that we’ve got the know-how to captain this ship into safe harbor (OK – NOW we are done).
USS Midway Museum.
When our client asked us to plan their corporate event aboard the San Diego, California based USS MIDWAY MUSEUM, we couldn’t wait to take on the task! This incredible venue was an original World War II craft and is filled with history and character. But we knew that this event would require some special attention. It was important for our event professionals to think of the planning and execution of this event from a variety of angles. Not only is the Midway a large space that can be tricky to make feel cozy and inviting, but it is also an actual sea vessel with a full-time functioning museum open to the public.
USS Midway Museum Shipping Containers.
Here are some of the things our event pros learned from the experience:
- Much like the way this ship operated in its prime, the Midway runs on a schedule and that schedule is not deviated from. Neither is protocol. Large shipping containers are hoisted up to the various levels of the ship on a calculated rotation. Each container was filled with the decor to be used on deck and could not move until they were full. Therefore the load-in time had to start early, be very strategic and efficient with each vendors arrival; with only one vendor able to arrive at a time. Each vendor took about an hour to complete their load-in.
USS Midway Lighting.
- The ship is docked in a harbor where there is minimal light. For an evening event like the one KE created, an extensive amount of additional lighting had to be brought in to make the path to the event space and the event space itself visible for attendees.
USS Midway Museum Centerpieces.
- The ship is vast – around the size of 5 football field’s length! This meant that the decor had to really cover a lot of ground and the way the event area was lit had to clearly identify the event specific space and not highlight the cavernous, unused parts of the ship. Otherwise it would appear as if the decor just dropped off and parts of the ship had been “forgotten” to be decorated.
- The perk where the decor is concerned is that the ship/aircraft carrier comes with a built in theme and all event designers need to do is put a fun spin on things!
USS Midway Air Craft Carrier.
- The Midway has very specific rules and regulations. Due to these, it is their staff that has to actually execute the load-in and load-out. They also have a preferred vendors list that event planners are required to use and so the majority of the vendor management is done by the Midway staff. Fortunately, that means your vendors are experienced in working with the unique logistical details of the ship and know how to get the job done!
- The ship was built for efficiency – not luxury. Therefore, guests must be prepared to enjoy a brisk walk around narrow corridors and in stairwells as elevators were not a part of the ship’s design. This is very important to keep in mind if event pros choose to take advantage of multiple ship spaces on varying levels.
- One of the highlights of the ship is the AV system. The Midway has a fairly standard sound system making it easy to prepare for use and the open air space really lent itself to some great audio!
- The museum remains open to the public per their standard operating hours. Therefore, the load-in and load-out must also not hinder the public from enjoying their museum visit experience!
These tips are specific to our KE experience at the USS Midway Museum, but much of this information is relevant to many unique spaces you may plan an event in. For example, it is common that a museum will remain functioning during their standard hours while an event planner may begin preparing for their private program in the venue. The key elements that affected the unique event planning experience were predominately based on the size of the venue, the outdoor nature of the venue, and the fact that this was a floating ship. So take these tips and keep them in mind as you get excited to have your own event in a unique and cool spot. Maybe the USS Midway Museum is next on your list to site! No matter where you are headed – KE is ready to help you PLAN FRESH!