Event Organisers Update September 2018 ISSUE 166 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


The owner of an Italian marketing agency that wrote fake reviews for hotels and restaurants has been jailed for nine months and ordered to pay costs of more than £8,000.

The agency, PromoSalento, tried to submit more than 1,000 fake positive reviews, illegal in Italy before they were caught and the owner jailed in what is the first conviction of its kind, though hopefully with more to follow.

TripAdvisor has sadly not been transparent enough to release the names of the hotels and restaurants which were happy to pay to mislead their public, yet. According to website Fakespot, which aims to weed out bogus reviews, up to one third of TripAdvisor reviews are fake, a claim contested by TripAdvisor.


A Van Morrison concert at Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire has been widely condemned as a "shambles" Reportedly fans who bought picnics had to eat them outside the gates after being prevented by security staff from taking them in (presumably to maximise catering profits), bars charging £6 for a can of beer and £30 for a bottle of wine ran dry anyway, there were one-hour queues for coffee and the 9,350 fans then had to queue for up to three hours to get out of the one exit.

The event was organised by GCE Live (Giles Cooper Entertainment) whose website states that the company "has been involved in some of the most memorable live experiences in the UK for almost three decades".


The management of Bath University, who employed the greedy Dame Glynis Breakwell as a £470,000 a year Vice-Chancellor until she stood down last November have announced her replacement, at a lower salary of £266,000.

He is Professor Ian Wright, currently at Cambridge University and, unlike Breakwell, who also got a free house with household expenses paid and a free car, he is expected to provide his own accommodation and vehicle. It is also thought that, unlike Breakwell, he will not be able to sit on the University's remuneration committee, which decides salaries and other benefits.

Other very well paid University Vice-Chancellors in 2015-2016 were Keith Burnett, Sheffield (£423,000), Bob Cryan, Huddersfield (£365,000), Louise Richardson, Oxford (£350,000), Paul O'Prey, Roehampton, (£342,000), Dominic Shellard, De Montford (£326,000), John Vinney, Bournemouth, (305,000), Anne Carlisle, Falmouth, (£298,000), and Joy Carter, Winchester, (£282,000), and these figures are likely to have increased since then.



o The 19-storey Lume Hotel has opened on Manchester's Oxford Road, offering 12 lower storeys (212 guest rooms) operated by Crowne Plaza Hotels and including a 120-seat restaurant, gym club lounge and seven meetings rooms for more than 200 delegates.

The upper 7 storeys, operated by Staybridge Suites, offer 116 studio and one-bedroom suites, as well as panoramic views over Manchester from the 18th floor terrace. (The Business Desk)


o A clay pigeon shooter has been found dead during a shoot at Clandon Park House, a Grade 1 listed National Trust property near Guildford, Surrey.

It is thought that he was cleaning his gun when it went off and shot him in the head.

Clandon Park House, a Palladian mansion, was gutted down to a shell in 2015 when a serious fire, thought to have been started in electrical circuitry in the basement, ripped through the building. Since then a salvage plan has been completed and there are now ambitious re-build plans in place.


o Furious objections have been lodged over plans to demolish the current 906 bedroom Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum Hotel, part of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) on Cromwell Road and replace it with a 50% bigger building comprising two towers and containing 749 bedrooms, 340 serviced apartments and 46 homes to buy or rent.

The current building, near Gloucester Road tube station is described as a "brutalist eyesore", offers more than 20 meetings spaces and is said to be London's fifth biggest hotel. A previous rejected plan by the owners, Queensgate Investment would have replaced the current hotel with a 2,000 room monster that would have been the biggest in the world. Since the Grenfell tragedy last year high rise buildings have been a particularly sensitive issue in Kensington borough


Notting Hill restaurant Core has won the Harden's Top Gastronomic award for this year.

Core is the first venture of chef Clare Smyth, who formerly ran the three Michelin star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and was shortlisted for the award with Aulis, Le Gavroche and The Ledbury. Prices at Core start at £65 for a three-course lunch selection from four starters, mains and desserts or £85 for the dinner. There is a five-course Small Tasting Menu for £95 and a 13-course Tasting Menu for £115


Speaker website IWantASpeaker.com is looking to give a free speaker finding service to a few organisers who use outside guest speakers and trainers, to help them test the system.

The website is designed to operate free of the hidden commissions applied by some agencies, often 20%+, and the reason many agencies don't like organisers telling speakers how much they have paid for their services. The website, charging a fee of 5%, puts organisers in direct contact with suitable speakers or trainers whom organisers can select, see in action and then benefit from ready contracts and paperwork for the booking.

Contact Cindy at cindymichelle@talk21.com 01536 799900


Art in Germany between the wars is the subject of a free, long-running exhibition, "Magic Realism" at the Tate Modern.

This includes around 70 artworks and some are very ugly and unsettling. "Suicide" by German painter George Grosz features two men who have killed themselves, one lying on a pavement after blowing his brains out and the other hanging from a lamp-post, while a naked prostitute looks on and leers from a nearby window. Continuing the grisly theme is Rudolph Schlicter's "The Artist With Two Hanged Women" showing a kneeling man gazing up at two young women in long high-heeled leather boots hanging from a ceiling, this combination reportedly reflecting Schlicter's two sexual obsessions.

If so the contributions from Otto Dix, who served on the bloody Western Front, may well signal a mind in turmoil, going by his "Lust Murder" watercolour showing a man with a demonic grin on his face walking away from the battered body of a woman, her heavily bruised buttocks exposed, and his "Lust Murderer", a grinning man, maybe Jack the Ripper, with a knife in one hand dancing with a severed and mutilated leg in the other, surrounded by hacked off limbs and other bits, some still spurting.

Much more edifying, for us anyway, was an enigmatic work by Max Beckmann, whose painting of a dark-haired, sloe-eyed girl "The Egyptian" sold at auction in Berlin for a record 5.5 million euros. The Beckmann at this exhibition however was "Anni (Girl with Fan)" showing a striking young woman with exotically slanting eyes in an oval face set on a Modigliani-slender neck, holding a fan and staring flirtatiously around the back of her male companion, straight at the viewer, causing this vulnerable male one to fall ever so slightly in love and make the trip to the Tate most worthwhile after all.

Till July 2019


To the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue for the West End debut of the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute Big Girls Don't Cry, touring around the UK for the tenth year.

This is a solid two hours of their songs, beautifully performed as a concert by the tribute group The East Coast Boys, who move, sing and sound like their heroes for Rag Doll, Sherry, Walk Like a Man, Bye Bye Baby, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore), Silence is Golden, Oh, What a Night, My Eyes Adored You, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and dozens more, most of the lovely harmonies enhanced by the strong, soaring and exciting falsetto of East Coast Boy Lee Matthews.

The boys demonstrated just how difficult this style of singing is when they invited their audience to sing Sherry and split them into ladies and gents. Actually for our money the girls were pretty good, mostly hitting the high notes, but us chaps were seriously rubbish. Falsetto, as many will remember, was memorably performed by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, Del Shannon and a few others but Valli was arguably the king.

Big Girls Don't Cry is staged by Peel Talent and was conceived by the company's director, Jack Applebaum. For show dates see the website - The East Coast Boys are also bookable for a range of corporate events.


Right at the end of Lucky, Harry Dean Stanton's last, and for many the best, film role just before he died the actor turns to camera and gives a cheeky grin before striding off into the sunset. Did he know his time was soon coming?

Stanton, who died on September 15 last year, aged 91, was a character actor, singer and musician whose film career spanned more than sixty years. Some will remember him as one of the doomed crew of the spaceship Nostromo in Alien, 1970, and some as the spirited old lag in the fantasy prison movie The Green Mile in 1999. Others may recall Stanton's more substantial role in Repo Man, 1984, as the repossession senior teaching the new rookie the ropes, or his starring role, also 1984 as the damaged amnesiac walking out of the desert to unite with his brother, son, and former wife in Paris, Texas.

It was more than thirty years later, in 2016 that Stanton deservedly got the starring role for Lucky, playing Lucky, a cantankerous 90 year-old curmudgeon who is fiercely independent and loves his life of crossword puzzles, drinking and smoking in the Arizona desert town where he spends his days. For all his tough outer skin Lucky is afraid of dying and vulnerable and Stanton revels in his swansong role with a relish that begs the question, "is he acting?" He is also blessed with some great support from the likes of Tom Skerritt, the captain of the Nostromo in Alien, Beth Grant, Ed Begley Jr, Ron Livinston, film director David Lynch in an unusual acting role and fellow character actor John Carroll Lynch making his film directing debut.

Lucky is being released in UK and Ireland cinemas, and on demand from September 14 by Eureka Entertainment. It has been described as "at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality and human connection" and as a bonus Stanton sings in the screenplay and performs the Western love song Red River Valley hauntingly on harmonica on the soundtrack. Go get the man at his peak.


A poll of 2,000 people using Bristol Airport shows that almost a half of business trips are about having a good time rather than doing any work. Apparently more than 50% extended their stay and invited family and friends along.

Many made time for drinks, meals out and sightseeing and 25% claimed to be "stuck in meetings" when they were really enjoying free time.


Amusing to note that Sir Richard Branson has stirred up a hornet's nest with his comments that people who turn up late annoy him, and that "punctuality shows organisation and respect for others" Reportedly, by Dicky, when his car was stuck in traffic in New York he got out and ran to the meeting rather than be late, and produced pictures to prove it.

Sadly for Dicky 18% of his Virgin West Coast trains have been running late, and one irate female customer retorted that his sanctimonious comments were "Hypocrisy on a giant scale" after she was delayed by 12 hours getting to Scotland. Others pointed out that in the year to August 18 only 40% of Dicky's trains arrived punctually exactly on time.

A well-known saying about glass houses and throwing stones comes to mind...


One curious trend in the modern, edgy hotel sector is the open plan bedroom layout that lets guests sharing rooms watch, should they wish to, other guests in the room take a shower, bath or use the toilet or bidet.

This of course is possibly OK if the guests are in a physical relationship, and all find such voyeuristic activities a bit of a turn-on. However, as pointed out in an amusing Daily Telegraph opinion piece by Annabel Fenwick Elliott it might be a positive turn-off if one was sharing one of these awfully trendy suites with one's father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend or even business colleague.

Apparently luxury hotels offering such facilities include the Waldorf Hilton in London, the Innside Hotel in Manchester, the LLoyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam, the Hotel St Germain in Toronto, the Sentido Aegean Pearl in Rethymnon, Crete and the Blue Woods Hotel, Deerlijk, near Ghent, Belgium. A designer of hotel ineriors has commented on the trend thus "Today's generation are much more comfortable with being exposed".

Reportedly some hotels with the open plan rooms have fitted movable curtains or blinds around their baths, showers, toilets and bidets to give guests some optional privacy, which would seem a low cost and sensible thing for them all to do. Otherwise they could issue branded blindfolds, except that some of "todays generation" and some of yesterday's no doubt, might think they were for bondage games and really have a good time not seeing anyone do anything.


o It's always a pleasure to visit the annual Speciality and Fine Food Fair in early September and take home food and drink samples to try, and report on, so here's some from this year.

First was a taste of history from fish smokers Alfred Enderby, based at Grimsby docks and part of the revival of Grimsby fish products after the disasterous Cod Wars with Iceland. At its peak in the 1950's Grimsby was the largest fishing port in the World, and still had 400 trawlers based there in 1970. By 2013 this had shrunk to 5, but the growth of fish processing at the port now means that Grimsby-based firms supply 70% of the UK market for this sector.

For us haddock has never been the most exciting taste in the sea - sea bream, plaice, sole, crab, prawns and eel are personal favourites - but the haddock fillets processed by Alfred Enderby undergo an overnight taste transformation from the smouldering wood shavings in the firm's 10 metre high brick smokehouses. Being fans of raw fish we enjoyed some that way first, (well, the excellent advice from the show stand was not to overcook it) then very untraditionally lightly microwaved the rest and found that this method preserved all the smoke and salt cure flavour that the recommended light poaching might dissolve some of away, though we'll try both methods next time and see. It was delicious, as was Alfred Enderby's lightly smoked salmon. For its Grimsby Traditional Smoked Haddock Fillets however the firm has won an EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), giving it the same protected food/drink status as Cornish Clotted Cream, Italian Parma Ham and French Champagne.

Switching from savoury to sweet we found a marmalade that really hit the spot with the Thursday Cottage Blood Orange Marmalade, described as an upcoming flavour on the stand and boasting the highest three-star category in the Great Taste Awards 2018, organised by the respected Guild of Fine Food. Thursday Cottage, a tiny start-up in Somerset in 1963, is now part of the Wilkins of Tiptree Essex empire and produces more than 100 jams, curds and marmalades. The blood orange version we tried was medium cut, made with 46gms of fruit per 100 gms packed with delicious peel and was 62% sugar with enough concentrated lemon juice to make it sweet and tangy and perfect spread generously on hot buttered thick white toast. We'll be buying this when we can locate a stockist. And we'd hope to see this on breakfast buffets at fine hotels, or we might be taking our own.

We also enjoyed jam selections from the Granny's Secret range, with the rich plum and tangy orange being standouts.

Staying with sweet we were really taken with the salted caramel flavour milk chocolate from Amsterdam firm Tony's Chocolonely, which has a mission to stamp out the child slavery apparently still existing on cocoa farms in West Africa. Tony's make a range of dark and milk chocolate with the dark being vegan and offered with pecan and coconut, coffee, rosemary and almond and sea salt, and sea salt is also noticeably, deliciously and crunchily present in the salted caramel non-vegan sample we tried, along with the plain milk, which was also pretty good. Tony's is currently only available in the Netherlands, Germany and the US, but they say they plan to ship to England next year, so one for the chocoholics to look out for.


o As readers will know we have a Tastecard discount dining card and use it to save ourselves hundreds of pounds a year with meals charged on a 241 basis or 50% off.

One of the best places we've found to use it, and get superior food at a brilliant price is in the Turners Restaurant at the Kings Head Hotel, Tuesday Market Place, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which has a well-deserved AA Rosette award.

For a recent Sunday lunch we really enjoyed the classy three-course set menu and started with the fresh asparagus and soft poached egg on toast with creamy Hollandaise sauce. (other starters included a classic prawn cocktail, a smoked chicken Caesar salad and a duck and black pudding Scotch egg.) Our main choice was a large chunk of tender lamb rump with potato puffs, cauliflower and the all-important mint sauce, but we could also have had a beef topside or pork loin roast with all the trimmings, hake, a burger, fish and chips or spinach and ricotta tortellini with mushroom sauce. For dessert we had to have the tangy lemon tart with matching tangy lemon ice cream, but apple crumble and custard, white chocolate cheesecake, and vanilla panna cotta with a brownie and tiramisu ice cream were also highly tempting.

If this rather wonderful hotel restaurant was in our home town we'd be there several times a week. And the price for our lovely lunch? £17.95 less a 50% discount, or £9.


We are starting an ongoing survey of problems reported to us that organisers have with their use of speakers. Some common examples are listed on our website Please check the ones that you have experienced and add any others not on the list. No identities of anyone contributing to the survey will be revealed and speakers will not be named.

Click here to take our survey.


The transparent management of TripAdvisor explain why they dont reveal the names of hotels or restaurants that they know submit fake positive reviews to mislead their publics. A top executive comments "It's more than my job's worth"... A spokesperson for Giles Cooper Entertainment (GCE Live) reveals whether or not their recent Van Morrison concert at Wrest Park was one of the "memorable live experiences" promoted on their website... Overpaid University Vice-Chancellors pledge to pay half their inflated salaries back, to help struggling students... Flocks of pigs are spotted flying over major UK university towns... Sir Richard Branson helpfully advises "If you really have to be somewhere at a set time don't use my trains, or anyone else's. We're all useless"... The Association of British Voyeurs books all its future conferences into luxury hotels with open plan bedrooms... and much, much more...


Text only ANNOUNCEMENTS can be run once for new products, new venues, venue refurbishments, new packages, organiser's trips, and industry showcases, receptions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions likely to be of high interest to event organisers.

Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:

One fifth page, 45mm x 170mm £200
One quarter page, 60mm x 170mm £250
One third page, 85mm x 170mm £325
One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400

To book email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk




This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.

If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at seoevent.co.uk




Located in London and Birmingham, Computec AV cater for all your rental requirements. Equipment available includes LCD/Plasma screens, PA systems, Projection Equipment and Lighting. Also in-house we have our Set Creation company specialising in staging, bespoke set design and build. Tel 020 8807 2002, Fax 020 8807 3818, email: sales@computecgroup.com Web: computecgroup.com


Quality event catering services for private & corporate functions using the finest ingredients in delicious & creative menus that can be tailored for any occasion, taste & budget. We work with quality venues in & around Warwickshire, inc. Compton Verney. Telephone: 01926 409579 Enquire in-store at Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa ,CV34 5DB Email: events@aubreyallen.co.uk Visit our website: aubreyallenevents.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk


Specializing in cabaret shows and close up Magic for galas, charity events, weddings, & corporate events Le Magician Dean Metcalfe is a master manipulator perfector of his own spectacular close-up Magic, performances worldwide, see website for live showreels and more details visit lemagicianilluminaire.com


Newsletter, promotion, event invitation or just staying in touch? We can provide a low-cost, effective solution, tailored to your needs. Our bulk rates are 0.3p per email, or £3 per thousand. Tel: 01462 896679 email: mark.ely@sg7.biz web: sg7.biz

Mocha offer a complete film and motion design service to corporate, association and charity event organisers, venues and others in the event sector. Mocha also offer a 10% discount to readers of this publication and visitors to seoevent.co.uk - just quote "SEO". Tel: 0151 706 0761 email: hq@mocha.tv Web: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos


OUT OF HOURS SUPPORT GROUP provides MEDICAL COVER and SECURITY SERVICES for the full range of events.
Based in Hampshire, but covers events across the country. Experienced staff include doctors, Emergency Nurse Practitioners & Paramedics working with vehicles equipped to NHS specification, including an ambulance, 4x4s and all-terrain quad bike. Mobile medical centre available. Reliable and versatile staff are fully screened in line with enhanced DBS requirements with separate Disclosure and Barred list check.

Out of Hours Security teams work separately or alongside the medical teams. Security staff are registered and licensed by the SIA. All staff wear visible ID at all times. Contact Leo Burdock at leo@outofhoursmedics.co.uk or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828


Association News
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com


LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email conferencing@leedschurchinstitute.org


Our pleasant boardroom is available for full or half day meetings. It seats 14 people, boardroom-style, or can be arranged to suit your needs. Catering and equipment is available on request. We are conveniently located just off City Road. Call Claire/Nora on 0207 324 0750; fax 0207 324 0760; email: enquiries@keyring.org; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR

The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. enquiries@16parkcrescent.co.uk visit 16parkcrescent.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk

Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 17,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

If you have any views on how our newsletter could be more useful to you please e-mail us at info@eou.org.uk

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