in the pub with…

In the pub with Keri Moss & Stuart Jenkins

Blue Strawberry/Table Talk’s MD catches up with the MasterChef winner-turned-food designer over G&Ts and white wine.

The Falcon
itp

33 Bedford Road, SW4 7SQ

2x Sauvignon Blanc………………..£14
2x Gin & Tonic…………………..£16.40
2x Camden Pale Ale…………..£10.30
Total………………………….£40.70     

 

Stuart Jenkins (SJ): I have quite a sporty background. I used to play a lot of rugby. I was in commercial property for a couple of years but I knew that my calling was more personality-focused, creative-focused, the nicer things in life. And that’s what drew me back into events.

Keri Moss (KM): I spent just under three years working in a hotel in Australia, and had the time of my life. I didn’t really want to come home, but I had to. Then a friend said, ‘I’ve got an event company, do you want to come and work in it?’ and I’ve never looked back. I absolutely love it.

SJ: It’s an amazing industry to work in. World-class venues, amazing food, fine wine, brilliant personalities and amazing people. Almost every one of our clients starts with a blank sheet. It starts with the brief and we build it up from there. We do that several hundred times in a year, which is both taxing and exciting. We’re setting trends instead of following them.

KM: For me, I want to be better than everyone else. I like to see what other companies are doing, just to make sure that we are that little bit ahead.

SJ: It’s a really good time for food in London right now. When expectations are so high it’s tough.

KM: We all love what we do. You can tell a good chef by the way that they feel, and how emotional they get over food.

SJ: We give the chefs room to do what they’re good at and passionate about.

KM: A lot of high-profile chefs have a reputation for being quite loud and aggressive but we’re not all like that. Sometimes we’re up against it but we always get it done. In an event kitchen the mentality is totally different from a restaurant kitchen.

SJ: Ultimately we are in a relationship-led business. When you look at things like logistics and venue relationships, what it comes down to is trust in the individual. If you’re doing my event for 500 people then I need to have the utmost trust in you, I need to know that you’re not going to let me down. That’s what our clients have: trust in our team.

KM: MasterChef was fun, but challenging. You learn a lot about yourself and your resilience. It’s all true what you see on screen. If they say you have five minutes then you have five minutes.

SJ: With Brexit, it’s now just getting on with the job in hand. It was a surprise for most of us but that doesn’t change the remit, or what we’re here to do. Fingers crossed it won’t have a detrimental effect.

Image credit: Photography by Aniseed PR

This feature originally appeared in the September issue of Access All Areas, out now.

In the pub with…Claire O’Neill

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill spends an evening in Brixton’s Trinity Arms with Emma Hudson to talk about making sustainability a business proposition and playing a flying Mary Poppins in the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Ten years ago, I was going to a lot of parties in the woods that were completely unlicensed and unofficial. You’d have to call up a number on your way down to find out where it was and if it was still going on. It was at these parties where I first saw solar panels charging power and the café had all organic food and fair trade. After or during the event, people would be sorting out their own rubbish or recycling, and there was composting that the cafés were doing. And these were unofficial parties where nobody paid, just a free party. That was the environment that I came up in.

Through my degree I started doing more management and work experience at big festivals. I thought, ‘God, this is so different. How can you get the message of what’s happening on those really underground events over to the mainstream events that actually have more of an impact and permeate more of society?’ There was no way that going in from a hippie angle would make the slightest drop in the ocean, but maybe if it came from more of a business perspective, then people were more likely to pay attention.

I knew the areas where improvements could be made, and then looked at events like The Green Gathering, the Green Futures Field at Glastonbury, and all of these communities that had been doing this for a long time, and made a list of criteria, which then became the A Greener Festival website.

I think because for a period of time, sustainability was seen as a nice addition, so that’s almost a reason to decouple a lot of the ideas from being ‘green’. It could, in some psychological way, actually be a good thing. For example, using the new generators could have savings for festivals of anything from 4,000 to 30-40,000 euros, depending on the scale of the event. And that is a massive chunk of cash. That’s being ‘green’ – but it’s not the reason organisers are doing it.

I’ve heard people say about festivals, “It’s about having fun; I shouldn’t be told to clean up.” That’s fair enough, but to couple having fun with doing something that’s long-term detrimental to the environment is really wrong. I had illegal amounts of fun at parties in the woods, and we totally sorted the place out – we wouldn’t dream of just leaving it trashed, and we were having a wild time. Having fun doesn’t mean being wasteful.

I was one of the Mary Poppins in the Opening Ceremony. The rings would lift off the ground and come to our eye height, and the helicopter with Bond and “The Queen” would come just over our heads. Then we’d get picked up by the back of our pants and flown over to defeat Voldemort. It was incredible. We had our Mary Poppins outfits on, looking over at thousands of people, and a giant puppet shooting fireworks out of its wand, with the noise of the crowds – and just looking across and seeing your mate next to you with you.

I was at Glastonbury spinning on the G-spin on the Arcadia spider up on of the cranes. To be there, spinning around, with thousands of people screaming and watching and seeing the driver’s mad grin as he spinned faster and faster – it was a very different vibe from the Olympics but equally just as mind-blowing.

A Greener Festival has relaunched its awards scheme. Apply at www.agreenerfestival.com.

This feature originally appeared in the March issue of Access All Areas.

 

 

 

 

In the pub with…Quantum FX’s Shaun Barnett

Established in 2009, Quantum Special Effects has created bespoke effects for clients as diverse as the Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games (above) to global tours for Katy Perry, Take That and Muse.

CEO Shaun Barnett (right) gives us the lowdown on how special effects can be used to make all five senses come alive.shaun.Barnett1

“It can be easy to get lost in the visual side of things when it comes to planning a show’s special effects. That burst of flames or the multi-coloured wall of pyros. But the other four senses – sound, touch, smell and taste – are equally important and there are a load of effects out there that can add a whole new dimension to an event or show.”

“As a designer I try to give the maximum visual impact I can within the safety confines of the venue and the production. Use effects like our massive Harvey Wallbanger (huge balls of flame) to highlight a crescendo, a beat or an epic moment within the story. Pyrotechnics are my thing and perfect for giving that big visual moment. Mad colours, angles, and careful product selection, with the goal to make your audience go ‘holy sh*t!’”

“Special effects have been used for sound in live events for as long as they’ve existed. Think of the early days and the puff of smoke as a genie appeared out of a lamp at the local pantomime or the much “too loud” concussions at Kiss or Motorhead concerts in the 80s. From that grass roots level to the time at Bestival when we fired off 42 concussions in two seconds, it’s such an important element.”

“A lot of our best products are the result of clients coming to us who have these crazy ideas and need someone with the skills, resources – and the balls – to make them happen. Always push the boundaries and never think that something is unachievable. Just ask! An example of this is our new Multi-Sensory FX package, which lets thousands of people taste and smell the same flavour at once via haze, smoke-filled bubbles or even rain.”

“Personally I love nothing more than recreating the smell of napalm at a Metallica gig, but sometimes even the simplest effects can work well. I remember this time in the early days when a club wanted to create something different. We came up with the idea of black confetti streaming down, but with the lights off. It was a great way of integrating touch into an event and was a sensory overload for the clubbers, just feeling this stuff fluttering down. People went mad and it was a totally unique experience.”

“If there’s one bit of advice I’d give, it is to get your SFX team onboard early. There’s so much more to it than placing pyros on the DSE and with a dedicated engineering team there’s really no limits. Also, introduce your SFX team to the rest of production – particularly set, lights and lasers – as early as possible. The best gigs are the ones where everyone is on the same page creatively and it just works as one.”

 
This feature first appeared in the November issue of Access All Areas, which you can read here.