Worst Meeting Onsite Experience
There was just a thread in a LinkedIn group that I belong to about the “Worst on site mishap” that we‘ve experienced.
About ten years ago the company I worked for was hired by a producer who planned an “All-American” theme night party for a European division of an international technology company. There were in Las Vegas having a sales meeting. The show was off site in a small arena sized venue where we built a concert stage at one end and wrestling ring at the other, with a dance floor in the space between.
This project seemed to be under a cloud almost from the beginning. When we arrived on site we learned that the space had not been booked properly, and while we had four days to load in, we had four hours allocated to load out. And, the group after us was a gymnastics meet, so they had to pour concrete and couldn’t push their time back at all. Next, we learned the two 400 amp services we were promised didn’t exist. (More on this later)
The project was in a constant state of flux and elements were constantly being shuffled, changed or cut as we loaded in and got ready for the show. We had to argue most of a day that we must add a generator due to the lack of house power that was needed for the show. Finally, we just brought one in on our own dime, planning to sort it out later with the producer.
The show was slated to start at 8pm and run until 4am to 6am…we had a massive strike crew standing by to try and get the whole rig out before 8am when we turned the room over.
At 7:45pm, the band was in their dressing rooms, the wrestlers were ready, the DJ was in place and the first buses (led by an escort of Harley riders) pulled into the parking lot from their hotel….
Oh, there were also 500 or so “Cheerleaders” brought in so the mostly male group would have folks to dance with. (More on this later too….But, keep in mind these were all “models” hired from a variety of Las Vegas modeling agencies.)
The first attendees began to filter in and…
….the entire building went dark.
Emergency lights flicker on from the arena ceiling….But interestingly, the music keeps playing. The generator we insisted on adding was now the only power in the building. The food was all on sterno heated trays, and the DJ was quick thinking. He calls everyone visible over to the dimly lit dance floor and begins to organize a dance contest.
While this is going on, four fire trucks arrive. We learn the entire area of Vegas where the venue is located had gone dark due to someone taking out a power pole with their car.
It takes about a half an hour for the city to restore power, but the DJ keeps things flowing. However a number of the “cheerleaders” seem to have gone missing. We learned later that numerous areas of the darkened building were apparently used for some non-dance activities, including the roof, which was apparently accessed from multiple doors according to the building manger. (It seems some of the agencies who provided the “models” had dug pretty deep into their files to get 500 candidates to show up…)
After about 45 minutes, power began to flicker back on from the city.
We had to reset all our gear and the party officially started about an hour late. The headline band went on, the wrestlers did their act. The corporate band came on at 1am and played until about 5am…and we ultimately got the gear out in time. (Although that involved a lot of stuff being pulled out and actually disassembled, boxed and loaded onto trucks in the dirt field behind the building.)
But, when presented with the bill, the producer gladly paid for the generator that we’d insisted on adding, as that was the only slim thread (along with the DJ) that had kept the wheels from falling off the whole event during that dark hour of dancing and drinking.
Never had a show before or since come so close to disaster from so many different directions.
What is your worst story? Or how did you make lemonade from some lemons you were served up?
What is your worst story?
How did you make lemonade from the lemons you were served?