I'm sure you're familiar with the golden rule of any party:
Admittedly, we weren't the hosts last year. But we were the movers and groovers behind the scenes of the spectacular gala for Dr. Martin Herrenknecht's 80th birthday and the 45th anniversary of Herrenknecht AG. Never heard of Herrenknecht? No worries, you've more than likely traveled through one of this German global player's tunnels - be that through cities, oceans, or mountains.
Is the memory of your last milestone birthday, wedding, or graduation party still seared in your mind? Can you still feel the stress? Now imagine that on the scale of a gala with over 2,000 guests, including political elites and top entrepreneurs from around the world, all with hungry stomachs and a real craving for excitement. Feeling the stress yet?
First and foremost, you need a theme to work with, one that can incorporate the birthday man’s desired acts and encompass his life. And here’s how we got there: time travel. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Or otherwise translated into a title:
With this established, the work could begin.
"Hello, Mrs. Schöneberger?" (...) "Sure, Barbara!" (...) "No, we're even more excited." (...) "Noooo, we are!" (...) "Great, see you then."
The advantage of having worked with Germany's A-list celebrities in the past is that you can also bring them onto the stage in the present. And with them in tow, making the leap into international show business isn't as difficult. Suddenly, the act list was finalized:
Roland Kaiser, who made the crowd scream as if he were Justin Bieber himself. Richard Clayderman, whose fingers flew across the keys so fast that it was hard to believe he had time to dazzle with that Clayderman smile. The Ehrlich Brothers, who truly know how to duplicate money in a second. **Drumroll** Jamie Cullum, who performed on stage - for the first time in his career, mind you - Herrenknecht’s favorite song, My Way. And Chiara Luzzana, who crafted and performed an original futuristic soundtrack for Herrenknecht after months of work on his sites.
But to have these acts perform in the Offenburg Arena, a lot of organization is required. Especially when you want to stage the past, present, and future simultaneously.
From setting up almost 500 square meters of LED screens for flashbacks, future scenarios, birthday greetings, and visual effects, to creating a three-part stage where even Madonna would have felt at home, every detail mattered. The red carpets, hundreds of set tables for the three-generational dinner, VIP areas, the after-show party (the one we remember (or maybe not) the most), and so much more had to be meticulously planned and arranged to ensure that the gala shined and the timing of the performances went hand-in-hand. For several months, our team worked tirelessly in tandem with our partners at Beacon and Bright, ensuring that our collaboration resulted in nothing but fun for our 300-person-strong.
The main act of our pre-party: the budget juggler.
Since we can't disclose the numbers, let's just say "bravo" to our Donald Ducks at this point!
Even though it all sounds easy-peasy, the weeks leading up to the event felt like Takeshi's Castle. It wasn't until the setup phase when everything suddenly became peaceful, relaxed, and strangely calm. So much so that we felt we must have overlooked a stumbling block somewhere. But potential stumbling blocks turned out to be pebbles, and the gala - and this is the most important part - became the Olymp.
And in case you're thinking, "All that's missing is the fireworks!" – Oh yeah, we had them too. Just like here, at the end.
Get in touch if you want to make it go boom too.
Greetings on top, from Zoo Kid On The Blog