Events management requires expertise and skill, honed over many years. Get it right and you have a very successful event. Get it wrong and you can be left thousands of dollars in debt, with a reputation in tatters too. I sat among the thousands on Saturday night at Rotorua's Lakeside Concert 2014. The concert organisers had got it right. The concert was a bonanza.
Getting it right doesn't just happen overnight. This was the 18th concert. I would say there's probably been 18 years of blood, sweat and tears to get it this far. Everyone who has ever organised a major event knows that success on the day comes down to meticulous planning. And for most of us we probably organise only one or two major events. But the Lakeside Concert takes place every year. To get it to the highly-professional and smooth running event it is today has taken 18 years to perfect. All those involved should take a bow. None more so than Monty Morrison. He goes out on a high.
After 18 years of involvement in the planning and staging of Lakeside Concerts he is stepping aside. The first to admit it takes a committed team, Monty never the less, made a personal commitment of 18 years to Rotorua Lakeside.
By now there would be a check-list of activities commencing 12 months out from the next concert. The organisers must have these preparations off pat by now. But how do you take into account the musical tastes of the thousands of the people who look forward to attending each year. Those who attended in the early years could have very different musical tastes to those who attended their first concerts, say in the last five years. Getting that mix right takes someone who knows music well. Who knows that music is our feelings put to sound. And with each successful concert the bar gets raised.
Lakeside Concert 2014 has raised expectations even further. It was a huge success. Sure, it drizzled for a good part of the performance but the rain couldn't dampen the atmosphere and thrilled response from the crowd. I don't know how you estimate the number of people at an event. It's easy when you have numbered tickets. From where I was sitting up the front by the stage, looking back as far as I could see, there must have been an appreciative audience of many thousands.
Frankie Stevens was just right as MC. He does it so well and his years of experience as an entertainer and polished performer came through loud and clear. He stood down from the annual Auckland event Christmas in the Park last year after many years of involvement. I hope he will remain involved with Lakeside. With such a wide range of artists the concert had something for everyone. There were a few who I didn't know so didn't expect to enjoy that much, but that wasn't the case at all. I need to get out of my comfort zone a little more. They were all very good and it would be impolite to single out favourites but I have to admit that hearing Sol3 Mio alone was worth attending the concert. They sing so effortlessly and have a natural and fun-loving way about them that resonated with the crowd. I hope the prediction that they'll do well overseas comes true for them.
So Monty, 18 years with Rotorua Lakeside Concerts comes to an end. I'll put my question - "is there a book inside of you?" I hope so. I bet there'd be no shortage of material.
Merepeka lives in Rotorua. She writes, speaks and broadcasts to thwart the spread of political correctness.