Last month, ILEA DC was proud to host the ILEA Lunch & Learn: Inauguration Chat, an educational luncheon at The City Club of Washington in downtown DC. Obviously a very timely topic in our town, a panel of inaugural event experts spoke to a sold out room of attendees. Our amazing panel included Dale Harmon from Twigz Studios, Kelley Gillespie from GEM events, Kevin Olivera from Olivera Music Entertainment, Joyce Watson of Events DC, and Heidi Brown from AFR. Their insight was priceless and their stories showed us the Inauguration is a wonderful weekend of celebrations, hard work and intense challenges.
TOP TAKE AWAY POINTS
- Inauguration events are planned with very short turnarounds. Answer client inquiries quickly.
- The Red Zone (security perimeter including areas where the President may physically pass through) will cause venue, Metro and street closures starting late afternoon/early evening on January 19th. The map of the Red Zone changes daily and will change hourly 1/18-1/21.
- Set expectations for your buyers. For example, they may need guests to walk several blocks if they’re not able to drive up to the building due to security measures. Issues like this may not be on their mind when envisioning their gala, but a planner in DC should prepare them.
- Plan ahead: – Plan to use out of state vendors if local companies are at capacity.- Hire double the amount of staff you typically need. – Reserve lodging/Airbnb now for your staff to guarantee that you’ll have a team physically inside the Red Zone after 1/19 afternoon (or they may not be able to physically get to your events – yikes!). – Credential all staff members. If they are working events inside the Red Zone, they may need to be credentialed (typically at the Convention Center). Background checks, etc. are critical. Know your full staff. – Plan to load in equipment as early as possible (even 24-48 hours in advance). – You and your staff may get caught in security check points for 2+ hours. In January. Plan for cold weather and DO NOT send any trucks out without a full tank of gas! – Have a back up plan for everything. – Make sure you have insurance for any likely hiccup.
- Secret Service Rules. Respect what they do to keep everyone safe. If they ask to you wait, to leave, to move – just do it.
- Get payment in advance. Many of these inaugural committees dissolve right after their events.
Finally, Inauguration weekend is an incredible team effort by DC’s best event professionals. Call each other. Share info with each other. Collaborate. After all, that’s what ILEA is all about! Photo credit: Jerry Frishman – Great American Photo
Jenny Langer is an Entertainment Specialist at ECE DC, an award-winning event producer, and an inductee in the Blues Hall of Fame. Looking for ideas on entertainment for your event? She is always happy to brainstorm with you!