Image of Truss and Ballast

Truss and Ballast for Outdoor Events – A New Product Showcase

The staff at In Depth Events like to flatter ourselves that we engineer products that improve the production industry as a whole.  Occasionally, we’re right!  Some of our innovations really have been influential to the industry.  The best example is our LED Dance Floors – which was one of the first available in the rental market when we began designing them seven years ago.  It’s in this spirit that we are beginning a New Product showcase series.  Sign Up Here to receive information on our New Products as we discover them!

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

The Development of the Rental Truss and Ballast

About three years ago, a tour with a 5K run required a more immersive experience for their attendees.  This client asked us to design a series of outfield towers that could be placed up to 200 feet from the stage.  Each tower would be required to hold a significant amount of lighting as well as holding signage.  It would also require certified engineer documentation.

Engineer Drawing of Truss and Ballast Design

A side view from one of the engineered drawings used in the initial product design.

Our engineers got to work.  Using trussing from our rooftop department, we began with 20 foot vertical truss towers.  This pin-together truss (sometimes called fork truss) is 30 inches x 24 inches and is part of the perimeter truss of our monster 70’x50′ rooftop.  Now, we have the vertical space and strength.  But how do we anchor it to the ground to keep it from falling over?

Using the concept of a typical truss and base (which uses 70 pound steel plates as ballast) we set to design the mother of all truss and base.  Using 3/8″ steel plate, our welders built a box 4 feet x 4feet x 36 inches tall with fork lift receivers.  Then, using rebar and a piece of the perimeter truss, we set a die for the fork ends.  Finally, our stagehands mixed 3200 pounds of concrete, and poured it into each box.

The end result is a surprisingly good looking product with more than it’s fair share of weight.  The steel base is painted black and looks great on site, but it can’t disguise the 3600 pound nature of it’s being.  Our final engineering review allows the towers to be used in almost any weather environment with virtually no danger of them falling over.  Of course, the trussing looks great – it’s a vertical tower of aluminum that holds several hundred pounds of lighting in the air as well as flat vinyl banners with three times the signage space as mini-beam towers.

The multiple uses of Truss and Ballast in outdoor events

Image of Ballast and base supporting lighting and signage

Ballast and base supporting lighting and signage during a spring 2016 tour stop not too far from the Vegas strip.

When we unveiled the new Truss and Ballast, the client was thrilled.  Our engineers had created a product that allowed for the immersive experience their attendees demanded (later, we carried that design to over 150 cities in the United States – but that’s another story).  However, as we started using them on other shows, other advantages of our 3600 pound Truss and Ballast started to present themselves.  Take a look at the list below:

Image for lighting placementLighting Placement:

This should be obvious, since it was one of the main initial specifications.  However, the sheer ability of our design to accommodate lighting fixtures became an asset.  Rather than just holding a few fixtures, these towers can hold hundreds of pounds of weight – meaning more lighting.  Our Truss and Ballast towers have been used with moving lights, conventional 6 bars, lekos and FX lighting – many times all at once.  They are a vast upgrade compared to the traditional usage of scaffolding or truss and base for outdoor lighting!

 

Banner Placement using truss and ballastBanner placement:

The banner sizing is where this product really shines.  Before, spot signage at festivals had to be either scaffolding towers or towers using 12 inch mini-beam.  With our Truss and Ballast, signage is 30 inches wide x 20 feet tall!  This allows for readable signage for logo placement or directional signs.  Since our bases are stand-alone units, you can erect a square signage tower literally in the center of your main thoroughfare, and it provides a easy to read signpost that has very little effect on traffic patterns or slowdown.

 

Commercial Bulb StringersSupport for Commercial Bulb Placement:

Commercial bulb stringers are a mainstay for weddings, receptions and corporate outdoor events.  However, commercial bulb stringers can be difficult to have in open areas.  Our Truss and Ballast make commercial bulb stringers a dream to setup and install.  Our towers can support multiple strings – or use as a corner piece without worrying about wire tension.

 

 

Inverted U gatewayGateways and Gantries:

In January of 2017, a good friend and client asked us about building a gateway entry.  These are usually built with mini-beam, but in this instance the gateway footprint had to be minimized.  We designed two corners and a spanning truss to go with our Truss and Ballast, and in doing so, created a new use for our towers.  These new gateway structures boast a limited footprint, while providing exceptionally wind tolerant signage.  Multiple sections can also be used to create ticket gantries.

 

Using experts to help with your next event

Do you have a idea that you don’t know how to make work safely?   Contact our experts and let us turn your idea into a reality! Look no further!  At In Depth Events, our staff and technicians can help provide staging, audio and lighting, and electrical distribution for your next event.  Ask Us a Question to get started on your next event!


Image of Mudbug Bash at Main Street Gardens

Concert Production Services for CBS Radio Live Events

The staff at In Depth Events has a long history of working with broadcast companies.  Our unique blend of turnkey concert production services along with our marketing company experience is a natural match when working in terrestrial radio.

Thank you for all of your work this past weekend. Things went off without a hitch and your crew was great!  Andy Brooks

The Dallas office of CBS Radio is a recent addition to our client list.  However, after a successful series of events in 2015, we feel confident that CBS Radio will be a repeat client in the future!

CBS Radio called us to provide concert production services for several events in 2015 including the Mudbug Bash and Sausage Fest (both held at Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas) as well as support for a live event at Panther Island Pavilion in Ft Worth. We were also asked to provide concert production services at Fair Park in Dallas and a Christmas event at Farmers Market in Dallas.

Full Production Christmas event at Dallas Farmers Market for CBS Radio

CBS Radio Christmas event at Dallas Farmers Market

CBS Radio maintains several radio stations in the Dallas market and each radio station plays a part in the production and sponsorship of each live event.  As a result, every event for CBS Radio is completely unique.  Our logistics team makes sure that all the audio rentals, staging rentals, lighting rentals and video rentals arrives on schedule and our operators and stagehands provide the necessary skills to make sure the talent and audience has a great time.

Ask Us a Question today and find out why In Depth Events has one of the highest rates of repeat business in the industry.  We look forward to hearing from you and working with you!

 

CBS-mud-bug-production


Pop 2 Life – Conan O’Brien Dallas, Tx 2014

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Smart Marketing…

Most live event marketing campaigns are based around other, larger events.  From concert lounges at SXSW, to sports apparel promotions surrounding the NBA All Star Jam, smart marketing teams combine their brands with the targets expected at national level events.

Conan O’Brien and a national level event…

The geniuses promoting the Conan O’Brien show targeted the hoopla surrounding NCAA March Madness in Dallas.  A weeklong mini-tour using a branded Conan O’Brien Airstream trailer was dispatched, and guests were treated to live music, memorabilia, and Conan giveaways.  Each tour drop was centered in an area guaranteed to have lots of walk-through, targeted traffic.

Production Needs…

Production Experience was contracted to handle the power needs, staging, audio, and lighting for each tour drop – as well as providing an ADA lift for disabled guests.  Even with tight turnarounds, the crew of Production Experience performed flawlessly, and the end result was a very successful promotion for the show.  Find out how our event experts can provide production for your live event marketing needs – contact us today!


Airbnb Park @ SXSW 2014

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Airbnb Park was a big ol’ slice of Americana topped with a thin layer of Scandinavian designed icing. More importantly, it was another fantastic opportunity to help build out a true “experiential footprint” for a cutting edge client. When the uber cool Silicon Valley based, “Pirate’s of Couch Surfing” wanted to do something that was not only different but also memorable, we were more than happy to follow their creative lead.

Airbnb describes their park as, “an oasis amidst the craziness of SXSW, where attendees can enjoy an array of activities day and night including spa treatments, yoga, live music courtesy of emerging acts ranging from bluegrass to rock to hip hop, and specialty cooking events.”

Airbnb’s first move was to partner with modernist pre-fab revolutionaries, kitHAUS, who delivered 3 of their modular living spaces fully decorated by Snoop Dogg, Capital Cities, and Allen Stone, respectively. But who could possibly provide electricity, lighting and audio equipment for this massive activation, stretching over an acre across Austin’s hipster gentrified East-Side? Enter the electrical grid building prowess of Sound Mind Events. Providing full power for every food truck, drink vendor, kitHAUS; heck, we even lit up the porta potties at this one.

The final challenge we faced was how to adequately provide audio for this low-key hipster utopia. A lesser production company would have over-sold a thunderous system that would have shook the horned rimmed glasses right off the ironic faces of the easily startled audience. With the years earned experience of knowing how to dress appropriately for every type of event, Production Experience and Sound Mind Events were able to provide a compact sound and lighting system that paired with Airbnb Park like a crisp Viognier with mango lime chutney.

For more information on our production services, contact our experts.  We look forward to hearing from you, and working with you!


GMR Miller Lite Lounge @ Butler Park, SXSW 2014

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Miller Lite was ALL OVER this year’s SXSW. First, they brought back the Original Lite Can, blanketed every form of mass media and digital communication, and if that wasn’t enough, they decided that they just HAD to be the top level Super Sponsorship Partner for the ENTIRE Event. So, when our friends at GMR Marketing asked us to help them create something “big” for SXSW, we were a little surprised when we found out just how “BIG” they were thinking.

The Miller Lite Deck at Butler Park was simply MASSIVE. Not only was it the biggest sponsorship footprint, it was about twice the size of the Main Stage. With a commanding view of the main stage and festival grounds, this 100′ wide x 40′ deep concert lounge was complete with 60′ LED TVs, mobile device charging stations, lounge furniture, and professional stage lighting and truss.  Most importantly, the lounge had something the Main Stage didn’t: Ice Cold Miller Lite; lots of it.

You could say the folks at MillerCoors went “all in” at this year’s SXSW and we were happy to be a part of one of the largest product activations in SXSW’s 27 year history.  The Miller Lite Deck was one of the most visited and talked about promotions in Butler Park. With great sponsorship comes great exposure.  Contact our experts at Production Experience, and find out how we can provide these services to your clients!


The Complex Complex, SXSW 2014

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When the NYC based brand influencers at Complex Media told us they were converting a house off of 3rd St. into their “home away from home” for SXSW, we asked them, “How can we help?” We understood that they wanted to throw a legit house party vibe at a select few SXSW attendees so, we built a modest 16’x8′ stage in the backyard, and then dropped a powerful sound and lighting system for the incredible lineup of talent scheduled to perform.

Day and night, The Complex Complex had elite artists and clientele in, out, and around the small downtown Austin home. At any given time you might be next to Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) or rubbing elbows with deadmau5.  You might be discussing the finer points of Pre Raphaelite Art with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), while watching Anamanaguchi perform punk rock songs with an 8 bit Game Boy.

This all assumes that you were able to GET IN to The Complex Complex. This was by far the most exclusive event that Production Experience and Sound Mind Events had at SXSW 2014. After repeated attempts all day to gain access to this exclusive event, I was finally able to sneak in the VIP entrance to document the final performance on our stage, 6 time Grammy winning dubstep DJ, Skrillex, to an absolutely packed capacity crowd. Thank you, Complex Media.

For more information on the activations that Production Experience handled at SXSW, check out my blog post here.  If you are ready to talk to our experts about your next event, then feel free to contact us.  We look forward to hearing from you, and working with you!


Image of SXSW Main Stage

SXSW Music 2014: A Production Company’s Retrospective

I had doubts about going to this year’s South by Southwest show.  Not just my typical jaded and cynical doubts over a perceived loss of authenticity, I couldn’t find my passion for the experience. Looking over different press junkets, twitter feeds and blog articles, nothing I came across about this year’s SXSW musicreally seemed to speak to me. Where was the giddy excitement of SXSWs gone by? I mean, I had a minor panic attack in anticipation for a Mogwai and Stephen Malkmus show I saw at a South by in college…  Had it finally happened? Was I the frog in gradually heated water that had finally succumbed to the inevitable? Am I irrelevant?

Phew, for a minute there.

The journey begins…

My drive into Austin was uneventful. My idle mind drifting in and out of fantasy. I imagine myself as a post modern Hunter S. Thompson or possibly David Attenborough, sent deep into the jungle of SXSW to document the lives of indigenous flora and fauna.  I pull into the KOA Campsite late Friday to join the rest of the crew who had been in Austin for over a week setting up and maintaining the various stages and experiential footprints we had throughout downtown Austin.

The campground was still. The only activity I see is coming from the KOA kitchen. I see a familiar t-shirt and park my car. Inside, I find enough scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage to feed a small army. Most of our crew was coming back from show site and the available stagehands make sure hot meals are ready for them. I decide to turn in early and prepare for an eventful closing Saturday at SXSW.

By the time I’m up, the campsite is empty. I call the lead to figure out where everyone else is.

“We’re already on site. Get down here, park your car and get to our events…And TAKE PICTURES!”

Downtown Austin is already alive and bustling with activity. I grab a cup of coffee, park my car off 3rd St. and begin my trek throughout the vast wilderness that is SXSW.  The hipsters and credit card hippies had already begun their migration to the newly located Main Stage at Butler Park. Streams of bicycles, pedestrians, skateboards; I even saw a pack of Segways all cautiously crossing the South Congress bridge to graze on the endless fields of food trucks and carnival vendors surrounding the Main Stage.

You could hear the roar of the stage miles before you could see it. Crisp and clear, the distinct push of the line array speakers cut through the thick and damp morning air. The pied piper’s song was luring millennials away from their lofts with promises of free promotional sunglasses and caffeinated energy drinks. I am led into a maze of metal stockade to be inspected and branded with a wristband at the main entrance before I am allowed to proceed into the festival grounds.

Image of Miller Lite concert lounge

My first visit to one of our many job sites at SXSW music festival was the Miller Lite Lounge at Butler Park.  Our crews provided the structure, trussing, video and lighting for this amazing lounge overlooking the main stage at SXSW this year.  The Miller Lite Lounge was massive and easily had the biggest footprint around the Main Stage. Looking from a distance, the structure looked like a giant cargo ship bringing in huge shipments of domestic beer.

Image of Miller Lite concert lounge

Too early in the day to be active, the sleeping giant rests, waiting to receive the thousands of concert goers looking to rest their legs and recharge their mobile devices.

Image of Miller Lite concert lounge

The Miller Lite Lounge is spotless. A gleaming white beacon unsoiled by tracks of mud and dirt. I carefully mind my steps and decide to move onward.

By this time it was early afternoon and the haze of morning had cleared.  Downtown Austin was in full-on SXSW music mode. Live music seemed to blare from every direction. Around every nook and cranny, if there was room to fit a band,  it had been filled. I make my way through the cacophony, stopping frequently to watch glimpses of each performance, not having a clue as to who they were or where they were from; only that they had made it to Austin with their instruments. From across the city, the state, the country and the globe, artists of every shape and size have descended to this single location to collectively spawn their creative energies and contribute to this living and breathing event known as South by Southwest.

Image of The Complex Complex Lounge

I make my way to my next destination, The Complex Complex.  Back in my relatively quiet offices, I had been the event planner for this show, coordinating the audio, location and load in times for the talented crew.  Dwarfed in size and scale by the Miller Lounge, it was located in the backyard of a small house outside of the Austin Convention Center. Walking up to the front door, I am stopped by security.

“Entrance is in the back. Only artists come through this door.”

I shrugged and continued to walk to the back alley entrance. Before I could turn the corner there is more security and lines of people. It’s only 2pm. Surely, this can’t be for Complex…

“WE ARE AT CAPACITY!” yelled the muscular man in a tight fitting shirt.

“If you don’t have an RSVP don’t waste your time,” says the person in front of me. “It’s been this way since early this morning.”

I try to shake off the fact that I have just been turned away from my own event. I mean, I don’t remember “muscles glasses” making furious last minute calls around Austin to find backline equipment. I text the crew lead to see if our audio engineer can pull any strings for me as I head east to AirBnB Park.

Crossing over I-35, I immediately sense a change in climate. There is a more mellow and laid back atmosphere on the East Side. Recently gentrified by mustachioed mixologists and fixed-gear bike riding baristas, the neighborhoods lack the circus-like energy of 6th St. The stages are hidden behind bars which are peppered throughout a landscape of vintage clothing resellers, record shops and food truck parks.

Image of AirBnB Park at SXSW

The next stop on my tour of our production events is at AirBnB Park.  This experiential footprint sits comfortably in the East Side neighborhood on the corner of 6th and Onion. The entire space is covered in a bright green astroturf and marked with accents of 50’s Americana. Contemporary styled lawn furniture surround faux fire pits that sit outside of superbly decorated modular living areas. I peruse the grounds, catching glimpses into the living quarters designed by Snoop Dogg and Capital Cities.

Image of AirBnB Park at SXSW

I imagine the well manicured environs of AirBnB Park to be a human exhibit in a zoo on a distant alien planet. The tour guide instructing the alien observers to keep their all their tentacles inside the car and to not feed the humans anything other than locally sourced, farm to table food truck tacos. “The humans have very specific dietary requirements,” the alien zoo guide says as a mother alien scolds her son for attempting to poke a tentacle at a sleeping human.

“Paul?”

“Oh hey, Matt. I was just–”

“Great, grab this DJ equipment and carry it to the center pavilion. We have bags over the speakers in case it rains again. Don’t let any of the wires get wet.”

Image of AirBnB Park at SXSW

As the finishing touches to the DJ booth are set for tonight’s final performance at AirBnB, I finally get a text from the lead with entry instructions for The Complex Complex. I text our sound engineer and begin walking back that way. Just before crossing 35, I spot one of our trucks already on the move for one of our clients. “Do not go gentle into that good night,” I think to myself…

Walking up to The Complex Complex again, I try reaching out to our audio tech, this time by phone.

“Hello?”

“It’s me, Paul. Your show has been at capacity all day. Can you get me in?

“Come to the front door.”

Success! I had finally been given the nod to access my own event. As I hop the mini picket fence and slip back into the backyard, I can hear the crowd going nuts.

Image of The Complex Complex at SXSW

“This show has been packed all day. What’s been going on?”

“Are you kidding? Have you heard of a DJ from LA called, Skrillex?

“SKRILLEX is on our stage?!?”

Image of DJ Skrillex Performing at The Complex Complex at SXSW

I had gotten in just in time to see Skrillex end his set with Toto’s “Africa” to a jam-packed group of lucky SXSW music attendees. This party had been so exclusive that I not only couldn’t get in, but I didn’t even know that the biggest dubstep DJ in the world was performing on the stage.

I left The Complex Complex in a daze, barely able to comprehend what had just happened. I had just seen a 6 time Grammy winning  DJ who re-invented the genre of dubstep play an exclusive set on our stage to less than 300 people in a tiny backyard. I didn’t even know Skrillex was in Austin!?

I decided to stumble back to Butler Park. The streets were now filled with a sea of people. Riding the momentum of the crowd and often unable to see street signs or other familiar landmarks,  I was a sea turtle returning to the same moon lit beach from where it had once hatched. The darkness of night had now completely wrapped around the Main Stage giving it a more menacing appearance than I recalled from earlier that day.

Image of The Miller Light Concert Lounge at SXSW

The Miller Lite Lounge was a buzzing hive of activity. People were gathered around in circles sharing the days adventures like bees sharing the location of local wildflowers.  I located a quiet and comfortable spot to roost, recharge my phone and enjoyed the final show on the SXSW music Main Stage.

Image of the Main Stage at SXSW

Relaxing with my feet up and a cold Miller Lite, I can’t believe I actually thought I had outgrown the festival. South by Southwest is not Texas’ version of Coachella or Bonnaroo. It’s a completely different animal. With over 2,000 “official” shows and an untold number of spontaneous pop ups blooming from every square inch of downtown Austin, SXSW is uncategorizable. It is simply a force of nature that refuses to be contained. Don’t attempt to structure an itinerary. You won’t make it 200 yards before you get completely hypnotized by performances of unknown name and origin. So, dive in; head first. And if you can find an area that doesn’t already have a concert stage on it, give us a call. It’s moments of clarity like this that make working for In Depth Events so rewarding.

I hope this blog has been informative for our event planner clients! For more information on In Depth Events and our event production capabilities, please Ask Us a Question today. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you on your event!


Live Event Marketing at Cowboys Stadium

Tips and Tricks for Stepping Up in the Live Event Marketing Game

In the business of live event marketing, the key is reaching the most people as effectively as possible. Live events continue to evolve each year, incorporating more and more social media elements along with keeping the things that worked in the past. How can you step up your event game and have the greatest impact on the consumer?

Size DOES matter in live events!

Footprint size and location of said footprint is a great place to start. Size does matter in this instance. If you can be outside you really get more visibility and foot traffic than an indoor space. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more on a larger sized section. The extra investment always pays off with increased overall numbers and interactions.

Impressions, Interactions and Interactives

Location goes hand in hand with your footprint. Where do you need to set up to give your team the best opportunity to make the most impressions? Normally, if you’re just going for impressions; you should secure a spot near one of the entrances or exits. However, if you need interactions this may backfire on you as consumers are usually rushing in or rushing out – making it more difficult to engage your key demographic. I would suggest somewhere in the thick of the event at a corner where there is plenty of foot traffic coming from all directions.

The next element to step up your event game would be your interactives. Consumers love sweepstakes and an opportunity to win no matter what the prize. Make it a trip, shopping spree or even cold hard cash. Anything that drives the consumer to your footprint and initiates conversation with the promotional professional.

Bring the A Game with technology

Once the consumer is captivated by the scope of your footprint and giveaway; now is your chance to impress with technology. Take your product or service to the next level with techno enhancement. LED walls, professional sound, lighting and staging are all tools to bring foot traffic, and ultimately, close the deal. Be ready for the all the accolades to come pouring in from your live event marketing attendees – and from your end client!

Oh…and don’t forget to have fun. This always creates a more welcoming environment for consumers when they see your team enjoying the moment.

Hopefully this blog has been informative for our event planner clients! For more information on In Depth Events and our event production capabilities, please Ask Us a Question today. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you on your event!


Image of Outdoor LED Dance Floor

Using an Outdoor LED Dance Floor Rental as a Centerpiece for Live Event Activations

Have you ever needed a central, focused location for an outdoor activation?  An area in the middle of your event that really brings attention to what is happening without worrying about distractions?  A bold, lit area that immediately draws your attendees to the area that you want focused on? Consider an outdoor LED Dance Floor rental for your event!

One of our most recent events was an outdoor activation for a major shoe manufacturer.  This live, private event sent invitations to a state ranked football team for product giveaway and staged the event in an outdoor football field.  The event was held after dark with a party theme, DJ and lounge furniture.  However, a focus point was needed to draw attention to the middle of the activation at the right time.

An outdoor LED Dance Floor turned out to be the perfect centerpiece of the event.  On cue, the dance floor lit up in bright white, highlighting the product, the players and the activation in an exciting and dynamic way.  The end client was very happy with the finished product and was very pleased that attention to their brand of shoes was presented in such a memorable way. And In Depth Events is one of a handful of companies across the United States that offers outdoor LED Dance Floors for rental.

Hopefully this blog has been informative for our event planner clients! For more information on In Depth Events and our event production capabilities, please Ask Us a Question today. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you on your event!


Stage and Rooftop with Full Production and CONFETTI STREAMERS

Liberman Broadcasting takes Pepsi Sponsorship to Next Level

Liberman Broadcasting has been a valued concert production client for several years. We’ve been pleased to handle full concert production services for bi-annual concerts in both the Dallas and Houston markets with attendance topping 20,000 people per event.

This was a wonderful added touch for my client and really brought the energy of the event to its peak. A great way to brand the product, giving the crowd a feeling of excitement by using the confetti to drive it home.

Joanna Garland, Liberman Broadcasting

The Dallas team contacted us and let us know that they were wanting to do something special for Pepsi – a new title sponsor for the spring concert production event. Our team of experts listened carefully and, collaborating with Liberman staff, came up with two ideas that were utilized for the event. The first concept was a ‘Best Seat in the House’ riser – a covered VIP riser 20 feet off stage right behind the concert barricade, where lucky winners could watch the show up close (and receive Pepsi giveaways).

However, the most visible addition to the show was a surprise to the sponsors!  We worked closely together with Liberman Broadcasting to orchestrate a confetti streamer blast over the crowd directly before the headlining act took the stage. The effect electrified the crowd, provided a perfect entry for the headlining act and delighted the Pepsi sponsorship team!

Hopefully this blog has been informative for our event planner clients! For more information on In Depth Events and our event production capabilities, please Ask Us a Question today. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you on your event!

Want to see more? We got the whole thing on video!