Insightful. Productive. Fantastic. Worthwhile. Perfect. Amazing. The best industry event. These are just some of the words used by events professionals to describe their experience at this year’s Event Buyers Live (EBL), held earlier this month [November 13-15].

The industry networking event, which took place at Carden Park Hotel, Chester, was a huge success with all attendees – organisers, suppliers, and speakers – sharing their appreciation for being able to chat with, listen to, and laugh alongside each other.

Event Buyers Live connected the live events industry. In fact, the event’s innovative badging technology – provided by blendology – shows that more than 4,400 unique connections were made.

Neil Fagg, event director of EBL, said: “When we closed the doors on #EBL22, we made a promise to build on the event and this year, we’ve done it. But that’s not me just saying that. The feedback we received in the first few hours after the event has been humbling and I’ll be honest it’s even made some of the team cry.

“As event professionals, you know that the hard work is in the planning so when guests tell you that the event is productive and inspiring and that they have not only found some great suppliers for their events but also learned something from the roundtable sessions and workshops, it really does put a huge smile on your face.”

Karen McColl, project manager at DF Concerts, attended EBL for the first time. She said: “My first Event Buyers Live did not disappoint. Having the opportunity to meet so many suppliers and other organisers in one location this side of Christmas was so productive and saved hours of online research and introductory emails! Thanks to all the team for having me and for pulling off an exceptional, well-organised and productive event!”

Like McColl, Kevin Moore, operations director at From the Fields, also attended the hosted buyer event. He said: “This was my first Event Buyers Live and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Any doubts I had quickly disappeared when I arrived at the venue and was greeted by the EBL team. I was so well looked after and had an excellent schedule of meetings and workshops tailored to my own bespoke event needs. It was some of the most productive time I’ve spent at an event.”

Event Buyers Live 2023 consisted of more than 552 pre-arranged supplier meetings, 12 content sessions, three NetWalks, and more networking than you could imagine.

Events professionals from AEG Presents, LIV Golf, Engine No4, Boomtown, Royal Horticultural Society, BLAST, Vision Nine, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, NW Live, Method Events, Organise Chaos, Eye of the Storm Events, We Are The Fair, Owl Live, 20-20 Events Management, Judgeday, Pennine Events, Kilimanjaro Live, Culture Liverpool, JA Productions, and Pride in London attended the respected event, which facilitates pre-arranged one-on-one meetings between organisers and suppliers. It gives events professionals the chance to sit down with each other and discuss project and procurement requirements.

Simon Hough, head of commercial activities and hospitality at Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, organiser of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Event Buyers Live. The organisation and coordination were perfect, and the mix of people and organisations present in such quantity is second to none in the events world. I made some really useful connections with fellow event organisers, and I had some really productive meetings as well as informal chats that proved very helpful.”

Jess Plant, operations manager at Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), echoed Hough’s comments. She said: “Working in the events industry, it can often be difficult for people to understand what running events takes. Coming to Event Buyers Live and meeting event organisers from a real mix of events, it was so refreshing to hear so many of us are dealing with the same issues and learning from each other on what they are doing that’s working or not working. That paired with an extremely well-organised few days and meeting with lots of different suppliers that perhaps would not have met otherwise, I definitely think it was really beneficial and hope to return next year.”

Duncan Strain, director of Silent Noize Events, was just one of the many suppliers supporting the event. He said of his event experience: “It was our second consecutive year at EBL and again, we thought it was superb. The organisation was faultless and the quality of the buyers and meetings we had were fantastic. The atmosphere generated by the whole EBL team is what really makes this event stand out and brings out the best in everyone who attends. The entertainment was very good with guest speaker Martin Green a definite highlight.”

Chris Hampson, product success manager at Eventree and The TicketSellers, agreed. “This was the second year that I’ve attended Event Buyers Live, and I loved every minute of it,” he commented. “Neil Fagg and his team created a magnificent, relaxed, fun and collaborative atmosphere to talk with current and prospective clients. Hands down, I think it’s the best networking event out there to meet professionals in this industry. This year they knocked everything out of the park. Their organisation, entertainment, food, NetWalks, guests, incredible speakers (especially Martin Green), and support was simply exceptional!”

Fagg added: “This year has not been without its challenges; rising costs and extreme weather events have made life difficult for event professionals and there have been a series of common obstacles that people have had to navigate.

“Event Buyers Live 2023 provided a safe environment for our guests to have so many conversations about how they navigate those challenges and move forward. It’s because of our guests’ willingness to share their experiences, needs, and thoughts that have helped turn EBL into what it is. We have always said that it is the place to do business, the place to network, and the place to learn but it’s also the place to be inspired, the place to plan, and the place to listen.”

Jack Saward, founder of Saward Marketing and Events, concurred. He said: “I was recently asked if it was worth investing my time in EBL 2023, and without hesitation, I can confidently say that it was an incredibly valuable experience. I dedicated three days to this event, and what I gained far exceeded the time I put in. The event not only offers a conducive environment for meaningful interactions but also brings together the right people for constructive business engagements. What sets it apart is the perfect balance it strikes between being relaxed and professional, serious and fun. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that I highly recommend to anyone looking to make meaningful connections and explore valuable business opportunities. I encourage everyone to engage in conversations with the EBL team to discover how you too can benefit from being a part of it in the future. It’s an investment that pays off in ways you might not anticipate, making it an opportunity well worth seizing.”

Fagg concluded: “EBL was born out of a love for our industry so to hear that significant contracts have already been awarded and that people have had big chats about collaboration, it’s just brilliant news.

“Thank you to everyone that attended and supported our team, and who made it so special. From our speakers, our ambassadors, our sponsors and event partners, everyone played their part and delivered what is the best EBL yet. Roll on 2024!”

Images: Jonathan JT Taylor/Aniseed Photo

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