#EventProf of the week: Dodge Woodall, Bournemouth 7s Festival

Listen to this article

Each week we will focus on a StandOut individual who has been extraordinary within the events industry. This week it is Dodge Woodall, CEO and Founder of the Bournemouth 7s Festival and the Eventful Lives podcast.

How did you get into the events industry? Where has your career taken you and what roles have you enjoyed?

As a kid, I was selling tickets to the nightclub next door from my Mum and Dad’s London pub, but my proper intro into the wider industry was during my final year at Loughborough Sports University when I had two student nightclubs every week. We scaled the business to 12 nightclubs every week across the country. After putting on 1,500 student nights over a 10 year period, I eventually wanted to switch things up, and that’s where the Bournemouth 7s Festival was born. I took the lessons I learned from the nightclub industry and applied them to putting on an event in a field. I was mostly winging it back then because there’s a big difference between putting on parties in established nightclubs and suddenly having to think about power, police, and portaloos.

What is it about your job that you love doing?

The magic of bringing people together, creating unforgettable experiences, and seeing that spark in their eyes—that’s what keeps me hooked. There’s a unique satisfaction in witnessing months of planning and hard work culminating in memories that people will look back on for the rest of their lives. Good memories, I hope!

What’s been the standout moment of your career so far?

It’s tough to pick just one, but if I had to choose, it would be the first time I opened the gates to the Bournemouth 7s Festival and saw my vision come to life. That feeling of sheer pride and disbelief is something I’ll always remember. I had everything riding on the event, and back then there was no way of knowing if people were going to turn up. In a single moment, it went from peak stress to pure relief. I was so happy I wasn’t going to have to break the news to my wife that we were losing the house.

What’s been your biggest achievement? Equally, what have you done that you can now look back on and cringe?

Building five successful businesses from the ground up has been my biggest achievement. It’s a testament to grit, determination, and the great team I’ve built over the years. As for cringeworthy moments, there have been a few, but one of the biggies is when I was sent cease and desist letters from Warner Brothers taking inspiration from the Superman logo for my own Bournemouth 7s Festival logo. I like to push the envelope with these things sometimes, but I never expected to be chased down by a Hollywood studio!

What key pieces of advice would you give to someone starting in events?

Firstly, in business, a ‘no’ isn’t forever. Don’t take that ‘no’ as a roadblock. Find new routes, and take a different approach, but whatever you do, don’t see a ‘no’ as the end of your journey. Second, surround yourself with a killer team who share your passion and can keep up with your crazy ideas. And thirdly, never stop learning and evolving. This industry moves fast, and if you’re not willing to adapt, you’ll get left in the dust.

Oh, and lastly, don’t use the Superman logo to promote your new event.

What career goals do you have and where do you see yourself heading? For example, is there an event that you would love to work on but haven’t?

Part of my current mission is to cultivate the next generation of event professionals. The industry has taken a battering in recent years and could put people off stepping into this world. I wanted to showcase the benefits of the industry and package up tools to help people hit the ground running. And that’s where Event Crowd came to life, an online Events course I founded. I want to open the doors for anyone who wants to join the most exciting industry in the world.

If you would like to nominate someone for #EventProf of the week, please email marketing@standoutmagazine.co.uk