Our first international guest, Dan Bolton brings two words to mind: Genuine and Authentic. He shares how specific events have impacted him as well as help change culture! This episode shows how events are more than just gatherings but can be movements!
How did you get in the events world?
Pretty much by fluke, I was a circus performer. I wasn’t that good at it actually. We toured around the UK and Europe, I was a fire breather, stilt walker, a clown. Not the career path my parents had wanted me to do. They thought I’d be a lawyer, doctor, or police man, when I said I was going to run away with the circus they were disappointed. That’s how I got into it then it was the case of you need a real job. I started booking entertainment and managing, creating shows and performances, worked with agencies and started my own business 4 years ago.
You’ve worked on projects around the olympics.
I’ve done two. I was a performer in Athens for the closing ceremony, I was a dancer. Then for the London olympics I was supporting the choreography for the athletes parade. Every time you see the athletes with the flags, we do things like that as well.
It’s [the olympics] interesting because it’s dominated by two or three big companies always pitching for them. It depends on who is the favorite at the time. Can you imagine the politics and stressed involved? We worked with Jakata last year, the stress levels to put that show together were pretty intense.
It’s something I’m going to talk about in my session tomorrow (At ILEA Live) basically talking about how bigger events really do help drive and position countries. It’s basically a marketing machine so they showcase their country and use it as an opportunity to promote themselves and empower their population. It’s a pretty big deal. There’s often interventions or recommendations with presidents. Last year in Jakarta, we were working with the military and Vice President.
Events can really put you on the map.
Yes for good or bad reasons. They definitely put places, people, and country on the map for sure. It’s a form of soft power, thats why these countries bid for them, they want to project themselves as a great nation.
We are working on Expo 2020 at Dubai, a world fair that happens every 5 years in big cities. They bring together 195 nations taking part in this six month festival. They have over 60 events every day for 173 days. It’s huge, countries build pavilions and they are almost like mini embassies and they showcase innovation and technology. They are like a tour center to showcase countries. People travel from around the world. They are expecting 25 million people to attend. They are building infrastructure for that. They are building a whole city basically outside of Dubai to accommodate. Then they factor that into the legacy plans. This will become a destination once the event is finished. It’s an opportunity for people to come experience the Middle East and position itself as a center for live events and knowledge sharing, bringing people together. This is important for the way the world is. Nations use these experiences to really propel them into the future. It’s competitive. It can really help drive the future of the city or destination.
Great, tomorrow you are speaking, what are you speaking about?
I’m going to talk about my experience in Jakarta, some of the things we went through. It was a really humbling experience. We go there and kind of tell people what to do. They are bringing in the internationals and we got so absorbed into the culture, it was a beautiful experience. They are all volunteers, 4000 we had to choreograph. You have these school girls and they don’t see the big picture, it’s a four month journey, they don’t want to be there, they are forced there and it builds to this extremely proud moment of them being proud of their country. It’s empowering to see this.
What’s the most memorable event experience you have ever had?
I’m going to say a recent project, the special olympics.
Anything new for those starting out?
This industry is changing so fast. We need to be consistent, authentic, real it’s hard work. People think it’s really easy and simple, but it’s pretty stressful.
Twitter:The Meeting Minds