Once upon a series of time consuming rider requests
Anyone working in the entertainment or events world will be familiar with the term ‘rider’. A list of obscure and inevitably random demands that absolutely must be delivered against before the artist in question will set foot in a venue!
For the most part said demands include nothing beyond a bowl of blue-only gummy bears, or a fridge filled with pre-frothed banana milkshake cooled to a temperature of no more, or less, than 3.72 degrees Celsius; whereas other requests can be, let’s say, all consuming!
Now, for most of you industry veterans out there that is just part and parcel of the job, right? We love it, we thrive on it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! But whilst your attention is well and truly focused elsewhere how do you go about keeping all of the very many plates spinning?
Bear with us as we embark on this cautionary tale set in early 2015:
The weather was unseasonably mild, Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk was topping the charts, the phrase ‘Duck Face’ had recently been added to the Oxford Dictionary and in an undisclosed location not too far from here the great and the good of the country’s Celeborati were readying themselves for a (fictional) awards ceremony honouring their contributions to British culture.
Think reality TV, selfies and mid-morning talk shows.
For weeks in advance, the team behind the event had been fielding elaborate rider requests aplenty - from bottled water made from the tears of unicorns through to croquet kits made from real flamingos (no animals were hurt in the writing of this article).
And, whilst they were well versed in dealing with the expectations of the perfectly tanned masses, as the big night approached many of the long suffering staff found themselves pining for the peace and quiet that would come from quitting the industry and starting up a petting zoo for wayward dragons. Not to mention that they were running out of time!
At this point the decision to delegate was made and meeting the event’s furnishing and flooring needs was outsourced to a neighbouring kingdom known across the land as Furniture Hiredronomous.
Now, with the age old question of what one’s guests would sit on firmly in hand, a hive of activity ensued as the put-upon-but-loyal backstage team dedicated their attention to the ever growing rider list (as well as removing peas from under mattresses, potentially deadly apples from fruit baskets and gleaning spinning wheels from dressing rooms).
Whistling a merry tune the staff were confident that all of their hard work would pay off when suddenly, out of the blue, came a bolt of lightning and a thunderous roar. Darkness descended and in shuffled Sir Let-You-Down.
The tables would be late, the carpet would be yellow instead of red and there weren’t enough chairs for everyone to sit on, he updated, before leaving in a puff of smoke.
Without a moment to spare the bright bunch put quill to parchment: ‘Dear Europa Smurfs,” it read. “We are in need of help!”
The crew wrote at speed; time was of the essence.
The letter continued: “In only a couple of days the nation’s reality TV sweethearts will arrive expecting a super cool event boasting chill out zones and a cornered-off VIP area and we have neither. What to do?”
Delivered on horseback to Europa International HQ the Smurfs of the Round, sometimes rectangular, Table wasted no time in leaping into action with MD Steve Murphy – aka Papa Smurf – leading from the front.
“Bring me glass cabinets for the crowns,” he bellowed. “A selfie-stick-check-in desk and 500 linking conference chairs fit for a Queen of the Jungle!”
The list went on and the crew rallied round; ticking lounge seating, bar tables, carpet strips and banners off as they went. Before long the event treasure had been loaded onto the Smurfmobile, and delivered and installed at the venue; all in time for the arrival of the guests.
Amidst cheers of #YOLO the event went off without a hitch and the exhausted coordinators were left to fall into a much needed deep, deep sleep.
And as the staff slumbered, and the twitter talk of #HireHappy started to subside, a team of well-equipped, professional experts quietly dismantled and removed the furniture leaving behind just one reminder that they had been there at all – a little green business card that read: “Whatever your furniture hire needs, whenever and wherever you need it! Love the Europa International Team.”