September 22, 2016
The great and the good turn out in force every year for the Square Meal Venues and Events Live exhibition and 2016 is no different with hundreds of exhibitors spaced out across four floors of Old Billingsgate, which we think is worth recommending as a venue for your next event; “if it’s good enough for event professionals…” But what is it actually like? Read on to find out!
Upon arrival, everything is wonderfully high-tech! Your barcode is scanned if you pre-registered or you can nab a name tag if you’re not the most organised individual. After this you are given a book of tokens and a map and sent on your merry way, descending down some stairs into the abyss. Okay, it’s not really an abyss but Square Meal are making full use of the venue with the basement or crypt (depending on what you’d like to call it) the first glimpse you get of the host of exhibitors on display.
We must admit that we aren’t too sure about which companies exhibit down here (the higher floors are a lot clearer), but receiving our bag filled with freebies, we were delighted to see old friends amongst unfamiliar faces, who would undoubtedly be worth chatting to! After all, what is the point of attending if one doesn’t get lots of email address and information from those who are on display? The beauty of Square Meal is that at a lot of the stands, all you need to transfer your information is a scan of your barcode. Zap! Within a week or two you’ll then get an email from that company. Clever stuff and no need to bring business cards! On this floor we were delighted to chat to Rob from YR about their printing services and Charlie and Jake from Lick Me, I’m Delicious who are always great fun and provide tasty treats including the Edible Mist Orbs. Incidentally, if you signed up for a free breakfast or lunch, this is the area where you claim your complimentary meal!
Heading back up the stairs, you emerge into the light and are able to tweet your first few photos of the event under the hashtag #VE16 as your phone signal returns. You are now in the venues space and it’s fair to say that just like last year, there are numerous venues to walk around. The British Museum is offering punch, Stamford Bridge is proffering pastries and the Harry Potter Studio Tour is in attendance with a green screen where you can pose as though you are a wanted magician bound for Azkaban when caught! Many venues that we provide entertainment to are here including QEII Centre and Twickenham (to name but two) and there were many more who we spoke to, hearing about the various events spaces they provide.
Moving on up the stairs, you meet a few more suppliers in the form of catering, florists and yes, the entertainment! We were particularly taken by the flower dog created by Ricky Paul Flowers on this level and urge you to seek out their stand for more information. They even had a walrus on view as you enter #VE16 (see, we’re using the hashtag!), which again is well worth a look. Amazingly, you still haven’t reached the top of Old Billingsgate and if you go up one more flight then you’re in the right place for the workshops and seminars, with the calendar of the day’s events displayed on a board. Oh and don’t forget to win your free gift in the Luxey Dip!
All in all, we had another great time at #VE16 this year and highly recommend a visit! It’s great for making new connections and perfect for reaffirming old ones. So what are you waiting for? The last day is today so pop along now!
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