David Norris, director of space consultancy and space activation consultants Groundbreaking reveals the perils and pleasures of hosting Hang the DJ, the hottest ticket at MIPIM 2012.
Sometimes I do wonder if we have spawned a bit of a monster. For the last five years Ear to the Ground and its property and regeneration division, Groundbreaking, have hosted our annual Hang the DJ party, predominantly but not exclusively for the Manchester delegation. Five years in it's become the hottest ticket in Cannes – where everyone in the property industry wants to be when the sun goes down.
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This year's party at Club Sparkling in Cannes attracted over 700 delegates and their friends. As ever the theme was simple – leading figures from the property and regen industry pick their three favourite records and at some point during the evening play them to an ecstatic dancefloor.
This year's superstar DJs included Urban Splash's Nathan Cornish and Tom Bloxham, Argent's CEO David Partridge, and Matt Fairman from Assembly Studios as well as an unprecedented two sets from the Drivers Jonas team. The party went on until 5am.
In 2011 we were close to stopping doing Hang the DJ. The recession had hit hard and we weren't sure it was appropriate in that climate. But just a little research revealed that there were still a vast number of property people, architects, masterplanners etc who wanted to come. And with the launch of our groundbreaking service in 2011 we now really wanted to meet them with a new and exciting offer borne of ten years of live event experience.
Is it worth doing in these recession hit times? I suspect yes though sometimes the success of the party runs the risk of overshadowing the purpose of it. A straw poll on the door this year revealed that about 40% of people coming in knew who we were. That's a lot of follow up work after the event for our staff.
MIPIM remains a fantastic place to set out your stall and space consultancy is a unique offering that has yielded real financial rewards for our clients. Nonetheless the offer does take a bit of unwrapping and Hang the DJ gives us the chance to get on people's radar and talk to them about what they do. Only one year in we've got to work with The Olympic Park Legacy Company, Ask Developments, Argent on their huge 67 acre King's Cross development and the Co-Op.
Given that we are a specialist organisation with a niche offer we have decided that it's best that we hang the expense and Hang the DJ.
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