The Grass is in Event Management

| Date: 01/04/2020, 09:00 AM |

While I was reading an article on Vnexpress in football column titled Neville: ‘Ronaldo moaned the grass was too long”, it was immediately brought back to me, a memory (also subsequently an experience for us in event management) during service provision for an important event of a world-renowned IT company through a foreign event agency.


According to this article, former coach of Valencia – Gary Neville – revealed that he reformed the pitch to hinder Cristiano Ronaldo in a match in La Liga. Staff of Mestalla stadium turned the pitch into a farmer’s field to host Ronaldo and his teammates. They deliberately left the grass grew long and did not water it. This would hinder the ball movement as well as Ronaldo’s or Gareth Bale’s speed. Before the match, Ronaldo came and said to Gary Neville: "it’s a disgrace, cut the pitch”. Gary replied: "no chance”. The match occurred on 3/1/2016, and the result was 2-2. So how this long-grass-story has possibly something to do with our memory (experience) in event management career?


If my memory served me well, the event took place on several days at the end of November 2013 with major activities such as conference in 5-star hotel, gala dinner at Binh Quoi Village grass-field. So, the grass was related to the gala dinner. In this gala dinner, we were tasked to provide stage production, lighting and sound, full-scale decoration etc. My partner and I were assigned to supervise preparation and setup. Upon setup completion, we went to carefully recheck all the items: stage, sound and lighting, banner and backdrop, torches (bamboo-made with oil), the entrance path from the pier (guests would enter off a cruise-ship from Bach Dang), even pier lighting etc. In short, we diligently and thoroughly checked every item to guarantee aesthetics, safety etc. per approved design and commitment to our client.


When everything was done, while we were happy because it was on schedule with good quality, our client (including agent of foreign event management, main client) came to check it. We accompanied them to carefully go through from top to bottom, from stage area, welcome area, sitting area etc. to safety level of the whole event (electricity for equipment and flame of the torches) because this was an outdoor event. Client were much satisfied with our preparation for this event.


Then we proceeded to the pier where the cruise-ship would enter. We explained them the process of our support for guests to enter when the ship came, how we set up lighting to make sure the entrance was more visible. Everything seemed perfectly done, until we and clients went to the middle part on the way from the pier to the event space. They stopped and pointed at cotton weed and said: "should cut them short”. I saw around 5-7 units of high cotton weed with thick leaves grew underwater, those thick leaves pointed toward the pier around 10cm. So, I asked: "kindly explain why we should cut them?”. A female client replied: "There are women in our event, they could wear dresses. Those sharp tips and thick leaves can cut their feet”.


Later, we returned to the grass field of the event for one final check before guests arrived. After sometimes of checking, a female client told me: "The grass is quite high and not at the same height. You should cut the high one and trim them into same height”. Again, we looked at the field and saw there were clutters of high grass(2-3cm) but it was not necessary to cut them. We, again, asked for their advice: "why should we cut them, it doesn’t look like they may pose impact to safety?” The female client pointed at the long grass and explained: "To female guests, they usually wear high-heels in pair with dresses and gowns. So, their heels can easily get stuck in long grass and subsequently they will trip over”.


Have to admit that even we are careful and experienced in even management both indoor and outdoor for domestic and foreign clients, this was the first time we saw the way our client paying attention carefully to the smallest details for the safety of their guests. In this case, they had to think about costumes and accessories of their guests. Then, they observed, calculated, and foresaw possibilities could cause harms to guests and overcome them in the first place. With their precious and thoughtful advice, I proceeded to ask Binh Quoi Village’s staff to cut the itch grass and weed per client’s request.


To some, this may be deemed as over-selective or hard-to-please to an event management company. But to us, they are an event management company with great view and dedication, because they gave priority to their guests’ safety. We think this is totally true because no matter how big and grandeur the event is, failing to preserve safety of attendees renders that event a failure.


YesEvents is the reliable event management company in Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc.