Applause had worked with The Big Group on many amazing events in the past, and we know that they're a big close-knit family who are also highly regarded in the events industry. So when we were asked to help with a big birthday surprise for co-founder Bruce Keebaugh, we were honoured to have been asked, and absolutely rejoiced at the opportunity.
The initial brief was exciting and filled with great concepts. The original idea was a big street parade with a 100-strong marching band, making lots and lots of noise. We were told, “He does so much for us, we want to give something back.”
We knew from those words that the over-the-top ideas were coming from a place of love. We wanted to make sure that that sentiment was carried across, but also effectively and realistically. We wanted to help the client elevate their idea to a whole new level. We also wanted to keep the soul and spirit of the initial concept, so, our creative minds went into overdrive.
Immediately, we knew that while a 100 member marching band would be very awe-inspiring, a smaller group can also achieve the same effect, as long as they were highly skilled and well presented.
Enhancing and upgrading an event isn't just about cramming in as many entertainment options as possible, but to most creatively reflect the spirit and purpose of the event. So our ideas were made with careful consideration and curation of these goals and points.
We suggested a trimmer 15-piece marching band, complete with all the brass, drums, and matching uniform. But on top of that, we also added a troupe of cheerleaders with uniforms designed and colour coordinated for maximum effect, two stilt walkers, and an 8-foot tall unicycle.
For this particular event, we took on a couple of considerations:
Firstly, the parade was going to take place outdoors, under the beautiful Melbourne sky, nestled amongst the cosy streets of Richmond, so we wanted to take advantage of this unique event space, while working within its restrictions. An overly big marching parade will be hindered by the narrow horizontal space, but not take advantage of vertical space. The stilts and unicycle added the height and varying levels to the parade procession, giving it a bigger silhouette than it was.
Fun fact: We had a backup venue (a warehouse) on standby in case Melbourne decided to, literally, rain on the parade! Thankfully it didn't - but we were ready.
Secondly, the parade will continuously be moving through different streets, headed by a loud and brazen marching band. To match the incredible noise at the start of the parade, the tail has to also be full of life. The cheerleaders gave the procession fluidity and movement, capped off by the visual spectacular of stilt walkers in amazing flashy costumes, and a waiter unicyclist, dressed in The Big Group’s uniform. This helped tie in the entertainment to the topic of the event, but also gave the parade attendees a little bit of amusement and fun.
Have a watch of the video of the parade to see the concepts in action. We’re quite pleased with how our suggestions came to life, and of course you could feel the love for Bruce flowing through it all.
Added Bonus: we were also asked about a giant novelty cake that someone can hide in and jump out of. It was with immense pride that we said, "of course! We have just the cake." You can see how happy Bruce was in the 2nd video below.
A word from Bruce himself:
"Thank you to Applause providing for the stilts, girls and the marching band which had been a bucket list item for me and is now well ticked!"
Above Video by Moon & Back
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