Joining the Event Technology Awards 2018 judging panel is Craig Mathie, lead organiser at Bournemouth 7s Festival.
Craig Mathie is Managing Director of Bournemouth 7s Festival, the UK’s favourite sport and music festival. A qualified and experienced Project Manager, Craig leads the team responsible for all elements of the planning and delivery of this truly unique festival, which is fast approaching its 11th edition. Craig is a passionate events man and sports enthusiast who has gained a wide breadth of skills and expertise working on some of the UK’s most celebrated and reputable live events.
- How did your career lead you to your current job?
Fortunately, I always knew that I wanted to work in events and spent my time at University planning the first few years of my career. Therefore, after graduating, I naturally went to work in, and subsequently manage, a number of bars and clubs. After a couple of years, the urge to work in the events world took over and I took some junior events positions with Cancer Research UK, the Bobby Moore Fund and Camping F1.
Being based locally, I’d known about Bournemouth 7s Festival since it launched in 2008 and was delighted when the festival owner Roger Woodall offered me a job as their Events Manager in 2011. At the time, they were an extremely small team, however, the festival was rapidly gaining traction in the festival world and it’s been amazing to be part of the growth ever since. I am now working on my 8th festival and look after an amazing team of 7 who are constantly working tirelessly to build our reputation, profile and offering.
- What events have you been involved with recently?
Much to my friends’ surprise, planning for Bournemouth 7s Festival is a year round undertaking for our whole team. Our team takes on every aspect of organising the festival from finding and recruiting the sports teams to delivering our own marketing activity, managing the entire production and coordinating the health and safety operation. As MD, my favourite part of the job is working with a hugely talented and dynamic team who, in my opinion, constantly overachieve and drive the business forwards. It is a privilege to work with such an amazing bunch of people day to day.
- What type of event technology would you like to see improved or developed and why?
For me, the most challenging aspect of event technology is undoubtedly Internet supply. There are so many exciting and engaging pieces of technology which help to enhance events; over recent years we have introduced enhanced epos and card payment systems, ticket scanners, public Wi-Fi, VOIP phone systems and an amazing CCTV network but all of these rely, in some fashion or another on the internet supply.
The quality of the permanent infrastructure near to our festival is so poor that we have had to implement a temporary wireless supply, which, whilst expertly organised by our supplier, adds another element of challenge into the event. An improved permanent internet connection would open even more doors for us moving forwards.
- Is there a particular piece of event technology that has impressed or inspired you?
Over the past couple of years, three elements of event technology have really impressed me and changed the way in which we deliver our event. In 2017 we shifted our ticketing operation to Eventbrite and have been blown away by the results, which include increased online ticket sales but also so much functionality and immediate reporting which are the perfect tools for a dynamic event management team.
Last year, we also worked with a locally based firm County Epos, to introduce a comprehensive till and epos system across the event site. A state of the art back office system has given us fantastic visibility of sales to understand trends, sales locations and enhance our offering for the 2018 festival. All of this is underpinned by an amazing onsite network which is delivered by Logi-Call who work tirelessly to coordinate all of the technology at the event.
- What technology do you think is overhyped?
Being completely honest, I am yet to be convinced by event project management software. There has been a significant growth in the number of platforms available in the market but I’m yet to find something which outperforms my combination of online spreadsheets, file sharing and a hard copy! The events world is so dynamic and each show is so different that finding a solution which perfectly fits each event really is challenging, particularly given that all of the offerings I’ve come across are fairly pricey.
- What professional experiences can you draw on to judge the Event Technology Awards?
In my 10 years in the events industry, and alongside my time at Bournemouth 7s Festival, I’ve worked on some of the UK’s best-known events including Ride London, the British Grand Prix and London Marathon whilst also delivering a whole range of events for a charitable organisation set up in memory of one of my best friends. Through these roles I’ve been fortunate to be involved in conceptualising, planning, project managing, reviewing, marketing and delivering events from the project planner right down to the last cable tie.
Being completely honest, I don’t approach technology from a technical point of view. I’d struggle to tell you exactly what an SSID or VLAN is but I think I understand how technology improves an event whether it be a Fun Run along Bournemouth beach for 300 people or a show which welcomes 400 teams and 30,000 fancydress clad festival-goers.
- What are you most looking forward to as an Event Technology Awards judge?
One of the most exciting things about events is innovation; it’s inherent in what makes the industry engaging and truly exhilarating. As a judge in the Event Technology Awards, it will be extremely rewarding to acknowledge those people who are best pushing the events world forward using show-stopping technology!
- Name one app you cannot live without and why?
There are probably 3 or 4 apps which I would struggle to do my job without but the one which jumps to mind is the Eventbrite Organiser App. It’s amazing to have real-time data on your audience and the trends which define them, I’m really not sure how we coped before it!
Entries are open now until May 31, the ETA salutes the achievements of companies designing and delivering solutions across the gamut of live events, from festivals to exhibitions, brand activations to conferences. CLICK HERE for the categories and register to enter.
The awards ceremony returns to Troxy on November 7, between the two days of Event Tech Live 2018.