Today is a great day! Your boss has just put you in charge of producing and staging the annual company meeting. The venue contract has been signed and now it’s time to dig in and get to the execution. You’ve come up with a staging design that is a unique concept and matches the creative for the event perfectly. You have reached out to a staging vendor and the wheels have been set in motion. The rigging however—all the behind-the-scenes equipment responsible for supporting the sound system, video screens and lighting, is carried out by the venue’s in-house audiovisual (AV) company. Frequently, they own the exclusive rights to any rigging that will take place within the venue. 

As a meeting and event producer, you and your team understand the importance of the rigging – it is after all, the glue that holds many of the event components together and its successful execution is critical to the safety of your presenters, your team and the audience. Unless your Production or Staging company handles this for you, it is your responsibility to get the ball rolling and secure a quote.

This process is sometimes not an easy one. In lieu of a conversation to describe your plans and get your questions answered, many AV companies point you to an online form to fill out describing what you need. Depending on your knowledge of the science of rigging and local rules regarding staffing, it is not unusual to get a quote that is higher than anticipated or doesn’t include everything you need. 

Fast forward to setup day. Your hope is that the head rigger comes to the job informed and prepared. Unfortunately, sometimes the head rigger will instead come to the job having not been briefed on the setup or the needed equipment. This is the time to get the venue AV director involved to get the job details in order and pave a clear path for the setup that lies ahead.

Despite best efforts, this scenario plays out time and again for even the most experienced meeting and event production companies. The best way to plan – knowing the venue always dictates which AV company will lead the charge on rigging, is to follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Be sure to connect with whomever you will be working with onsite BEFORE setup day. Ask the Director to setup a prep call in advance so everyone can be on the same page before the clock is ticking and you have a schedule to adhere to. This simple step can set your team up for success when it comes to rigging.

  2. Hold the vendor accountable for a superior product. All equipment should arrive on event day in pristine condition and ready to be setup. They charge a premium price so you should demand a premium product.

  3. Keep the venue’s Convention Services Manager (CSM) involved every step of the way. The in-house AV provider is now an extension of the venue and it is important they are aware of any issues that could affect the client experience.

  4. The venue benefits financially for every service the in-house AV company provides so if your team or the client is unsatisfied with the service or the end product, it is okay to ask for a refund or a discount on behalf of your client.

The bottom line is the rigging experience – even under the most optimal circumstances, is often not the easiest piece of an event to navigate. Understanding possible challenges that may arise and addressing them in advance will go a long way toward ensuring minimal stress and ultimately, the overall success of the event.  

For more on event production, video production, interactive media and more, visit the Impact blog.