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Creating a corporate festival of epic proportions at Tobacco Dock

Creating a corporate festival of epic proportions at Tobacco Dock

When previous iterations of the international roadshow of events you’re helping deliver have been branded ‘the Glastonbury for accountants’ you know that you’ve got some pretty big expectations to live up to.  

Xerocon is heralded as an ‘unmissable event’ for cloud accounting leaders and bookkeepers from across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.   The conference is held in three global locations each year to showcase new products, share knowledge about the platform and the latest trends in the industry, and bring together Xero users, partners and team members.  But it’s no normal conference.  And it’s certainly not a typical convention of number crunchers.  Xerocon has earned its reputation as ‘the Glastonbury for accountants’ by combining high quality content with a party atmosphere to create a corporate event like no other.

With the last in-person event taking place in 2019, Xerocon 2022 was even more eagerly anticipated than in previous years – and the first show in London would set the tone for the New Orleans and Sydney conferences that followed.  Xerocon London 2022 was designed to bring the Xero community together in an environment that fostered positivity, shareability and good vibes – and to live up to the Xerocon reputation.  Live brand storytelling agency INVNT chose Tobacco Dock as the venue and Anna Valley as their audio-visual partners to help deliver on that promise.

The Xerocon experience

Xerocon London 2022 took over both levels of Tobacco Dock and the entire 16000 square meters of space that the venue has to offer.  The Great Gallery served as keynote theatre with speakers including chief Product Officer Anna Curzon, Dragon’s Den dragon Deborah Meadon and champion footballer, Fara Williams with additional ‘watch party’ rooms providing access to this content across the venue.  A range of activation areas – including a pop-up barber shop and nail salon, a social photo booth, an outdoor café and hotdog stand – provided the opportunity for visitors to enjoy shared experiences while being entertained by impromptu jazz performances.  At the centre of it all were the Xero stages, where new and upcoming products were introduced and demonstrated, complemented by 60+ partner exhibition stands.

Go big or go home

Every part of this two-day event was designed to deliver impact and the audio visual and scenic elements provided by Anna Valley were no exception.  On arrival at Tobacco Dock, attendees were greeted by a massive welcome wall in the quayside courtyard – measuring 12m x 4m, the magnificent structure featured CNC-cut Xerocon branding on both sides and required a whopping 4 tonnes of ballast to secure in place.  Inside, the emphasis on scale continued in the Great Gallery with a 30m-long keynote stage, a 90 square-meter videowall backdrop constructed from over 800 ROE LED panels, and over 120 intelligent light fixtures – the most extensive lighting system ever implemented in the space.  Live content was created and delivered to the keynote display, three

smaller breakout rooms and Xero’s website via a combination of four manned cameras, an extensive system of video switchers, control systems and media servers, and a fibre network installed specifically for the event.   Downstairs, Anna Valley provided power distribution and order management for 30 exhibitors and partner spaces, with each exhibitor able to independently manage their booking through Anna Valley’s portal.  In addition, power, lighting and background music across the activation zones was facilitated by the Anna Valley team, who also created visual features like an impressive pixel-mapped lighting chandelier consisting of over 140 SGM lighting tubes installed on a circular hanging truss.

Putting an event of this scale and complexity together required a large team and approximately 70 crew were on site for most of the three setup days and for the event on the 20th and 21st of July 2022.  But perhaps the most impressive technical element of the event was the comms system that connected every team member in every part of the venue throughout the setup, show days and derig.  The Bolero comms system from Riedel allows duplex communication and provides the ability to programme channels which can be assigned to different team members and talk groups – making it much easier to manage communication across large teams and dispersed locations.  Implemented by Anna Valley at INVNT’s request and with the assistance of Max Wifi, the comms system put in place for Xerocon London 2022 at Tobacco Dock may be the largest freestanding wireless comms system in the UK.

The results

Despite taking place during a record-breaking heatwave, Xerocon London 2022 was a sold-out event attracting over 2000 attendees.  It had a reach of 1.8m on Instagram, and 1.3m on Twitter after day one, with the top emojis used being Joy and Love.  After working with Anna Valley for the first time at this event, the INVNT team have since collaborated with the AV company on additional projects including the Samsung Unpacked Experience in London. APAC managing director Laura Roberts sums the experience up simply by describing the Anna Valley team as being ‘incredible to work with.’