Feastival brings a taste of what’s to come
We still have eight months to go until we open the new International Convention Centre Wales but it’s fair to say we’ve already held our first proper event there… and it may take some beating as the most challenging we will ever stage!
Earlier this month, we began the real countdown to launch with a Feastival in the Foundations right in the main hall of the new centre - as construction continued around the 250 guests assembled to see the spectacular new venue take stage.
We invited high-profile , industry figures, potential clients and local stakeholders to come and see exactly what we have become so excited about over the last 18 months since construction began.
With a sensory sales suite overlooking the construction site from Celtic Manor, we have always tried to give an immersive taste of what’s in store when we open this amazing place next year. This Feastival event took that to another level.
In a special cordoned zone comprising roughly one third of what will be the vast 4,000 sq m main exhibition hall, our ICC Wales events team brought the concrete foundations to life by installing a circus marquee, bars, a Prosecco van and street food stalls.
The roof is already in place above the main hall so guests were protected from the elements, but the still open sides afforded views through the steel framework of what will be the outdoor plaza approach. Entrance to the event was also made just as it will be to ICC Wales through the central atrium linking the main hall to the 1,500-seat auditorium and other meeting rooms.
Among those taking hard hat tours to see these other sections of the venue was First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and it was great to see his enthusiasm for the venue, with Welsh Government being such an important joint venture partner on the project.
ICC Wales will stage some magnificent shows so it was fitting the day took as its theme the film, The Greatest Showman. There were some mesmerising circus performances to watch including dancing stilt walkers and aerial acrobats hanging from silks attached to the still-exposed steel girders of the main hall.
A stage was also installed for the event and featured live music from The Apple Tree Theory before a really rousing finale from the award-winning Welsh youth choir, Only Boys Aloud.
It was an unusual and challenging event to put on but Feastival in the Foundations gave us, and more importantly our potential clients for ICC Wales and other industry influencers, a taste of what we will be able to achieve at the convention centre. It is hard to visualise the scale of that main hall until you are inside it and what we were able to lay on in a small part of it was truly impressive.
The Feastival brought to life all I had been talking about the previous day at The Business of Events Wales, a senior leadership forum for the Welsh business events community held at Celtic Manor. Top of the agenda was the impact ICC Wales is going to have on this landscape and it was very beneficial to hear from experts in the field from all over the UK and Europe, telling us how we can maximise the opportunity presented by this “once in a lifetime” development.
It was also very encouraging to see our partners and stakeholders in Wales so enthused by the sessions and it is vital everyone in the community continues to grasp the benefits that ICC Wales will bring. We must work as a team to make Wales the best destination it can be for attracting business events.
If you missed Feastival in the Foundations, you can get a taste of it by watching the video below or come and see the venue for yourself on one of our ongoing hard hat tours for interested parties. For more information please visit the website.