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13 February, 2024

WHEN SH*P HITS THE FAN – TALES FROM IT’S THE SHIP

 

What does being a part of 500+ events & gigs teach you?

Nothing. Ever. Goes. As. Per. Plan.

You can map out every aspect of the show (as you should), but once the crowd starts rolling in, you’ve got to be on your feet & react to unexpected changes every minute.

If you’ve ever been backstage, you’ll know how it’s always on fire.

You’ve probably seen the dozens of crew members frantically running around, trying to keep things together for all the fans who’ve traveled far & wide to enjoy the experience.

Here’s one such story from Livescape Group archives – a challenge that rocked our boat to the core and ended up making it stronger.

With our It’s The Ship cruise making a grand comeback in Singapore in March 2023, I believe it’s the perfect time to tell this story.

And I’m glad I’m able to share it with a sense of relief (and immense pride) because I know we’ve learned a lot from those storms, and came out on the other side much stronger.

So here goes…

 

Going Back in Time

This was way back in 2016, one of our first “peaks” as a Group.

“It’s The Ship” was still one of our biggest IPs, and we sold out all the seats for that chapter.

Our Shipmates were expecting an unforgettable experience, and we were banking on a killer lineup to deliver it – with names like Dada Life, Knife Party, Far East Movement and Captain David Hasselhoff ready to excite and deliver an experience like no other!

We had some valuable experience from the past two chapters of our sailing, so we thought we knew what to expect and prepare for. Everything was going smoothly – the shipmates were having a blast, production & setup were on point, our VIP & hospitality services were on track, and our sponsors were happy to see an amazing turnout.

I remember standing at the mass & looking over the crowd of shipmates with a sense of relief, my walkie silent occasionally buzzing with members calling each other to report on deck.

I patted fellow members of the team on the back & managed to catch a breath with partners Edwin and Darren, congratulating each other on seeing our vision come to life – a once-in-a-lifetime experience we had dreamed of sharing with our community.

 

When Things went South

At the turn of an hour, the weather went from a mildly breezy evening to a batshit thunderstorm in the dark of the night.

The surging waves, coupled with heavy downpour from atop, waterlogged the roof.

Down below, 3800 partygoers waited in anticipation for Far East Moment to come through.

We had looked at the forecasts & prepared for rain showers, but nobody would’ve anticipated a storm of this magnitude.

In unexpected situations like this, we huddled together as a team to regroup, calm down the nerves, and lay out a single direction to work towards.

We had to make hard calls, and we depended on each other to make it happen without needing our oversight at every step.

Trust is key.

The immediate priority is everyone’s safety comes first at all times, so we made a drastic shift to move the venue, essentially turning an ice skating rink at the belly of the ship into a makeshift stage.

In a span of 30 minutes, we moved people, production, VIP tables, and the whole setup.

Which we did – and I dare say, it ended up being much better than expected. The party went on. With a few cuts & bruises, we made it through the worst of the weather.

The show must go on, and it did.

 

What We Learned

When you’re forced to make compromises, it can feel disheartening to abandon all the efforts you put into making the original plan happen.

But one skill we’ve picked up in my time is learning to accept “sunk costs” & move on (which I think is an apt term for the theme of this story).

Sometimes, you face issues that you can never fully resolve, so being paralysed or stuck only worsens the problems.

You need to take a deep breath, balance yourself, and just move on & act on the next step. That decision could be the wrong one at the time, but you need to be flexible & calm – these are must-haves for survival.

Second, we couldn’t have pulled it off without trusting ourselves in each other to act fast and effectively.

We remained transparent and communicated the big decisions as soon as we could, and then trusted every member to play their parts independently.

At the climax of an event, when all the odds are stacked against you, the only thing that makes or breaks the team is sheer blind trust.

And only when you’ve developed a culture of accountability will everyone shine through.

This was one of the proudest “wall of fame” memories we have of working together as a team and getting things done efficiently.

It’s a go-to story to motivate my team whenever we’re days away from big events, and we know that something is probably going to go wrong – it’s inevitable.

To all passionate people in the live events, entertainment, and creator industries, the biggest piece of advice would be to keep a positive outlook.

Letting your inner negative voice prevail only harbours anxiety & mental paralysis, distracting you from taking any concrete action.

Take a stand.

Stick to it.

And give your team the freedom & authority to make crucial decisions on their fronts – you can’t be everywhere on a 1000-feet cruise!

With our next chapter months away, I’m excited to dive into the zone headfirst.

Because thunderstorm or not, know that the crew at Livescape Group can rule the seas like no one else.

Check out when we’re sailing + how you can join the waitlist here.

 

Always with Gratitude,

Iqbal Ameer

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Busan - Nagasaki - Busan | 23 - 26 May 2024