At the fifth edition of Backstage Pass in Kuala Lumpur, our community event for organisers, we looked into how unique spaces can be transformed and used as venue spaces for events. From the understated to the under-utilised, Adrian Yap, the founder of Urbanscapes, Malaysia’s most notable home-grown creative annual arts festival, has used many creative spaces that’s lent to the memorable experience festival goers take away across events.
Urbanscapes had its roots in being held in green fields but Adrian soon got tired of the cliche of holding festivals in fields. It being a Kuala Lumpur centric festival in promoting Malaysian talent, he decided it made perfect sense to have the festival held across iconic landmarks in Kuala Lumpur instead of a green field!
There’s since been a rooftop party atop a boutique hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping and entertainment district, art exhibits in the light rail transit stations that’s free for all to appreciate, and the finale at Medan Pasar, a scenic historic square in central Kuala Lumpur.
Image Credit: Urbanscapes 2016
What’s his secret sauce to scouting out unique spaces as event venues?
Adrian has a 5 point venue checklist you can follow in scouting out spaces and using them creatively for your events in your city.
- Cost: Can you afford the venue rental? Are there additional items you’ll need to provide to make the space viable (e.g. sound equipment), and how much would that cost?
- Legal: Would you require any permits to hold your event at this venue like a food or drinks permit? If so, how long would it take to get approval for those permits? You will need to factor it in to your timeline so you have all the legalities covered before event day.
- Safety: Take the initiative to check the safety of the space. When considering a unique space for a venue, it is your responsibility to ensure it’s a safe space for your attendees so they can have a good and smooth event experience. Go beyond doing what the law expects of you in ensuring safety.
- Audience: How many are you expecting for a particular event and can the space cater to it?
- Space as part of the narrative: Consider the history, stories and even past events held at the space! A venue is more than its physical attributes but its emotional attributes – how can a space add depth and weave into to the narrative of your event? For Urbanscapes, the team was purposeful in hosting events not in any and every space, but in spaces that lived and breathed stories of Kuala Lumpur that could add greater meaning to the event experience.
Tick off this checklist in considering unique spaces as event venues. Who knows which nook and cranny you could host your next event at that not only works to host attendees but inspire them.
Venues tend to be the most under-rated aspect of an event, yet if chosen right, it can add a lot more dimension to the ambience and experience at an event that makes it memorable for years to come.