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Take a look behind the scenes and read some expert advice
Creating memorable VIP moments

Creating memorable VIP moments

It’s not every day that you get to host the equivalent of a rockstar on campus but, on 19 March, the University did just that.

A world-renowned yogi, spiritual leader, and climate change campaigner, Sadhguru has been inspiring billions of people across the globe for over 30 years. Even Oprah Winfrey is a fan, citing Sadhguru as her motivational guru in life. So, when the University was asked to host the very first events in Sadhguru’s UK tour to raise awareness of his Save Soil campaign, everyone jumped at the chance.

Sadhguru presents a 'Save Soil' message with Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham

Sadhguru’s visit to Birmingham kicked off with a sold-out public event in the Great Hall, followed by a private event for the Birmingham business community in the Bramall. Hosted by the University of Birmingham’s India Institute, the sessions saw Sadhguru in conversation with Lord Karan Bilimoria, the University’s Chancellor, to discuss Conscious Planet and Sadhguru’s global movement to restore the world’s soil for a better, healthier future for us all.

With hundreds of people in attendance, including representatives from the Indian High Commission and the Consul General of India, our event delivery team were called in to offer their support to ensure Sadhguru’s time at the University was a success from start to finish.

Sadhguru leaves the stage

Delivering excellence

Looking after a VIP is no small feat, especially when you only have 3 weeks’ notice to pull everything off. There’s plenty of prep to do to ensure that everything is ready for their arrival, along with a long list of logistics to sort. Happily, our event delivery experts were on hand to assist the India Institute every step of the way.

With such an eminent figure in attendance, the most important thing of all was keeping the event secure. To achieve this, the team worked closely with campus security and West Midlands police to ensure security on the day was watertight and that Sadhguru’s wellbeing was prioritised at all times.

To this end, the team were also responsible for accommodating the mystic’s special dietary requirements to make him feel truly welcome. In collaboration with the India Institute and our in-house food and drink team, Food Fellows, the team designed a bespoke vegetarian menu for the occasion, complete with Sadhguru’s choice of plant-based drinks.

But it wasn’t just Sadhguru that needed to be catered for; there was also an army of volunteers who had given up their time to assist the mystic on his tour of the UK. These were all looked after by the team who arranged spaces for them to enjoy a well-earned break, as well as their food and drink.

Sadhguru walks amongst guests, and gestures with his hands clasped in thanks

Setting the scene

When it comes to hosting one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders, not any old venue will do. Luckily, we have two very special venues on campus, the Great Hall and the Bramall, which are both Venues of Excellence and have hosted hundreds of prestigious events over the years.

Sadhguru and Lord Karan Bilimoria in discussion on stage

With some of the best facilities in the West Midlands, and brimming with history and character, these two inspiring spaces were the obvious choices for such high-profile events. The Great Hall brought appropriate grandeur while the Bramall offered the perfect backdrop to a more intimate experience where attendees could connect and get up close and personal with the yogi.

Sadhguru reaches down to delighted audience member

It takes more than just a venue to set the stage for a successful event though.

Our AV experts set the right tone with perfectly tuned acoustics, LED walls, projections and more. They also helped to bring the event to life for the 26,000 people who tuned in to watch the first event online by managing the flow of the live stream and ensuring technical hiccups didn’t steal the show.

Sadhguru and Lord Karan Bilimoria in discussion on stage, with large projector screen overhead

Ready to be inspired?

You can watch Sadhguru in conversation with Lord Bilimoria, recorded in our beautiful Great Hall, via Youtube.

Photography credit to Nicola Gotts

Ryan Adams-McGlasson

Ryan Adams-McGlasson

View all posts by Ryan Adams-McGlasson

Ryan is our Account Manager - the main point of contact for any external organisations, who might be looking for a conference, event or meeting space at the University of Birmingham.

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