Symphotech Event Production and Artist Liaison

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers contracted Symphotech to produce the ‘thank you’ party for 5,000 volunteers in Digbeth, Birmingham, Aug 10th, 2022.

This final event organised by the Commonwealth Games, was a late addition to the schedule, giving Symphotech’s Managing Director, Will Hodgson being strategic project lead, alongside Head of Production, Simon Barrington, just five-weeks’ notice to create an occasion in keeping with the high standards throughout the Games.  

The free-to-attend event ran from 3pm to 11pm, featuring a range of entertainment including bands, DJ’s, circus entertainers for over 5,000 Commonwealth Collective volunteers, with tokens for a fantastic range of street food and drinks. The event incorporated two outdoor areas, four indoor venues, with surrounding road closures creating a self-contained site.

Andy Newman, Director of Workforce and Volunteering for Birmingham 2022 explained:

“The Commonwealth Games has been the biggest thing to come to the West Midlands, with 14,000 volunteers playing a pivotal role in their success. Planning only began five weeks ago, once we had the ‘buy-in’ of the organising committee. We engaged with the venue Luna Springs and Symphotech, and set to work out how we could pull this off. Symphotech has been a brilliant turnkey supplier to bring this together with diligence, professionalism, and an overarching ‘can do’ approach.

“We’ve brought five venues together to create a singular venue, centred around an outdoor entertainment area and a food court, with the help of Digbeth Dining Club providing the food. This location encapsulates the diversity, the local passion and pride that has shone throughout the games and the volunteers have been the difference between us having a good and a ‘great’ Games, so it was great to give one big, final thank you, in a celebratory, fun way.”

Symphotech and sister company Acoustech had worked with Luna Springs and The Mill in the preceding years, bringing valuable experience and local knowledge. Will and Simon worked with Andy’s team, John Lear, Luna Springs manager, and Sara Bremner from Oval who act as landlords to most of the buildings in the area, to consider how best to utilise this iconic space in Birmingham and to coordinate the venues working together. The short lead-time meant a very intense planning process to write all of the documentation and get approval from the multiple stakeholders. Symphotech’s team on-site alongside Simon and Will for the event were Sophia Livett, Dominic Walker and Charlie Massey.

Simon explained:

“The short lead-time against a backdrop of shortages across the whole event industry, everything else going in Birmingham and the absolute requirement to match the high standards being achieved across the rest of the Commonwealth Games (with their years of planning) gave us a considerable challenge.

“Because of the sensitivities around the Commonwealth Games brand, we were not only very attentive to the usual safety measures we build in to all of our events. Symphotech’s Caroline Harding brought in Garry Jones from Storm4 Events to incorporate robust additional counter-terrorism measures, such as HVM on all road closures.

Simon continues:

“There was a strong desire to make this happen from all quarters, so getting rapid sign-off on road closures benefitted from a supportive council. Because the main Games events were (obviously) the main focus of local authorities, Police, Fire and Food Safety came to us relatively late with their checks, and they were thankfully very satisfied with our preparation, documentation and on-site implementation, which was pleasing.

“We managed all of the ticketing and entry systems, and managed crowd flow planning around the site. The audience have been a lovely group of people, here for a celebration. This was a great collaborative effort and it would be a great legacy for the area from this Commonwealth Games if this space is recognised as being ideal for future events.”

A focal point of the event was the emotive speeches by John Crabtree OBE, Birmingham 2022 Chairman, Cllr. Ian Ward and Andy Newman, who addressed the enthusiastic audience in Luna Springs, relayed live by giant LED screen to the rest of an attentive audience in the Food Court. These speeches focused on the ‘people who had made the games special’ and reflected the tenable positive energy in the air throughout the evening, encapsulating this collective celebration of the volunteers’ contribution to the Games and the many new friendships made amongst them.


Luna Springs, Zumhof, The Night Owl, The Mill, Mama Roux.