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Backstage revelations of Project Playground: 23 Choices

As the curtains draw on the upcoming Eventex 2024 Global Awards, “Project Playground: 23 Choices” emerges as a frontrunner, boasting an impressive five nominations. John Linssen, Sales Manager at SugarFactory and one of the strategic partners behind this out-of-the-box event, shares some backstage revelations.

What sparked the event

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the event, John highlights the post-COVID recovery phase of the events industry. With venues closing and professionals navigating new roles, there was an urgent need to reignite the industry’s spirit. “We wanted to make a statement,” says John, “to showcase our resilience and readiness to take the industry by storm alongside our treasured preferred partners.”

Overcoming challenges with creativity and collaboration

Acknowledging the hurdles faced during the planning phase, John recalls a pivotal realisation: “We were our own clients.” He explains the necessity of wearing multiple hats and to enlist an event manager to streamline operations. Timing also played a crucial role. John refers to the question they asked themselves: “How to get the most people together from the events industry on one specific date and how to entice them in such a way that they want spend seven hours with us?’’

Central to the event’s success was a culture of creativity and collaboration. ‘’We are all super creative and we gave ourselves the freedom to really create without limits’’, John states. To add structure the team divided tasks among themselves such as: communication, creation, financials, etc.

Where imagination and reality meet

The event’s distinctiveness lies in its ability to provoke a new way of thinking and challenge guests to ask (themselves) questions that we sometimes brush under the carpet. By magnifying reality in unconventional ways, sometimes absurd or even slightly shocking. “Project Playground: 23 Choices” carved a niche for itself.

More than just a nomination

The nominations signify more than just accolades; they symbolise the validation of collective vision and joint efforts. John feels ‘’proud to be part of this creative team’’ while pointing out that SugarFactory as a venue embodied everything the event stood for: a creative playground.

In the broader context of the Eventex Awards, Project Playground: 23 Choices is a testament to what can happen when collaboration between different parties is exemplary.

When asked which nomination category John is most proud of, it’s ‘Positive Change’. “We really wanted to disrupt the current,” he explains, emphasising Project Playground’s aspiration to provoke dialogue around pressing industry issues.

Always choose adventure!

On a final note, Linssen thanks all the partners and especially Charlot Enneking of Central Station Events for her pivotal role in coordinating the event. Asked about the possibility of hosting the event again, John concludes: ‘’ We are a creative bunch, so repetition is not really in our vocabulary…that said, there were so many ideas that didn’t make this edition which are hiding in a corner now somewhere…so keep looking closely and in the meantime, always choose adventure!’’


About the awards

Founded in 2009 to celebrate creativity, innovation and effectiveness in the industry, today Eventex Awards is the most coveted and recognizable competition in the world of events – a true symbol of high achievement and excellence.

The 2024 finalists have been chosen among a total of 1207 entries from 62 countries worldwide.

 The categories in which “Project Playground: 23 Choices” are nominated for:

  1. Positive change event
  2. Kick ass experience
  3. Immersive experience
  4. Experiential event
  5. Partner engagement

The winners will be announced on the 7th of May 2024 at 14:00 (CET).

About Project Playground: 23 Choices

SugarFactory, on the edge of Amsterdam, welcomed 270 event professionals on Tuesday, 29 August 2023, for the second edition of Project Playground: 23 Choices. Together with creative partners Boozed, Hete Peper, Plugged Live Shows, The Fireflies and Bazelmans AV they created a unique and inspiring experience where the focus was on awareness and making choices.

Click here for all photos of Project Playground: 23

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