From lost in translation disasters to a refugee camp, this entertainment company have seen it all.

Occasion Lab

We caught up with Lindsay and Ailsa Woods as they recovered from a late-night conference performance. The married duo own multi-act entertainment company LA Social from Queenstown, New Zealand. Their teams travel globally, are highly organized, a little bit wild, and determined to give everyone at your occasion a great time. When an interview starts with “We’re like organized crime. But mostly without the crime.” you buckle up for the ride.

We’ve merged Lindsay and Ailsa’s replies into one because they finished each other’s sentences so often that we lost track. A pre-cursor to how seamlessly they operate LA Social.

This is part 1 of 3. Check it out for incredible stories of gigs LA Social have performed. We’re still reeling from their refugee camp experience.

Check out part 2 for insider tips and advice on how to best work with your event band.

Check out part 3 for entertainment business behind the scenes, and LA Social’s recipe for success.

Vendor Spotlight // LA Social Wedding Band on OccasionLab.com

Courtesy of LA Social // Full credits at end of article

While hosts are busy wrangling their guests for a destination event, entertainment teams have their own unique challenges.

“The biggest challenge is organizing transport of the equipment. If we’re performing locally then that's fine, but when somebody contacts you and asks ‘Can you perform in Bangkok?’ or, ‘Can you perform on an island that we don’t know has any power?’ it takes around ten times longer to organize.”

Once a band has called a lot of people, packed up, and flown across the globe, sometimes they’re faced with a venue team whose language they don’t speak. That’s when things can quickly go wrong. “We were performing for the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok. The sound system was already set up at the venue, so we arrived with only our instruments. We plugged in, did our sound check, and it was sounding almost the way it ought to. Not awesome, because the language barrier was difficult to get through, but it was sounding approximately right. Until we started performing. That evening we got up to perform after everybody had eaten. We were ready to party, we started playing, and… nothing. Inexplicably, everything had changed since sound check. There was hardly any volume on the dance floor and half the speakers weren’t working on the stage.” Eventually the problem was fixed, but “it was frightening. They’d flown us all the way from New Zealand and we wanted to smash it like we always like to do, but there were these unpredictable circumstances”.

Time difference also goes hand in hand with global travel. Starting an energetic performance at 9pm with a body clock set to 3am is undoubtedly a challenge. “The upside is that you get to travel, you get to chill at a resort, and your Instagram looks great because you're hanging out by a pool under a palm tree.”

Vendor Spotlight // LA Social Wedding Band on OccasionLab.com

Courtesy of LA Social // Full credits at end of article

LA Social teams perform at hundreds of weddings, parties, and corporate events each year. The unique occasions are their most memorable.

“One of the surreal ones was a Lord of the Rings themed conference where all the guests were in costume. They looked incredible, and Lindsay dressed up as a hobbit.” Which describes exactly what sets LA Social apart: “Being absolutely shameless. Most people wouldn’t be seen dressed up like a hobbit on stage. I even curled my hair, I looked just like a Baggins”.

“A favorite gig was at a venue that was set up for a future boxing match, so the organizers utilized the boxing ring. Only Queenstown would do that!” The ring was positioned in the center of the venue and it became the stage. “It was almost a throwback to the 80s glam rock arena style of show. It was a great night, it was just fantastic.”

Vendor Spotlight // LA Social Wedding Band on OccasionLab.com

Courtesy of LA Social // Full credits at end of article

The most unusual performance, or series of performances, “was in Lesbos, Greece. The Syrian refugee crisis is ongoing but was at its height when we travelled to the Moria refugee camp”. Volunteers run the camp, most of whom have just finished high school. “18-year-olds are taking care of everything from distributing food to getting warm clothes for people that have just arrived because their boat upturned in the bay.” At the camp, what seemed to give the most joy to “the refugees was doing the things they used to do in normal life” like socializing and listening to music. “We didn’t go there to play music”, Lindsay said, but “I found a guitar in a local music store in town and thought that maybe I could teach some of the hundreds and hundreds of kids there a few chords. So, I sat down to teach a few kids some guitar, but the moment I sat down I was swamped by a couple of dozen little kids. Clearly, it was no longer a situation where I could teach anybody anything, so I started to play some acoustic rendition of ‘I Got A Feeling’, and then the teenagers appeared. Cool young Syrian dudes and their sisters and cousins, some of them orphans. Then the mums arrived, because there was a party going on. Then the dads and single men. Suddenly there are 60 people gathered around me while I sing some Beatles number”.

There was no going back. “Every night after our camp work, we’d select a different area of the camp and perform for them.” The performances were even healing tensions within the camp. “There’d been a lot of unrest between the different cultures because it’s a stressful, boring environment, so the most beautiful part was that all the cultures danced together. It was the happiest they’d looked in ages.” There were hundreds at the performance on the last night. So many that “EuroRelief were a bit concerned that we were creating a riot. There had been fires and rioting a couple of weeks before we arrived at the camp, but I think we were a happy riot”.

“That was our best holiday. It’s super cliché to say that music transcends barriers and is an international language that draws people together, but hang on, it did all those things. For a while these people were able to do normal stuff again.”

Vendor Spotlight // LA Social Wedding Band on OccasionLab.com

Courtesy of LA Social // Full credits at end of article

 

Since 2006 LA Social has grown from duo Lindsay and Ailsa Woods to a team of 20 talented musicians and performers. Equally comfortable at International conferences and intimate celebrations, LA Social entertain thousands of people across the globe with their high energy brand of entertainment – no one can pack a dance floor quite like them. They regularly perform at weddings and for world leading brands like BMW, Aston Martin, and Ferrari. “We can be anywhere from a prestigious charity ball in Auckland, to a grass roots festival in Queenstown, to an enchanted forest gala in Thailand."

http://lasocial.co.nz/

 

That was part 1 of 3. We’re still reeling from that refugee camp story.

Check out part 2 for insider tips and advice on how to best work with your event band.

Check out part 3 for entertainment business behind the scenes, and LA Social’s recipe for success.

 

CREDITS (in order of appearance)

Header Venue: Mount Difficulty Winery // Photography: Dan Childs Photography // Entertainment: LA Social // Client: Highlands Motorsport Park

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Photography: Emily Adamson // Venue: Peregrine Winery // Entertainment: LA Social // Catering: Artisan Catering // Planning + Styling: One Fine Day

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Planning: Dinamics Event Management // Catering: Artisan Catering // Entertainment: LA Social // Sound + Lighting: Tom Tom

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Planning: ID Tours Event Management // Entertainment: LA Social // Venue: Stoneridge Estate

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Photography: Alpine Image Company // Venue: Rippon // Catering: Aspiring Catering // Entertainment: LA Social

 

 

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