Red Carpet parties at MTV EMA, Belfast

Katy B at EMA aftershow party


MTV EMA parties have, in the past, inspired ritualised behaviour among its media guests. For Red Carpet it’s gone something like this: leave the EMA show, head to MTV’s big aftershow party at a cavernous venue, enjoy Mojitos, music and chit-chat, then join media buddies at various record company parties dotted around the host city. But this time, in Belfast,the MTV parties were the place to be…Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were all in MTV party circulation. Ben Hack (pictured below) tells Sat Bal about the parties that no-one wanted to leave.(4 Dec ’11)  


What was your EMA role and what influenced the aftershow party concept and design this year?  


The role of the Brand Experience team within MTV International is pretty varied – we look after the main aftershow party, the bars and hospitality at the show – and the Outside Broadcast live event which takes place simultaneous to the Awards – this year for 16,000 music fans at City Hall with performances  by Snow Patrol and Jason Derulo. Plus venue dressing and branding, sponsor integration and lots of the creative elements such as the MTV EMA magazine that we produced this year. 

The main parties were  MTV presents Adventures  On The Pleasure Planet at the Europa Hotel and the MTV UK party at the Merchant Hotel.  The idea for the party originally came from a concept we had when we were considering hosting the party inside a collection of marquees.  The idea of using lots of different tents made us think of early acid house raves and we thought that rather than trying to hide the fact that we were using marquees we should embrace the fact and run with it.


Hannah Holland DJs the party


We thought it would be fun to take the energy and creativity of those early large scale raves and festivals and develop it into something more modern and produced with a bigger budget - to do something more conceptual.  Sadly for various reasons the marquee idea failed to materialise – but we still really liked the essence of that idea and wanted to do a party with lots of different areas and rooms, and so that was our starting point for the Europa and our Adventures on the Pleasure Planet party. 

Open the pod bay doors, HAL …

Why stage the EMA parties at the two hotels, the Merchant and the Europa? Did this bring additional challenges?

MTV UK, which was host channel for the EMAs since they took place in Belfast, held a party at the Marchant for all of MTV UK’s VIP guests.  MTV International’s guests were hosted at the Europa hotel. We had around 2,000 guests at the Europa and both teams used hotels originally out of necessity as they were the only place where we could host events on Sunday within the Northern Irish Sunday drinking laws.  Using hotels definitely brings additional challenges – normally we use a blank canvas venue where we can just run off and do whatever we want.  But in a hotel you start with a very fixed layout and design, and different guidelines and parameters to work within.  Turning the Europa into MTV world for the night was a massive task from a creative and productive point of view – but the end result was really dramatic and probably ultimately more rewarding.


“I think when we saw Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez arrive within the first 30 minutes of the doors being opened, we realised it was going to be a good one.”



What was the talent quota at Europa and the general guest profile?

The talent attendance was really high – the majority of the artists who performed at the awards show came and partied with us.  Their attendance created a great buzz outside the party and created a good energy inside the event.  The guestlist consists of talent, record labels, sponsors and top MTV VIPs.

We reserved tables for all of the artists at the party, who were met on arrival and escorted to their table.  Once inside labels and artists moved around freely – we try mix everyone up together as much as we can.


Droids await party guests

At what point in the night did you think ‘…everything’s was going to plan’? 

I think when we saw Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez arrive within the first 30 mins of the doors being opened, we realised it was going to be a good one.


Your personal party highlights? 

The design was really strong this year and probably our best yet – the set designers Catherine De Goris and Alex Noble did an amazing job, and the party production director Anthea Roy was incredible in making the party happen in 6 weeks – a mammoth task.  The variety of the 4 rooms was really well received and it was great to see so many of the artists hanging out, really letting their hair down and having a good time.  It was a great mix of people and a pretty wild and debauched party!



Aftershow Party Production list: 

Aftershow Party Production Director – Anthea Roy

Set Design – Catherine De Goris and Alex Noble

Sweet and Chilli – Bars

Europa – Catering

Its Nice That – party logo and graphics

Twisted Image – set build

Design Co – set Build

Renegade / Production Island  – Lighting

Matrix 9 / Production House – Audio

Warwick – AV and rigging

Upholsterer - Abbey Upholsterers

Sevens7 – stage management

Stagecrew – crew

Maxwell – Recycling

Decorwright – Painting

Iris Colour – Printing

Seamless Interiors - Lining

Event Sec  - Security


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