Making Sweet Music From The Events Business – Evening Standard

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Sarah Balfour, founder of Orchid Events, was interviewed by the Evening Standard, discussing her beginnings and the success that followed.

As Sarah describes to the Evening Standard, the first ideas behind Orchid Events occurred while at a performance, “dressed in a white Forties dress, sporting a blonde bobbed wig and in the middle of a seven-hour set playing Cole Porter and George Gershwin on a white baby grand piano”. Sarah started to think about how she would have organised the party, eventually leading her to start her own event planning business, Orchid Events.

Orchid Events however was preceded by the creation of Music by Arrangement, initially a managerial firm for musicians and performers. Sarah was fed up of the exploitation of performers in the music business, stating that “the greed and the ruthlessness which permeated the agents who represented me completely blighted what was otherwise a fantastic job” and going on to say she “wanted to work for an agency which paid artists on time and treated them fairly, but couldn’t find one.”

As she started Music by Arrangement, and signed musicians, clients would ask if she could “recommend a staging or lighting expert, or the best layout of particular venues or for colour scheme advice”. Sarah then began to consider not simply giving her ideas away, but turning this skill and interest into an event organisation business.

One of her favourite events to have planned was a Mozart centenary celebration funded by Grosvenor Estates, involving a “street party with over 50,000 people invited, an orchestra, waiting staff in full period costume and a grand marquee for the musicians.” A further large-scale event was a “five-day Asian wedding in Portugal for a thousand people” of which “one night was based on Florida’s Nikki Beach, the next was a traditional Sangeet wedding party”.


evening standardSarah Balfour, Director of Orchid Events was interviewed by Evening Standard in June. To read an online version of this article, please visit:  © Copyright Evening Standard Ltd.