May 26, 2023

Interview with top polo event planner: Jeremy Hartley of EI Productions

Throughout our time in business, we are proud to have supplied both indoor and outdoor hire furniture to some of the UK’s most prestigious sporting events. In particular, we have developed working relationships within the world of polo.  Aptly known as the ‘sport of kings’, polo has attracted even more media attention in recent years due to both their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex being keen players!  This week we were extremely fortunate to catch up with events guru Jeremy Hartley, whose event planning company EI Productions is responsible for organising a number of high profile polo events. We chatted to Jeremy to find out a little about his life as an event planner, and a mini insight into this unique sport. Read on to find out more……….

We have read a bit about your career background on your company website, and it seems you have spent the majority of your working life in the events and hospitality industry. What was it about the world of event planning that appealed to you so much in the first place?

Rattan dining furniture for hire at polo event‘The roar of the crowd and the smell of the grease paint, to coin the old circus expression! I was lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time when my school built a new theatre, and I was put on the sound & lighting team as a young teenager. Health and safety wasn’t such a thing back then!’

Fast forward to 2023….how much has the events industry evolved during the length of your career? What do you enjoy most about your job now?  (And is there anything you don’t love about it!?)

rattan furniture outdoors at polo event‘Well it’s probably a lot safer, that’s for sure! But joking aside, events are much more multi-faceted these days and a lot more inclusive. I still love what I loved years ago and what has kept me in the business; standing back and watching a load of people have a great time because of something that we’ve created. That never goes away. On the flip side, I guess it’s the hours that we are all expected to work for the money. Maybe I’m getting old!’

Working in high profile events must mean you have rubbed shoulders with plenty of celebrities and royalty: it must be tough to cater to their individual requirements?  How do you overcome problems with demanding ‘divas’?!

‘With a smile! Quite often it’s not the individual that’s been demanding, it’s those around them who are looking to make themselves considered important, or simply there might be a reason for a seemingly odd demand that we’re just not aware of.’

You have been involved in the planning of some of the most prestigious polo events: do you have a particular interest in the sport yourself? Have you ever played?

polo horses‘I come from a very horsey family but got my father to swap my pony out for a go-kart when the pony bit me (I was 6) and then spent the rest of my childhood resenting anything to do with horses, particularly as a teenager having to go along to all of the 3 day events (dressage/cross-country/show jumping). The irony that most of my projects 35 years later involve horses does not escape me!’

Again, thinking about planning  polo events in particular, are there any challenges unique to polo events which you have had to overcome?

rattan furniture hire for polo event‘Wind, and irrigation water cannons; the former tends to whip up across the vast expanse of polo pitches, and the latter seems to be the weapon of choice of groundsmen vs marquees!’

We know that high-profile events can have intense pressure and tight deadlines. What are your top tips for managing the stress of events and maintaining a calm demeanour under pressure?

White rattan furniture hire at Polo event in Essex‘Detailed planning, meticulous build schedules and great relationships with contractors and suppliers. After a while you don’t really think about the level or scale of the event – you’d never sleep!’

You’re a long term customer of Rio Lounge, which we very much appreciate! We know that good quality suppliers are key to running a successful events business.  Please could you tell us what you like most about Rio Lounge outdoor hire furniture and the service we offer? 

‘Quality products and a very reliable service, with a smile!’

 

Huge thanks to Jeremy for taking time out of his busy events schedule to chat to us this week.  We have been supplying outdoor hire furniture for VIP lounges across a number of high profile sporting events for many years.  If you’re an event planner and you feel inspired by anything you see on our website, we would love to hear from you!  You can get in touch by calling our furniture hire team on 01582 232332 or send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.