Maxim's Erica Jones and Rachel Knight headed to the Awards Awards ceremony at London's Waldorf Hilton, where KPBA was a finalist in the 'Best New Awards Event' category. Judges were looking for innovation, expertise and success in all areas for events launched since 2012.
After a brief and confusing exchange with a member of hotel staff on arrival ('Can you tell us where the ladies is, please?', 'Which ladies? The women?') we made our way to the reception for an obligatory selfie.
This was clearly a big budget event with drinks flowing, a musician keeping the crowd entertained, an incredible magician who left us genuinely speechless and a contact juggler who was happy to let us handle her balls (which, in case you're wondering, are heavier than you might think).
After being welcomed into the ceremony itself by a fanfare from two bearskin-clad soldiers, we made our way to our table to meet the guests we'd been seated with. Tickets were pricey, to say the least, so unfortunately the rest of the team couldn't attend but we were incredibly lucky to be seated with some lovely sponsors and fellow finalists. It wasn't long before the ice was broken and we'd hijacked a waiter to take a photo for the 'best table' competition.
One of the reasons we wanted to attend was to get an idea of how people who organise events every week of the year would run an awards ceremony. We spent a few minutes stroking the laminated brochure ('Ooo feel that - do you think we could do something similar?'), had a look at the menu and explained to some amazed people that we give people a choice for each course at KPBA, noted there was no goody bag (another win for KPBA) and settled down to enjoy our half bottle of wine each.
There was no doubt the event ran smoothly, everyone had a great time and host Russell Kane did a very good job of keeping the audience engaged. He made the point that out of all the similar events he worked, this room was the most likely to realise that people shouldn't talk through the presentations.
Although we were rooting for the other finalists on our table, we didn't actually know any of the 300 people in the room, which is often the case at national award ceremonies. Not for the first time, we realised we're very lucky to have KPBA finalists who genuinely care about every category, not just the one they've been shortlisted for.
We didn't have to wait long for the 'Best New Awards Event' to be announced; they sped through the announcements and sadly, there was no need for us to rush up to the stage.
Obviously we were disappointed but we were up against some huge companies with even bigger budgets; we lost out to Emap Publishing for The AJ Architecture Awards. We took a 'sad face' selfie, posted it on our social networks to let everyone know the bad news and relaxed for the rest of the event. We enjoyed some fizz, as well as seeing a few jaws drop to the floor when we told them what our KPBA budget is.
You might be wondering why we're drawing attention to the fact we didn't win but since the ceremony, we've received comments from the 2018 Awards Awards judging panel and feel they're worthy of sharing.
Maxim established the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards, which is now in its fourth year, to celebrate and reward local journalism. We may not have won an award, but we're pleased to be able to support the media and enable some of the county's best known organisations to do the same.
Maxim's Rachel Knight (left) and Erica Jones at the Awards Awards ceremony. Photo by Capturise.
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