One of the key aspects to ILMC’s continued success are the events, parties and networking activities that allow delegates to let their hair down, have fun, but meet friends and colleagues – old and new – in relaxed circumstances.

This year’s fundand games began, as usual, with the welcome party, sponsored by .Tickets and given the title of the ILMC Space Invaders Opening Party (see photos here), providing attendees with just the right quantities of champagne and other sustenance to set them up for the weekend programme.

Friday’s extra curricular activities, started with a divine Turkish spread at the IEG Power-up Lunch (see photos here) and was followed by The United Talent Happy Hour (see photos here). “Our happy hour held a mixture of joy at a new beginning and sadness at the recent tragedies that have affected our industry and taken away so many of our dear friends. We’ve begun our journey at UTA with that intimate connection to our past firmly in step with genuine excitement about our future,” says United Talent Agency’s Greg Lowe. Colleague Geoff Meall adds, “Thanks to all the promoters, managers, lawyers, accountants and other agencies(!) who came along to the UTA Happy Hour at this year’s ILMC. It was a fun hour – let’s do it again next year!”

Meanwhile, next door to the Royal Garden Hotel, the early evening fun also included The Dutch Impact Party (see photos here), thanks to hosts the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Performing Arts Fund NL, Buma Cutluur and Eurosonic Noorderslag. “The Dutch Impact Party is nowadays a must-attend part of the official ILMC agenda. The 2016 edition showcased Dutch acts Bombay, Pauw, The Deaf and DeWolff. The b2b crowd loved it and that is not always easy. With more then 200 b2b guests and media attending, the evening was a great success. We’re already looking forward to the 2017 party!” says organiser Ruud Berends.

Friday’s late-night shenanigans included ILMC’s now traditional Hi-Score Texas Hold’Em Poker Tourney (see photos here) and the Multiplayers Table Football Coupe Du Monde (see photos here). Hosts Wembley Stadium connected by EE, saw a long and fiercely fought battle on the fusball table before Alvaro Ramos and Nuno Sousa Pinto eventually emerged as champions following an enthralling final against Johannes Schuster & Peter Haberle. Meanwhile, WWE Corp hosted the card sharps where Sean Goulding emerged victorious, although the real winner was the Nikos Fund which benefitted to the tune of more than £1,000 thanks to our generous players. “We’re delighted that the WWE-sponsored Poker Tourney was a record-breaking success, and really appreciated the opportunity to once again help extrapolate cash from the ILMC delegates…all in the name of charity of course!” comments WWE’s Dave Biggar.

Saturday’s ILMC proceedings culminated with a very late sing-along session at the Grand Theft Auto-Tune Karaoke (see photos here). But earlier in the evening, the Mario Bros Gala Dinner and Arthurio Awards (see photos here) took place in the luxurious surroundings of the Savoy Hotel, where the great and the good of the live music industry donned their glad rags for a hugely entertaining event, thanks in large part to sponsors ICC/AEG Ogden, Etihad Stadium, Chugg Entertainment and Ticketmaster, while guests were welcomed by Mario Busker from Dublin and during dinner, entertainment was provided by hit West End magic show, Impossible.

With Emma Banks again on hand as master of ceremonies, emerging triumphant from the premises with Arthur Awards grasped in hand were: The O2 arena (first venue to come you’re your head); Beat the Street (services above and beyond); Ben Challis (most professional professional); Rock Am Ring (liggers’ favourite festival); Ticketmaster (the golden ticket); ITB’s Amber McKenzie (the people’s assistant); Joanna Young from Live Nation UK (tomorrow’s new boss); Steve Strange from X-ray Touring (second least offensive agent); Kilimanjaro Live’s Steve Tillley (promoter’s promoter); and Jules Frutos (the bottle award).

While the ILMC Gala Dinner and Arthurio Awards were occupying the Savoy, a coach carrying the UK and International live music industry’s top players was making a surprise stop at the home of English football: Wembley Stadium. The 2016 ILMC Match of the Year (see photos here) lived up to its billing, as Claudio and Francesco Trotta provided a master-class in Italian football to help give the Rest of the World a 4-3 victory in an epic goal bonanza. Despite efforts by Mike Godolphin, James Ponnusam and Ollie Rosenblatt on the UK team, a double from Francesco, a goal by his father and a fine effort by Nick Fincher settled the matter.

Delegates still in the Royal Garden Hotel for the sumptuous buffet lunch on Sunday afternoon were then entertained by the Nikos Fund annual prize draw (see photos here) where IQ’s Gordon Masson took over the role of MC, assisted by Embla Gisladottir, this year dressed as Super Mario.

The vast array of prizes ranged from jewellery and handbags to hotel and spa breaks in the likes of Germany, Greece and Italy, while there was even a break at a nudist camp in Montenegro for one lucky (or is that unlucky?) winner.

After the prizes had been collected by more than 20 happy delegates, Greg Parmley hosted the annual ILMC autopsy, where attendees raised such issues as being able to get hold of speaker presentations and problems with finding available meeting spaces during the conference. But the most pressing concern appeared to be that there was no cheese as part of the buffet lunch – a dilemma that one delegate working for the French export office vowed to help with ahead of ILMC 29.

With champagne on hand for those brave souls who saw ILMC 28 right through to the bitter end, around 40 delegates joined some of the ILMC team for dinner at Lupitas Mexican restaurant before returning to the Royal Garden Hotel for a nightcap, as the production team packed the last of the signage, scenery and equipment into storage containers, ready to be dusted off in 12 months at ILMC 29.