11.00 – 11:30 Ben Hardy, Richmond Event Management
Behind the Scenes at Bristol Balloon Festival
Ben Hardy, Richmond Event Management
Ben is the Managing Director of Richmond Event Management Ltd, an outdoor event management specialist, making great events happen in cities and places across the UK.
Since 2010 Ben has led the operational delivery of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Now in its 40th year the Fiesta attracts an annual audience of 500,000 visitors, a social media reach of 4.2 million and print/broadcast reach of 166 million. Notably Ben has driven the events turnover, diversified its income base and enhanced the events security, crowd and traffic management plans.
In addition to the Balloon Fiesta, Ben has been involved in some of Bristol’s largest outdoor events and celebrations in recent years including FIFA World Cup Screening, Clifton Suspension Bridge 150th Anniversary Firework Display, Bristol Harbour Festival, Bristol 10k, Bristol Half Marathon, M-Shed launch, Sky Ride, BrisFest, Park and Slide, BBC Food Connections, Tour of Britain, National Armed Forces Day (Liverpool, 2017) and the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to HM Naval Base Portsmouth.
In October 2014 Ben was seconded into Bristol 2015 Ltd, the company responsible for delivering Bristol’s year as European Green Capital 2015, as part of the Mayor of Bristol’s emergency re-structuring of the business. With just three months before the start of the cities year as Green Capital, Ben led the operations and commercial teams, overseeing the largest group of sponsors the city has ever secured to fund a city wide initiative. Delivering over 240 events and installations, Ben delivered Bristol 2015’s event programme on time and on budget. Ben’s key highlights include turning the Clifton Suspension Bridge green on New Year’s Eve, Bridging the Gap (the years opening ceremony), the Bristol Whales and Arcadia Metamorphosis in Queen Square.
Between 2000 and 2009, Ben worked for two of the UK’s leading youth charities, Barnardo’s and The Prince’s Trust, creating and delivering innovative and diverse fundraising initiatives, generating in excess of £10 million.
Outside of work Ben has a range of charitable interests. He was President (2007/2008) of the Bristol Junior Chamber. He is a member of the West of England Initiative, Anchor Society and Colston Society. He is also a Trustee of Young Bristol (previously Chairman 2010 to 2017), Director of Bristol Festivals, a Committee Member of the British Air Display Association and a Governor of Churchill Academy and Sixth Form.
Ben lives in Wrington, North Somerset, with his wife Joanna and two daughters Evie and Bea.