The Queen is Coming

Rosanna Machado | October 31, 2018

The highlight of my freelance career

My freelance career ended on a high when I was asked to work on the Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant. I was presented with sketches of boats on the river Thames. At this point, the Pageant was not in the public domain, but I was asked if I would oversee the project and manage all aspects.

At the time, I thought it sounded exciting. Looking back, if I had known how big it was going to become, I may have been daunted by the task in hand.

My role was to make it happen operationally. I had to bring in the team, as well as looking after the budget and overseeing marketing and commercial operations. I brought in a number of event freelancers to work on the project. By the end there were about 50 core staff and on the day, there were close to 650 people working as well as 7000 stewards.

As a new company, I had to set up all the company processes and procedures as well as running the event production and overseeing the fundraising, commercial and marketing and PR elements.

It was a huge challenge working with so many stakeholders – keeping the internal team happy, let alone the Met Police, London boroughs, Port of London Authority and all the other agencies and local residents.

It was the best team ever – we worked hard but laughed a lot. It was a tricky balance to come up with something that was fitting and celebratory for the Queen, yet safe enough to satisfy all authorities. I was impressed with how the Metropolitan Police handle royal events, with a great deal of care around being discreet.

The one thing I couldn’t control was the weather, and I was gutted that the helicopters couldn’t fly because of poor visibility.

Still, it was great being an independent company as I felt in control and able to react quickly to situations without a bureaucratic chain.

It really sunk in the day after when I was invited to the Concert at Buckingham Palace. I realised I had been part of something spectacular.

Tips straight from the Zebra’s mouth…

Look at your project from every angle, present the best solutions, and consider all eventualities – you can deal with any situation that may arise.