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Embattled events startup Pollen misses payroll amid acquisition talks

Embattled events startup Pollen misses payroll amid acquisition talks

London-based events startup Pollen, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from some of Europe’s best-known VCs, missed payroll in June as it works to secure new funding, potentially in the form of an acquisition.

Salary payments to hundreds of staff were due to hit bank accounts on June 30. Six days later, management told US-based staff via Slack that their salary was being transferred that day. UK-based staff received their salary on July 1.

In a message to staff on July 1 sent via Slack, seen by Sifted, Callum Negus-Fancey, cofounder and CEO of the events operator, explained that the delay came as the company is “closing a transaction with a large, well-known entertainment company”.

“They will become our biggest investor and shareholder,” the message continued. One person who is a shareholder in the company tells Sifted that Pollen is in fact in discussion with several parties about an acquisition.

Asked if the company was looking to be acquired, Pollen tells Sifted: “We can’t discuss ongoing commercial transactions externally. However, watch this space.

Negus-Fancey’s message to Pollen employees went on to say: “I am working hard to finalise negotiations with our shareholders as fast as possible and get them to wire funds. I am really sorry about the inconvenience and anxiety the situation has caused all of you.”

It’s the latest twist for a company that announced a massive $150m fundraising round in April only to lay off 22% of its full-time workforce the following month. The company, which organises concerts and “experiences” around the world involving artists including Justin Bieber, has been hit by an avalanche of refund requests this year after events were cancelled because of pandemic restrictions or limited demand. Several customers reported to Sifted in June that they had been waiting “months” for refunds. 

After missed payroll and amid the company’s funding discussions, morale among Pollen’s remaining employees is now “terrible”, according to one employee. Fears are growing internally that the company could announce another round of layoffs. 

Sifted asked Pollen if it will be able to pay staff next month. “Yes, absolutely we can,” the company replied in a statement, calling last week’s payroll “mis-timing” and “an isolated, one-off event”. The company also denied it was at risk of insolvency. “The company has a supportive and well funded shareholder base,” Pollen said. 

Pollen has raised roughly $255m in equity from investors including Northzone, Kindred, Backed and Molten Ventures. It last announced a $150m Series C in April this year, which was led by Sienna Investment Managers, a Luxembourg-based investment firm. 

The Pollen CEO’s Slack message to staff on July 1
Pollen CEO Callum Negus-Fancey’s Slack message to staff, continued

Late payments

Since Sifted reported on outstanding refund payments in June, multiple current and former Pollen employees and suppliers have shared their concerns about the company. One person who previously supplied services to Pollen tells Sifted that he and several others — who were also seeking payment from the company — were considering legal action if Pollen didn’t pay them soon.

Employees were this week openly discussing the impact of delayed salaries on the company’s Slack. 

Slack messages shared with Sifted show employees fretting about rent payments and transactions that won’t go through as a result of the late payments. Another employee wrote that they had credit card payments due soon and failure to pay them promptly could negatively affect their credit score. 

There have also been delays in outstanding pay for those laid off in May. Former employees say they were due to receive their final pay cheques in late June, but Sifted has seen emails from Pollen’s chief people officer where staff were told that their outstanding salaries had been delayed further.

Pollen did not comment on outstanding pay for laid-off workers. 

“They’re in too deep, this is all they can do with payroll,” another former employee tells Sifted.

Late payroll has happened once before at Pollen, the company told Sifted last month. “In the company’s history, there has been an occasion where payroll was late by two days for one of our US entities due to human error and the following day being a bank holiday,” it said.

Eanna Kelly is a contributing editor at Sifted. He tweets from @EannaKelly1. Freya Pratty is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty.

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Council talks downtown events

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont City Council on Monday considered several permits for events to be held on Downtown Plaza at the end of the month

While event permits are typically on the consent agenda, City Administrator Cathy Reynolds said they pulled a few with new developments they hadn’t yet seen so she wanted to provide council the opportunity to discuss them.

“These two permits, in conjunction with one approved by the council last meeting, will provide for five days of activities in Downtown Fairmont during the week before and weekend of Memorial Day,” Reynolds said.

However, because they propose closing down portions of Downtown Plaza and the downtown business district for five days, Reynolds said she wanted to let council have conversation about them.

The first permit was for the Fairmont Opera House to hold a Star Wars event on May 25 in front of the Opera House. The Opera House was asking to block Downtown Plaza from the intersection of Blue Earth Ave. to the south end of its property.

“It’s a great opportunity. We have a lot of great things happening in the community but because this is three permits closing down for five days I did want to pull them out for council to discuss if it desires,” Reynolds said.

Mayor Deb Foster asked if the businesses that would be affected by it had been informed. Reynolds said that when permits are turned in that involve road closures, the applicants are advised to notify businesses that will be affected.

The council approved of the May 25 event.

The next permit request was for the Fairmont Opera House’s Memorial Weekend Street Fest, which is slated to take place May 27 and 28.

Reynolds explained that in the permit request, the proposal was to put a stage up between City Hall and the Blazer Bar for a band on Friday evening and the stage may stay up overnight. On Saturday morning a second stage around the Human Services building and Edie’s will be put up and a series of shows will take place between the two stages on that day.

“They planned some food trucks and games and different activities during the day,” Reynolds said.

The event would involve some road closures around different access points to Downtown Plaza.

Council Member Bruce Peters cited the various eating establishments in that vicinity of Downtown Plaza and said the idea concerned him as it involves road closures and would make it more difficult to get to the restaurants. He asked if city staff had heard from any of the restaurants and Reynolds said no.

Council Member Wayne Hasek pointed out that the event could lead to people going into the different downtown restaurants to eat and Council Member Britney Kawecki added that people could check out the retail shops as well.

“I don’t disagree, but if there’s 11 food trucks, the likelihood of increasing at Edie’s or El Agave is relatively scant,” Peters said.

Foster said she went to several businesses and asked if they had any concerns and was told they were unaware of it. She suggested that moving forward, anytime there’s an event where there will be a road closure, a public hearing should be held to allow any individuals or business owners to come and voice their thoughts or concerns.

Reynolds agreed that she’d like to encourage individuals, organizations and businesses to bring the city in at the planning stage when it involves an event that would require a road closure.

“When they’re in the parks it’s one thing but when we start closing down roads… we’re having a lot of events and it’s great and wonderful that people are planning all of these events… but trying to figure out the road closures, if we can get the communication started with city staff earlier in the process… so that everyone’s aware of it,” Reynolds said.

The council approved of the permit request for the May 27, 28 event.

Moving to other matters, the council reviewed some liquor license violations. Although a public hearing was held which allowed any member of the public of business associated with the violations to speak, no one spoke out at the pubic hearing.

The Fairmont City Council imposed a civil penalty of $750 upon both the Fairmont Municipal Liquor Store and El Agave. On Dec. 31, 2021, at both establishments, an employee sold an alcoholic beverage to an underage person who was authorized by the Fairmont Police Department to assist with compliance checks of liquor license holders.

“It’s king of embarrassing that this happened at our liquor store. Have we made changes to the training so that this doesn’t happen again?” asked Lubenow.

Reynolds said they addressed the issue and talked to the employee and have appropriately documented that it has occurred. She said they’ve used the incident as a training opportunity within the store.

Peters asked how they will fine themselves. Reynolds explained that they will cut a check from the liquor store funds and put it in the general fund.

Several local businesses, Walgreens, Hy-Vee Grocery and Hy-Vee Convenience Store, also had civil penalties imposed on them after failing tobacco compliance checks executed by the Fairmont Police Department on Dec. 11, 2021. Each business was fined $300.

The council also held a second public hearing on a rezoning request by Krueger Realty, Inc. for 1800 State Hwy. 15 S. This was the second public hearing that was held on the request. On Monday the council approved to rezone the property from R-1 single family residential to R-3 multiple family residential.

In other action, the council:

— Approved a purchase order for the purchase of residential water meters which will total $636,000. City Engineer Troy Nemmers shared that the current meters are 15 years old and upgrading them will provide better tracking of water usage across the city. The Public Utilities Commission had also approved of the purchase.

— Approved a phone system proposal from Midco to replace city staff’s existing phone system.There is no equipment purchase necessary and no installation fee and the monthly fee should be comparable to the exiting fee from Frontier.

— Approved an agreement with MSA Professional Services to complete a zoning ordinance and subdivision regulation update. The council had previously budgeted $40,000 and the cost of the service will be $44,000 plus approximately $1,200 in additional expenses.

— Approved seven event permits for upcoming community events to be held in the summer in the city of Fairmont.

In other news, three part-time police officers were recently hired at the Fairmont Police Department and two of them, Seth Reinke and Carolyn Jacobson, were sworn in at

Monday’s council meeting. Jon Auringer was unable to attend.

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Events: Author talks, Foodies 4 Kids, Puppy Prom

Events: Author talks,  Foodies 4 Kids, Puppy Prom
The cover of "The Diamond Eye" by Kate Quinn

The cover of “The Diamond Eye” by Kate Quinn


‘Book Talk’ with bestselling author Kate Quinn to be held virtually May 19

A discussion about The Diamond Eye, a historical fiction novel based on the story of a real Ukrainian woman WWII sniper, will be held virtually with the bestselling author at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The discussion is co-sponsored by Del Mar Community Connections’ Page Turners and the Del Mar branch Library’s Book Talk groups. Kate Quinn, a resident of San Diego County whose books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times bestsellers, list will be the featured guest and discuss her new book.

Registration is required. Those interested in attending will find the registration link at, or they may call the DMCC office at (858) 792-7565 to receive assistance.

Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of Southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in classical voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, The Rose Code, and The Diamond Eye. All have been translated into multiple languages. Quinn and her husband live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

Coinneach MacLeod, ‘The Hebridean Baker’ stops on his world tour at ‘Diesel, A Bookstore’ in DM Highlands

“Diesel, A Bookstore” in Del Mar Highlands Town Center will host bestselling author Coinneach MacLeod on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will feature recipes and wee stories from the Scottish Islands and a cup of tea or two. Scotland’s bestselling author shares the Hebridean lifestyle in his debut cookbook, The Hebridean Baker. Featuring rustic, old family favorites and classic recipes with a Scottish twist as the Hebridean Baker always says “Homemade is Always Best.”

MacLeod was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, the most northerly of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Inspired by traditional family recipes and homegrown produce, MacLeod rose to fame as the Hebridean Baker on TikTok in 2020. He has motivated his worldwide followers to bake, forage, learn Gaelic, enjoy a dram or two of whisky, and to seek a more wholesome, simple life. Along with his partner Peter and their Westie pup Seoras, MacLeod’s aim is to bring the best of the Scottish islands to a worldwide audience.

This is a ticketed event and seating is limited. Reserve a seat with the purchase of a book at

Masks are required to attend. Event address: Diesel, A Bookstore, 12843 E Camino Real Suite 104, Carmel Valley, 92130.

Restaurants partner with Promises2Kids for Foodies 4 Foster Kids

Show you care by dining where it matters throughout the month of May to benefit 3,000 children in foster care. Promises2Kids has partnered with 37 local restaurants to raise funds for San Diego foster children. The campaign will run throughout the month of May, in celebration of National Foster Care Month.

Each restaurant will designate select menu items which will support the Foodies 4 Foster Kids campaign. Funds raised will benefit foster children by reuniting siblings living apart in foster care, supporting high school and college students in reaching their educational goals, providing birthday gifts, school clothes and opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, and providing an emergency shelter where children feel safe and cared for.

Promises2Kids helps foster children overcome the difficulties of their past and grow to become healthy and successful adults. The community is invited to support Promises2Kids by dining in or ordering online at participating businesses. The community can also make an online gift at

For more information on Foodies 4 Foster Kids, including participating restaurants, visit:

Helen Woodward Animal Center to hold Puppy Prom

Rancho Santa Fe-based nonprofit Helen Woodward Animal Center will hold a Puppy Prom for alumni adopters, their pets and all animal lovers 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at Original 40 Brewing Company, 3117 University Ave. in San Diego. The event will feature music, food, drinks, vendors, a prom costume contest, a corsage making station, a photo station, special prizes and the crowning of a four-legged Prom King and Queen. Free to attend. Costume contest participants are asked to make a $15 donation to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Visit

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NASA expert talks about upcoming space events

Four planets are visible in the early morning sky through the end of April.

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – There’s rarely ever a lull in things to see in the night sky. From the International Space Station, to the latest meteor showers, to planets that look like stars. Tony Rice, Ambassador at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stopped by 7@four to discuss several events happening in the night sky in the coming weeks. Here are a few things to look out for.

Four planets are visible in the early morning sky through the end of April.
Four planets are visible in the early morning sky through the end of April.(WDBJ7)


For those early-risers, there’s a special treat to see 45 minutes before sunrise through the end of April. Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn will be visible just before sunrise in the southeastern sky. No binoculars needed, although, Mars will be quite faint. All will be low on the horizon, so seeing them from extremely deep valley locations will require being patient until they are far enough above the horizon just before sunrise.

Through the end of April Approx: 5:00 AM until Sunrise Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn Easy for all observers. Depends on cloud conditions.


In May, we’re treated to another Total Lunar Eclipse. This is when the moon entirely enters the Earth’s shadow, and depending on what’s in the atmosphere at the time, the moon can have an orange tint. A total lunar eclipse is completely safe to view and it’s not extremely late at night either, entering totality just after midnight on May 16th.

Here’s a look at the times below. Again, this should be a great viewing as long as the weather cooperates.

The moon will enter the Earth's shadow in the total lunar eclipse Sunday evening, May 15th.
The moon will enter the Earth’s shadow in the total lunar eclipse Sunday evening, May 15th.(WDBJ7)

Be sure to visit our Astronomy section for updated night sky happenings and Space Station viewing times.

Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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StartUP SSM, Nothern Credit Union partner to host Startup Talks events

StartUP SSM, Nothern Credit Union partner to host Startup Talks events

Event to take place May 4 at 6 p.m. in the Steamfitters Lounge

StartUP Sault Ste. Marie and Northern Credit Union are partnering up to host Startup Talks events, celebrating and hearing from some of Sault Ste. Marie’s top entrepreneurs. 

The next event is set to take place May 4 at 6 p.m. in the Steamfitters Lounge (in the Machine Shop), where local entrepreneur and investor Kevin Rusnell, CEO of Dig Inc. and co-owner of Peace restaurant will “talk about his entrepreneurial journey since the age of 12, including his early roots in web design, and computer camps for kids and how he moved on to digital web analytics, becoming CEO and majority shareholder of Dig Inc.,” a news release issued today states. 

Seating for this in-person event is limited. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here.

For more information, see the full release below. 

StartUP Sault Ste. Marie is thrilled to team up with Northern Credit Union to host Startup Talks events to celebrate and hear the entrepreneurial journeys of some of Sault Ste. Marie’s top entrepreneurs. Past entrepreneurs featured have included Jeff Elgie, CEO of Village Media and Joe Ruscio, President of Joe Ruscio Professional Corporation.

Join us on May 4 at 6 p.m. in the Steamfitters Lounge (in the Machine Shop), where our featured guest will be local entrepreneur and investor Kevin Rusnell, CEO of Dig Inc. and co-owner of Peace restaurant.

Kevin will talk about his entrepreneurial journey since the age of 12, including his early roots in web design, and computer camps for kids and how he moved on to digital web analytics, becoming CEO and majority shareholder of Dig Inc. Kevin is involved with several other local ventures and most recently, as co-owner, opened Sault Ste. Marie’s newest restaurant.

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.

“The Sault has so many successful entrepreneurs and innovators, but we rarely find out firsthand, the steps they took to achieve success and the challenges they overcame to get here,” states Nevin Buconjic, president, StartUP Sault. “Startup Talks is our platform to learn more about local entrepreneurs and hear their stories directly. It is important and enlightening to hear the journeys of successful entrepreneurs. We are excited to hear Kevin’s story and celebrate local success.”

Seating for this in-person event is limited. Tickets are $5.00 and includes coffee, tea and snacks. Cash bar will be available.

Tickets can be purchased at the following link.

This event is also part of the inaugural Sault Startup Week in cooperation with the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Northern Ontario Angels and more.

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CU Boulder’s Ed Talks to Explore Political Courage – Community Events

Don’t miss CU Boulder’s Ed Talks, a series of short, engaging talks that address some of today’s most pressing issues in education and beyond.

This virtual event will focus on political courage. What does it mean to act from a place of political courage in these challenging and precarious times when so many aspects of public education and even one’s own identity, humanity, and dignity are under fire? Inspired by TED Talks, these short talks will cover book censorship, gender and sexual diversity in schools, institutional violence, personal and powerful battles for inclusive higher education and STEM opportunities, and more.

The Spring 2022 Ed Talks event will be held virtually, and the event is free and open to the public. Virtual talks will be followed by a live Q&A with the speakers.

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China proposes visits, events to revive India talks

China proposes visits, events to revive India talks

Two years into the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Beijing has reached out to New Delhi to revive bilateral dialogue and set the stage for the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in China later this year.

Beijing has proposed a series of events to kickstart the dialogue, starting with possible high-level visits from both sides.

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To begin with, Beijing has proposed a visit by Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India as early as this month. This is to be followed by a reciprocal visit by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The Chinese side has also proposed a series of high-level visits by its top Politburo members and key officials in President Xi Jinping’s regime.

The Chinese have also proposed an ‘India-China Civilization Dialogue’ to be held in both countries. They have also proposed an India-China Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum and an India-China Film Forum.

But China’s ultimate and clear objective is to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the in-person BRICS summit which will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin as well. China, which also holds the chair for the RIC (Russia-India-China) trilateral this year, could also host the leaders’ summit on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

In the current circumstances, it is politically difficult for Modi to attend an in-person meeting with Xi — when the border standoff has still not been resolved. Their last face-to-face meeting was in Brazil for the BRICS summit in November 2019. In October 2019, Xi had visited India for an informal summit in Mahabalipuram.

The last BRICS summit to take place in China was in Xiamen in September 2017 which was attended by Modi. In fact, the Doklam border standoff was resolved after two-and-half months, just before the BRICS summit.

This time, by reaching out with a proposed Foreign Minister-level visit, Beijing is signalling that it is keen to bring ties back on track.


A window opens

But on the ground, from New Delhi’s perspective, that’s easier said than done. The standoff in eastern Ladakh began on May 5, 2020 following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in February 2021, and in the Gogra area in August. While troops are still to disengage in two other areas, the broader de-escalation is nowhere near the horizon. The standoff remains unresolved with about 50,000 troops amassed on either side of the LAC.

A potential window of opportunity to unlock the standoff exists: the 14th BRICS summit in 2022 is going to be hosted by China. Just like Doklam border stand-off was resolved days before the summit in September 2017 in Xiamen, officials feel there is a lever to be used.

The timing for beginning the groundwork for the proposed BRICS summit is also significant – Russia is facing a global opprobrium for its war on Ukraine. One of the members of BRICS, Russia will be part of the summit, and standing with the Russian leader will be perceived as an endorsement of sorts.

From Delhi’s calculus, Beijing’s outreach is an opportunity since two years of strained ties has led to the slide of gains made in the last three decades. While India has always maintained that the border situation has adversely impacted bilateral ties, China has insisted that the border dispute should be handled appropriately and the larger picture of bilateral ties should be kept in mind.


This divergence of approach has meant that there have been no bilateral visits, although there have been focussed bilateral meetings between Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers in other countries, perceived to be neutral venues like Russia and Tajikistan. The two sides have also participated in several multilateral summits including virtual summits of BRICS, G-20, SCO among others.

Officials said New Delhi’s approach that three “mutuals” are required to mend strained ties between India and China is key. In January 2021, Jaishankar had described the three “mutuals” as mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests and said these were determining factors for ties.

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Painting party, live music, art talks on tap at Deer Lake Gallery

Painting party, live music, art talks on tap at Deer Lake Gallery

Find arty fun for folks of all ages at Burnaby Arts Council’s gallery.

Live arts have returned in full force – and the Burnaby Arts Council is ready to celebrate. 

The arts council’s Deer Lake Gallery has some special events going on in March.

Here’s a few options for those who are eager to get back out into the world again:

Paint party: Saturday, March 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

Are you ready to paint?

Enjoy an evening with paint, drinks, snacks and good company, as arts council member and local artist Alyx Essers-Silverman leads a paint-along with step-by-step instructions.

No experience is needed, just your enthusiasm to follow along and have fun. The ticket price includes all art supplies, plus a drink of your choice. Light snacks will also be provided.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for children. One ticket includes a drink, apron, and all painting supplies. Sign up in advance through Eventbrite.


Art Talks artists meet and greet: Saturday, March 19, noon to 4 p.m.

You can drop in to the gallery to meet artists participating in the current exhibition, Art Talks.The final of three Saturday drop-ins happens this weekend (March 19) with artists Dorothy Doherty and Sande Walters.


Art Talks closing reception: Friday, March 25, 3 to 5 p.m.

With the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, the gallery was only able to host a virtual opening for the show – so it’s making up for it with a live, in-person closing reception. All the artists will be on hand to celebrate the show one final time.

Keep an eye on the arts council’s website for full details as the reception approaches.


Live at the Gallery: Classy with Will Clements, Sunday, March 26, 6 to 8 p.m.

With Live at the Gallery, the arts council connects the visual and the musical arts, and the fans of both, to present live music in the gallery setting.

This performance series features all kinds of performers, from the sweet sounds of classical music to chilled-out beats of local folk bands. 

The coming session features “classy friends, fancy clothes, and an evening with drinks, snacks and jazz,” as the arts council bills it.

It features Will Clements, a Vancouver-based performer, educator, recording artists and arranger – who’s been described by CBC Music as having a “fantastic and easy voice.”

Register for the session at Eventbrite.


What to know about COVID-19 protocols at Deer Lake Gallery

If you just want to drop in to the gallery, you don’t require proof of vaccination, but if you’re attending an event (including all of those listed above), you will need to show your proof of double vaccination (18+ years old) with a piece of government-issued photo ID.

For youth, the following policy applies:

Youth aged 12 to 18 can carry their own BC Vaccine Card or have a trusted adult carry it for them. Youth are not required to show valid government photo ID.

  • 12-year-olds only need to show proof of one dose of vaccine
  • 13- to 18-year-olds need to show proof of two doses of vaccine

Masks are required while indoors at all times for everyone who enters the gallery or participates in an event.

The gallery is at 6584 Deer Lake Ave.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.

Email Julie,

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Great range of events and talks as Crawley WORDfest goes live

Great range of events and talks as Crawley WORDfest goes live
Family day at Crawley library

Running from March 3-31, it boasts around 22 events aiming to involve all the community and please all tastes in a celebration of words and writing.

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Among the guests will be Sussex Newspapers’ group arts editor Phil Hewitt (March 22) who will be talking about his book Outrunning The Demons, his tale of coping with trauma after he was stabbed, punched, kicked and left for dead in a brutal Cape Town mugging.

Karen Edwards, one of the festival’s small group of organisers, said they were delighted to be back to the kind of festival they used to give. In 2020 the lockdown cut the festival in half and in 2021 the festival moved successfully online.

In fact, so successfully that this year’s will be a hybrid festival with a number of events taking place on Zoom in addition to the live events.

“Last year online went very, very well,” Karen said. “One of the most popular things we had on Zoom was Doodling Is Good For You.

“There was a workshop last year which had a massive crowd and that is coming back again on Zoom this year which is great.

“So this year is more or less back to normal.

“We have had to find another venue for some events but part of our brief was trying to get to other venues as well just to spread to other parts of the town. And as I say, we’re very much a hybrid festival this year.

“In all there will be about 22 events. Some of them are workshops.

“We’ve got a songwriting and performers workshop and we’ll have two of those and we have got a poetry and prose workshop as well.”

For some of the live events they have had to reduce capacity.

“But we are hoping now things are relaxing a bit more the council will allow us to increase the numbers a bit more again.

“There’s a group of about five or six of us that put this on and our aim is to engage the people of Crawley with a variety of literary and wordy events.

“We’re trying to get something for all the age groups and for all interests, for people that enjoy reading and for people that enjoy writing and for people that enjoy watching performances.

“We’ve got a comedy night at the end. We have got a quiz night as well. We’ve got a local theatre company doing Victorian ghost tales and we’ve also got author panels. We’ve got a crime panel and we’ve got a romantic novelist panel.

“And we’re also trying to get other groups in Crawley involved as well in the programme just so that we can bring all those groups together.”

Thursday, March 3: John Wright, Zoom, free, 7pm. A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries.

Friday, March 4: The Platform workshop, Hawth Loft, 7.30pm, free songwriter/performer workshop.

Saturday, March 5: Family Day, The Charis Centre, 1-4pm, free. Join children’s authors and illustrators Simon James Green, Krina Patel-Sage & Vashti Hardy – live; Sally Nicholls, Christina Dendy & Katie Rewse – Zoom.

Tuesday, March 8: Giving out commissioned poem and a rose, County Mall, 10am-3pm, free. DiverseCrawley celebrate International Women’s Day with a commissioned poem.

Thursday, March 10: Kim McCabe – From Daughter to Woman, Zoom, 7.30pm, free. Kim will be discussing practical ways to support the journey through adolescence.

Friday, March 11: Book Club Special – Love and Danger, The Charis Centre, 7.30pm, free. Romantic novelists Julia Wilde, Norma Curtis with Derek Farrell host discussing WW2 as the setting.

Friday, March 11: The Platform workshop, Hawth Loft, 7.30pm. Songwriter/performer workshop.

Saturday, March 12: Doodle For wellbeing, Zoom, 2pm, free. Jo Harrison – artist and illustrator.

Wednesday, March 16: Writer’s Circle workshop open workshop, Crawley Museum, 10am.Museum – Crawley in Lockdown.

Thursday, March 17: Crime panel – Lying for a Living, Crawley Library, 7pm, £5. Crime authors MK Hill, Neil Broadfoot and Susi Holliday with Derek Farrell host

Tuesday, March 22: Phil Hewitt, Crawley Library, 7pm, £3, Outrunning the Demons – how we can overcome trauma. Phil survived a knife attack in 2016.

For the latest breaking news where you live in Sussex, follow us on Twitter @Sussex_World and like us on Facebook @SussexWorldUK

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Billy Boughey Talks About Elevating the Art of Event Planning

Billy Boughey Talks About Elevating the Art of Event Planning

Billy Boughey, Founder and President of Elevate Experiences, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.

Billy Boughey was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.

Billy Boughey, Founder and President of Elevate Experiences, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.

Billy Boughey, Founder and President of Elevate Experiences, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.

Beverly Hills , Feb. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Business event planner Billy Boughey talks with Mission Matters about leading Elevate Experiences and shares his techniques to make virtual events more engaging. He also discusses his first book and the inspiration behind it.

Listen to the complete interview of Billy Boughey with Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.

What mission matters to you?

Boughey believes everybody is born with an innate desire to be great, and through Elevate Experiences, his team inspires people to elevate their own lives. “Our mission is to help people get that one percent better in what they do,” he says.

Driven to build a brand on a foundation of internal and external trust alike, he recalls the moment he realized his inclination toward the events industry, remembering the setup of a Janet Jackson concert. Since then, he says, he’s been on a mission to create experiences, both live and virtual, that elevate people.

Tell us more about your path to founding Elevate Experiences.

Boughey says his beginnings were humble, DJing at weddings and gradually learning the art of engaging with people, which eventually led to bigger projects. “Elevate has been built on this idea that there is creativity around every single corner, and that the storytelling that you can do at your event experiences inspires your team members to do better… and inspires customers to pay full price,” he laughs. Today, Elevate Experiences is an agency that plans and produces in-person, virtual, and hybrid events for businesses and nonprofits.

Losing a significant amount of revenue from planned in-person events when the pandemic hit, he says he was forced to see things from a new perspective. “Being a person of faith, it felt like God spoke to me and gave me this idea of CPR,” he says: C standing for ‘cancel,’ P standing for ‘postpone,’ and R standing for ‘reimagining,’ or innovating and driving out solutions to combat the challenge. That third component, he says, is where virtual events came vividly into the picture.

You were on TV with Jimmy Fallon. What was that experience like?

Recalling the day he was selected to participate in an audience interaction segment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Boughey describes its legendary house band, The Roots, as being “entirely off the charts” and cheerfully recounts the moment he started freestyle-rapping with the band.

The experience positively impacted the trajectory of his business, and when asked what rearview advice he could give as a result, he says, “You all are gonna have your moment to do something that’s sort of (an) out-of-body experience, and you never know the fruit on the other side of that.”

Tell us about your book, Culture Reconstructed.

Boughey says he was inspired to write a book after people nudged him to put his experiences to paper. As a result, Culture Reconstructed highlights how to rebuild a successful workplace culture. A key takeaway: “I just put in place the freedom to let people be the best versions of them(selves), challenge them, and help them grow.”

Of the challenges of the past two years, he shares, “The first thing we did when the pandemic began is started taking all of the interactive games, called ‘moments of engagement,’ and creating a YouTube channel around it. It’s all about ice-breakers that you can do virtually and in-person.”

What’s next for Elevate Experiences?

Continuing to organize events through the holiday season and into 2022, Boughey says he looks forward to hosting more hybrid events with both virtual and in-person components. He also shares his plans for an NFT project called Elevator Labs and a creator currency called Elevate Coin.

“We’re just going to keep plugging (away) and loving people and keep making the best next decision that we can,” he says.

To learn more, visit Elevate Experiences.

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