3 Theme Party Ideas from Rock Concerts

Elton John, meetings
Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano is the focal point of his concerts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Rock bands offer a lot of insight on how to take your theme party to the next level.

We looked at three very different musicians for inspiration.

Put the theme into practice

At a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation featuring Sting and Katy Perry, among others, host George Stephanopoulos managed to get the nearly 3,000 people in the audience to meditate for three minutes—or at least to remain quiet and respect those who did. The nonprofit created by the director of Blue Velvet promotes transcendental meditation for stress control, and the performers on stage were dedicated practitioners and advocates. The key is to build activities that immerse attendees into the theme. That could be everything from dressing them in costume to including themed performances or games/contests.

Add video screens

The 23-year-old Ariana Grande, who grew up with her audience as she starred in Nickelodeon sitcoms, themes her concerts with a message of strength and independence. She does so using a video wall and word collages creates by collage artist Barbara Krueger. As words like ”EMPOWERED,” “STRONG” “LADYLIKE” and “FEMALE” flash in all caps, concert-goers are not only enjoying the show but feeling an emotional connection to its message. AV can be used the same way at theme parties, to enhance the event with words and messages that leave a powerful impression.

Choose a central prop

For Elton John, it is the “million dollar piano,” an amazing instrument created for him by Yamaha. With more than 68 LED video screens, it took almost four years to design and build. Not only is it the focal point of his concerts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, but also a marketing tool for Yamaha and Caesars Palace. Work with your event planner to create a focal point for your theme. Not only can you use it for promotion, but it will help keep the event in the minds of attendees long after it ends.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.