Gatsby & Drag Immersive Party with Erika Riekki

On today’s episode, host Narmeen Kamran talks to Erika Riekki, a recent MA Events and Experience Management graduate from Goldsmiths University. Describing her introduction to the events industry as an “accident”, Erika had the opportunity to work as a Venue Manager during her first time living in the UK on a language course at Education First (EF). After graduating from her BSc in Marketing and Management, Erika took a gap year to decide if she wanted to continue within the industry, and worked as a Host Family Recruiter and Assistant Activities Manager. Having confirmed her interest in events, she began her Master’s, graduated last year and is now an Assistant Producer at Oulu2026 which is based in Finland, where she is from. 

Erika’s dream event would be a party with a “little bit of everything” she likes, set in a castle or manor with an overarching Great Gatsby theme. However, each room of the venue would have a different sub-theme, such as a drag show, arcade games and immersive technology so the guests “would never know what’s behind the next door”. Taking place in a magnificent old castle set in the UK countryside, Erika wants anyone interested in attending the event to be able to have the chance to do so. In order to still feel exclusive, the castle would fit a few hundred guests in it’s 50 rooms.

Examples of these rooms with varying themes and decor would be a room dedicated to a drag show, performances and bingo, as Erika is a big fan of drag as an art form. Secondly, taking inspiration from a visit to South Korea and Japan, Erika would like to incorporate next-level technologies within a room. Additionally, an arcade room would feature games, as although they are notoriously hard to win, Erika loves how fun they are to play. As Erika comes from Northern Finland where temperatures are regularly below 0°C, a winter-themed room would be filled with snow so attendees could make snowmen, go sledding and play in the snow. Lastly, a main room would tie in the overarching theme of an extravagant Gatsby party, whereby the guests could dance to a live orchestra playing remixes of current artists with orchestral pieces. Artists performing at the event include Harry Styles, who Erika wouldn’t mind allowing to take creative control of the whole event, as long as he attends…! All artists invited would also be allowed to design the theme of their own room, which they would hang out and perform in throughout the event. 

Rather than having catering throughout the event, Erika wants a room to be dedicated to food and guests would be tasked with finding the room when they feel hungry. However, drinks such as prosecco and champagne would be found in all rooms of the party. Specifically, as Erika believes there’s nothing better than chocolate and pizza, she would love a dessert-themed room filled with a range of sweet treats, alongside a room in partnership with Domino’s pizza.  As Erika prefers to work with and support independent brands and artists, she would like to focus on smaller and younger organisations throughout the rest of the event. 

Guests that Erika would want to invite (other than Harry Styles!) would be her parents, as they have never attended an event that she has organised before and would love for them to have the chance to do so. A typical guest attending the event would arrive in the late evening or night time to a set of grand gates and be greeted by waiters holding champagne trays as they reach the end of the driveway and come out their cars. Entering the main hall, music would be playing and the attendees would be free to walk around, go into whichever rooms they would like and party throughout the night. Those working at the event and the staff within each room would be dressed in coordinating uniforms that match their room’s theme, to add to the immersive aspect of the event. 

Erika’s favourite event to have worked on was “Picasso and Paper” in February 2020, a Picasso-themed art exhibition centered around the medium of paper as part of the Royal Academy of Arts, alongside her classmates and colleagues from Goldsmiths University. As it was the first event within the cultural sector that she had the chance to work on and Erika wants to work within cultural events in the future, it holds a special place in her heart. Ultimately, Erika’s dream job and career goal would be to work independently freelancing and obtain work herself, as she enjoys the freedom it affords her to travel.

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