For three seasons Eight Ray Music have been the preferred live music entertainment supplier for Arsenal FC. Prior to this, Arsenal had never used music within their corporate entertainment packages.
In those three years Arsenal have won two FA Cups and retained Champions League football; we don’t feel it’s a coincidence.
Such success is welcome at Eight Ray Music, not only because Director Jayson Jaurigue (JJ) is an Arsenal fan but also because the team provide acts for home, cup and Champions League games.
Initially, Arsenal contacted Eight Ray about the possibility of using music within their three corporate club levels. This was thanks to the fact that Kelly Walsh, the Premium Tier Experience Manager for Arsenal, had formerly worked with Eight Ray Music during her time with Keith Prowse.
Being new to Arsenal, Kelly was keen to bring her own unique influence to help improve the corporate club levels at the Emirates Stadium.
With a positive experience of working alongside Eight Ray Music, thanks to the team’s partnership with Keith Prowse, Kelly contacted the team to arrange a meeting.
As with any corporate contract, there are plenty of decision makers to impress before a deal can go through and whilst Kelly’s recommendation held weight, the team still had to prove that the Eight Ray service could work adeptly at Emirates Stadium.
This was no mean feat. With three hospitality clubs, of differing sizes, catering to different membership levels, Arsenal afford a comprehensive corporate experience at The Emirates.
This meant the complimentary music within each club level would have to mirror the exquisite service and entertainment each already provided.
With this the first time live music entertainment had been incorporated into any of Arsenal’s club levels, the Eight Ray service was under close scrutiny.
Each club is home to a different level of club member. Firstly, you have the Diamond Club, a prestigious enclosure situated in prime territory overlooking the halfway line, where Raymond Blanc’s protégé is the resident chef. The Diamond Club is for high-end members and many of the Arsenal’s injured players use it to watch the games they are unavailable for.
Unsurprisingly, security is tight around The Diamond Club and this can prove logistically difficult for bands carrying heavy equipment. It also means that musicians would have to arrive even earlier than usual, to clear security and complete their sound-checks.
Eight Ray only includes highly professional musicians within its roster, but this still represented an unusual scenario. With both performers and the team handling the situation with aplomb, each work together to ensure the punctuality and correct procedures are met before each game.
The Diamond Club Itself
Guests who visit each club are there to watch the football. The idea behind providing live music is to add to the ambience and allure of each level without detracting from the main event: the match itself. Therefore, Arsenal were keen for performers to remain as background music.
Just as the clientele of each club is unique so is the construction of each club level. The Diamond Club itself is small in size and an intimate affair, which makes it an unsuitable venue for a full band or a DJ. Instead, the team decided to use solo acts within the Diamond Club, a decision that has proven so successful that a solo act has been used in the Diamond Club for the complete duration of the contract so far.
The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak is a much larger venue at approximately seven times the size of the Diamond Club. With this additional capacity, there is also an opportunity to provide slightly more upbeat music.
With this in mind, the Royal Oak seemed the perfect venue for a four-piece band, so the team scheduled this in. Our director JJ personally oversaw the entertainment and, after liaising with the rest of the team, he felt that the band were too intrusive within the Royal Oak.
This was due to the venue’s high ceiling boosting the sound-level, making the music too overbearing. JJ decided, at the cost of a lower commission, that a four-piece were simply too loud for the venue and instead suggested the use of a high-energy acoustic duo. He chose The Revue Duo to take on the role. Providing the perfect volume so as not to feel intrusive yet loud and energised enough to create a fun atmosphere, The Revue were the perfect match for the Royal Oak.
The WM Club
The WM Club is a discrete enclosure situated away from the Royal Oak. Larger and arguably less high-end than the Diamond Club, the WM Club still represents exquisite corporate luxury.
Without the expanse of the Royal Oak, The WM Club represents another completely different venue within Arsenal’s corporate repertoire.
Again, it was of the utmost importance to ascertain the correct levels of sound to ensure an enjoyable experience for the guests attending the match.
With the additional space afforded, the team could afford to offer a slightly more imposing performer. Still, they had to be careful not to provide something too intrusive.
With expert experience providing background acts for corporate enclosures of a similar size for Keith Prowse at Wimbledon, Aegon and the Henley Regatta, the team decided that a saxophonist, such as Stevie Jones, would be the optimum choice.
The success of the live music within each enclosure has ensured Arsenal and Eight Ray Music’s relationship has now progressed into its fourth year.
Whilst the quality of the acts could never be questioned, Arsenal and Eight Ray’s strong relationship is built upon finer details too. These include the professionalism of Eight Ray’s acts, the ability of the in-house team to ensure the smooth running of all the performances and Eight Ray’s ability to be flexible and solve issues; such as swapping the loud four-piece for a lively, yet unobtrusive duo.
Eight Ray’s commitment to afford the best possible service has kept Arsenal FC’s corporate clientele extremely happy; we’re sure the two FA Cups helped a bit too… But the strength of the relationship is best highlighted by the fact that Eight Ray Music have now been chosen as the preferred supplier for Emirates Stadium’s events team, who specialise in providing exceptional acts for the frequent private parties held within the stadium.