This summer, our Chief Engagement Officer Phil White and his family are about to become full-time Californians, as they venture to San Francisco to launch the upstage West Coast office. This is a monumental step for upstage (and for Phil!) so we began to think about other Brits that have already leaped across the pond to engage with the USA.

The British Invasion of the mid-1960s was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. Bands like The Hollies, The Who and The Kinks were catapulted into superstardom, not forgetting the unstoppable wave of Beatlemania. The cogs began to whir, so we hatched a plan…

Salon Privé is an evening of engagement, a regular slot on the upstage UK calendar, we thought it was time to for the inaugural USA edition. The format is simple; bring people together for dinner and inspirational conversation. Harking back to the Salons of the late 16th century, conversation is typically guided by an inspiring thought-leader, an expert in their field. We were joined by Ben Hammersley, editor-at-large of WIRED magazine, futurist and technology guru, who fit the bill to a T. Originally from the UK, Ben now resides in L.A. making him the perfect addition to our motley crew of expat invaders.

When thinking of artists like The Beatles, there was only one place to go for inspiration – our friends at The San Francisco Art Exchange, Jim Hartley and Theron Kabric. The SFAE was established in 1983 and now represents over seventy diverse artists, whose work focusses on the legends of the music industry. We shared our vision with them, and thankfully, they decided to join the party.

Working alongside The Clift Hotel, we created an immersive gallery-cum-dining room, showcasing the SFAE’s invaluable British Invasion collection. Ben kicked off proceedings to discuss how future technologies will shape the events industry, which opened the forum for our guests to share their thoughts. Themes of disruption were at the forefront of conversation, with the evening culminating in a declaration: “Be bold, take risks and don’t be afraid to effect change”.

The engagement invasion has begun….