Having worked in the entertainment business for 14 years, Hassan Abaza has established himself as one of Egypt’s premier party and event planners. On the occasion of the opening of his newest project, Seasons Bistro on the North Coast, we spoke to Abaza about his exciting new venture, his journey in event planning and his future plans…
Tell us about yourself.
I am the owner of Rimedia Events and I’ve been in the business for 14 years now. 50 percent of my business was bought by another company recently and we are now expanding our activities. We specialise in various kinds of events including launch events, booth productions, concept creation, furniture rental, furniture manufacturing, as well as our own events and parties. Recently we’ve been organizing weddings too. We are able to show the bride and groom a three dimensional visual of the venue so that they can realistically envision their big day before it actually takes place. We also provide the furniture and setup for the weddings, which is not so common in the market here. We plan just two to three weddings per year so as to avoid becoming repetitive.
How did you get into the event planning industry?
It all started as a coincidence 14 years ago when my brother Fayez Abaza planned an Iftar charity event during Ramdan. He suggested that I use the same venue for Sohour nights, so I started to look for furniture to rent but it was too expensive back then. At that point I thought to myself, why not produce my own furniture? That’s when I started my events planning career.
We hear you’re opening Seasons Bistro this summer on the North Coast. Tell us more about it.
This summer we are aiming to establish a relaxing venue as everyone is anticipating a chilled summer. It’s always nice to party, but you don’t want to do that every day. That’s why I decided to open Seasons Bistro in Hacienda’s El Corte Mall. It will serve exotic international cuisine and will be operated by a French chef, Pascal Moran. And of course, there will be shisha too. Rimedia designers created a simple yet sophisticated venue, and our work with the 3D visuals helped it come beautifully to life. We will also be playing great music tracks we’ve compiled from Egypt’s top Djs. We are also planning two parties in one of the compounds, but I prefer we keep it on the low for now.
What was your most successful or favorite event?
Actually three events come to mind. The first event is the Economic Forum Party in Sharm El Sheikh. Naguib Sawiris asked me to organize an after party for the Economic Forum for 3000 guests just two weeks prior to the event. I took it as a challenge and worked on it right away. Despite the many obstacles we faced as we were setting up in the middle of the Economic Forum and security measurements were extreme, we were able to organise an outstanding party with only a quarter of the workers needed allowed in. Sawiris is one of my idols so I didn’t want to disappoint him, and I still remember the time when he walked into the event and complemented me. I was really proud of my team and myself. The second event was the Novo event for the Bank Audi launch. With Bank Audi’s great marketing team, we were able to transform the Four Seasons ballroom into a futuristic spaceship in only eight hours. This event was also a big challenge in terms of time and implementation. The third event, was the Hacienda Davidoff beach party. I remember guests felt like they were abroad as soon as they entered the venue. I focused on every detail and thankfully it turned out to be one of the best summer events two years ago.
What do you think of the entertainment industry in Egypt?
I think the entertainment business is still young in Egypt and we have great potential to be placed on the international calendar. Unfortunately there are only four or five other companies working in the entertainment business and the rest basically do not grasp the idea of entertaining guests. All they care about is their profit, and that is definitely not Rimedia’s goal.
What are your future plans?
Hopefully in 2016 and 2017 we will create events that target larger groups of people. Nowadays events companies basically target four to five thousand people, who are all part of the same social circle; but ideally we should be targeting 30 to 50 thousand people for concerts and events. Big concerts could bring back tourism; Imagine going to Adele’s concert by the Pyramids! Instead of a dull and boring stadium. If we create an amazing setup with reasonable offers, we could lead the concert market in the Middle East and attract tourists from all over the world. Our touristic attractions are not being used properly. We have great potential, we just need the guts and brand new ideas.
Are you thinking of opening a venue in Cairo?
No, I am focusing more on one day events and weekly events. I like to build my ideas in a day and start on a new project the day after, even though it hurts when you build something that looks glamorous for just a day or two then it’s put to the ground in an hour. But the achievement and results are always worth the hassle.