Anyone hoping to put on the kind of rollicking, rip-roaring party that gets the crowd on its feet can always turn to one dependable event for inspiration: Bongo’s Bingo.
An epic promotion famed for putting a boisterous spin on a centuries-old card-playing game, Bongo’s is – on the surface – absolute mayhem.
Each new party is as rowdy as the last, with excitable toastmasters weighing in between bursts of music, head-slapping dance-offs, and bizarre prize revelations that range from giant unicorns to Henry Hoovers.
But beyond the frenzied stages, winding conga lines and roof-shaking decibels, there’s a team at work making it all tick. The chaos is organised. And the promotion is a phenomenon.
Bongo’s Bingo has, to date, sold over 1.5 million tickets – appearing in 50 countries and over 150 private hire events. A regular stop-off is Manchester – and the responsibility of implementing these crazy shows in the Rainy City has fallen to events company Square Fish.
Neil Lofthouse – co-founder of the firm alongside his sister Steph – has been working with Bongo’s Bingo for years to make the magic happen at Albert Hall in a previous role.
Their partnership has proven such a success, in fact, that Square Fish has now been chosen to organise bespoke Bongo’s shows that can be booked by organisations for special one-off events.
Ultimately, this means audiences can enjoy the intense, high-energy atmosphere of a classic Bongo’s night – only with the formula tweaked to fit the occasion.
Square Fish’s mission is to level up the entertainment and tailor shows to the client – whether it’s a private corporate party, conference, awards show or business festival.
Performances run for around two-and-a-half hours, featuring electric rounds of bingo buoyed by Bongo-branded extravagance.
Neil said that he and his sibling Steph set up the events business to realise their ‘dream’ of running a firm together as a family. Manchester’s synonymy with music made this city the obvious geographic spot to get things going.
Just months after launching, a big name like Bongo’s has put its faith in Square Fish to manage the madness of its local shows.
Neil stated: “Manchester is a city like no other, the industry and people that support it are incredible. Manchester offers it all, from fresh and creative concepts, incredible music, and club scene to a thriving event sector.
“The events industry has been incredibly challenging, especially with the pandemic and the aftermath. We wanted to find a way to keep pushing forward and adapt our offering so we all could come out of the other side – we switched our business model to offer virtual experiences and created Boxspoke the bespoke gifting experience.
“We’ve got a great partnership with Bongo’s now and it’s hugely exciting to work with them.”
As well as hosting virtual shows for thousands of viewers via Boxspoke and booming live experiences for bonkers crowds at Bongo’s, Square Fish has also established itself as an invaluable asset when it comes to the nuts and bolts of creating events.
The company can curate special lineups to ensure unforgettable shows, with a dedicated team handling all production and concept design work. Square Fish also operates as a ‘Venue Finder’: Helping clients pinpoint the perfect location for events that fit requirements, budget and vision.
The fact that Neil and Steph’s startup has thrived in such testing surroundings is testament to its capabilities – but the founders believe this is only the beginning.
“The future is bright for Square Fish and Manchester,” Neil clarified.
“We are super excited to have grown the team and can’t wait to share exciting upcoming projects very soon.”
It sounds like the Square Fish parties are only going to get bigger, wilder and more ambitious as we move into 2022. If that sounds like your bag, it’s worth reaching out. A private Bongo’s Bingo is guaranteed to be a night that lives long in the memory.
If you fancy hosting a Bongo’s Bingo show for your business, you can contact Square Fish to talk arrangements via: [email protected].
You can also learn more about Square Fish and what they’re doing for the local events industry via their official website: https://squarefishevents.co.uk/
Gigs & Nightlife
Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 bring a night of West Coast classics to Manchester’s AO Arena
The Manc Audio
Last night the AO arena found itself deep inside the West Coast, as Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 gave Manchester the ‘High Rollers Tour experience’. The 90s and Noughties at its finest.
2000s rap heavyweights D12 opened the show for a Manchester crowd that began filling the AO Arena from the moment the doors opened.
The Detroit legends paid homage to their heyday years with Eminem performing tracks like ‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Purple Pills’ to get the crowd rolling back the years.
Serving as a brilliant support act for headliners, they did plenty more than just warm up the once-freezing fans on a frosty night in Manchester and before we knew it, Cypress Hill stepped up to set the arena alight.
Sen Dog, B-Real, DJ Lord and Eric ‘Bobo’ Correa demonstrated exactly how and why they have stayed in the game for more than 32 years now.
Lord commanded the turntables with a level of skill that’s becoming more of a rarity these days, intertwining with Bobo’s unfathomably fast and rhythmic percussion, all whilst B-Real and Sen Dog worked a lively crowd to tracks like ”Dr Greenthumb’, ‘Rock Superstar’ and ‘Hits from the Bong’.
However, the real reminder of just how crazy their sets can be at times came when they dropped the iconic ‘Insane In The Brain’. Old-school lyricism, marijuana-filled graphics on the big screen and a crowd clearly breathing just as much of the ‘atmosphere’ as B-Real himself, is was like Cali had been transported to Manny.
And then Ice Cube arrived. Chills, pun intended.
Proving to everyone in the building that he’s still got it and then some, his arrival at the Arena was his first return to the UK since 2011, and oh how he’s been missed.
Cube owned the stage; no dancers, no gimmicks — just himself and long-time partner in crime WC giving everyone a legendary recap of a legendary career all the way back to the 80s.
From ‘Natural Born Killaz’ to ‘Why We Thugs’ and, of course, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the duo showed precisely what an OG can really do. It felt like an honour to watch the N.W.A legend Crip-walking across the stage as a reel of film clips played behind him. The crowd were starstruck and rightly so.
One of the greatest MCs to ever do it even blessed us with arguably one of the greatest diss tracks of all time, ‘No Vaseline’, in which he kills off four rappers and a DJ — and makes sure nobody forgets. Mint.
As he asks the crowd if they want one more, he’s met with an inevitable roar of cheers and applause four times over and then, as he’s done a thousand times before, he signed off by letting everyone know that ‘It Was a Good Day’. Perfection.
It was a truly special performance for those inside the AO on Thursday night and one which we can guarantee no one will be forgetting any time soon. Still going 35 years strong, that was all about Ice Cube making a point of reminding everyone why he’s still one of the best in the game.