Stu Katzen doesn’t leave for any event without his toolbox, and he suggests neither should you.

My alarm goes off, it’s 9.30am and I am due onsite at 11am for bump in, easy! 400 guests, three course sit-down dinner and bump in includes AV, styling and infrastructure.

I dress, donning my fav suit (looking sharp Stu) and head out. The traffic is light and I arrive early. Boom! I get a Hollywood park right outside the venue, the meter is broken and I get free parking, no way!

AV has already started and is well underway. Tables and chairs are set out and every chair is perfectly placed. I see my technical director talking (and laughing) with the venue functions manager… something is wrong there. Nope. They both see me, walk over smiling and advise me that everything is on track and will be ready early today.

Flowers are sitting in the corner ready to go on tables, band gear is in another corner awaiting line checks. What is going on here? I don’t even need my trusty event tool box. Everything is perfect. I smile, feeling wonderfully relaxed…

Suddenly a terrible sound. A loud ringing noise that won’t stop. What is that noise? Is there a fire?! It’s hurting my ears and smashing inside my head. Really loud…

I open my eyes and reality hits…my phone alarm is screaming at me. Its 6.30am and setup starts in one hour! Time to get out of bed, shower and get dressed. I’m already late, tired and where the heck is my event tool box? I can’t leave home without it! The Event Tool Box. The box of tricks and event imperatives that every event manager should have with them. The little “get out of jail free” card.

So what is in this magical box? I suppose it’s a little different for each person, but here is my definitive list of Event Tool Box items:

  • Gaffers tape (a must) – preferably black and white
  • Double sided tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Sticky tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Packing Tape (and voila! The whole Tape Family is here)
  • A roll of thin wire
  • Assorted cable ties
  • Snips (sharp nosed pliers)
  • Scissors
  • Blu Tack – duh!
  • Velcro (both sides – don’t laugh)
  • Super Glue
  • Paperclips
  • Dog clips
  • Pins
  • Safety pins
  • Thumbtacks
  • Stapler and staples
  • Small sewing kit
  • Chalk
  • Pens – black, blue & red
  • Highlighters – yellow & green
  • Permanent marking pen
  • iPhone plug and charger cable
  • Candles, the votive kind
  • Matches
  • Batteries – assorted
  • Hammer – for clubbing someone when you are at the end of your tether (not really)
  • Staple gun & staples (yes staples – don’t laugh here either)
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew – for the guests, not for me
  • Measuring tape
  • Mints (very important)
  • Post It notes
  • Hand sanitising gel
  • Dry hair shampoo
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues
  • Panadol AND Nurofen (or similar)
  • Berocca – a must
  • Small torch
  • USB stick (at least 4Gb)
  • Universal card reader
  • A couple of lanyards
  • Window cleaner (this doubles as a general cleaner)
  • A few pairs of disposable gloves – trust me this will not go wasted

The above list does not include a few other items which are not part of the tool box but equally important and should be on you at every event anyway: first aid kit, camera, and leatherman – a utility knife and not a man in chaps.
The size of the box? On one road show I did, the box was a massive road case that also included drawers and power tools – my idea of heaven. But usually it is a largish (technical term) tool box bought at Bunnings for about $40- $60. The one with a tray on top and then a magical space underneath, that seems to take and then hide everything.
Please note: this is by no means a “complete” list; just my list and I urge anyone to email me with any additional items they believe I have forgotten or should be on there that isn’t.