Jakobsen sets out bold line-up for BDCI dinner

A fresh take on the traditional BDCI dinner is already paying dividends, with table sales booming, according to this year's festival chairman Carsten Jakobsen, chairman of Tulip.

"We've had a fantastic response so far," he said. "We really have a chance of selling out all the tickets, which would be great news for the charity."

Selling out will mean filling the Great Ballroom at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane on 15 October with 1,200 people, which would be no mean feat. "In the past, the numbers have fluctuated between 800 and 1,000 people," said Jakobsen, who hopes his revitalised event will prove a popular draw across the meat industry.

This year's festival chair has certainly pulled out the stops, lining up some stellar entertainment for the evening, with Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans playing the role of host, while Jools Holland and his band will be providing the soundtrack, in conjunction with singers including Alison Moyet, and guest vocalists Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall. Jakobsen said the event was due a facelift: "We wanted to change a little bit of it, because sometimes you need to bring something new in, otherwise it can all go stale."

However, he said he is keen that the traditions of the charity and the dinner are not forgotten. "It's a combination of the traditional, and then bringing something new to add to it it's a good cocktail."

The evening should be all about entertainment, he added, as good entertainment is what will draw in the crowds, and the more people that attend, the more money will be raised for the charity. And he said some light relief would be a welcome break from day-to-day trading. "I still think industry is in for difficult time, but at least that night, we have the chance to put a smile on people's faces, before going back to the grim world the next day."

Other changes to the format will see a reduction in the number of lots in the traditional dinner auction, which will be conducted by Chris Evans, and the introduction of a silent auction to boost the charity's coffers.

Having Jakobsen as festival chair marks two terms in the top role for his company Tulip, with the company's vice-chairman Graham Roach in the role two years before. Jakobsen said that gives him a big advantage: "I'm lucky that the team who supported Graham are still in the company they have the knowledge about how to go about it. They're a fantastic support, and do a lot of hard work."

Book your place on 01727 896094.

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