Here’s a gong for the old country

Brit farming awards burn down the house


Machinery
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Machinery correspondent Tom McKenny recounts the best agriculture awards ceremony he's ever been too, and passes on some tips for Australian organisers

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British farmers cranked up the cool with Fiona Bruce hosting a gala annual awards night - with fireworks and rock 'n roll.

British farmers cranked up the cool with Fiona Bruce hosting a gala annual awards night - with fireworks and rock 'n roll.

Award presentation nights.

Sad, boring old affairs at the best of times. Endless speeches, lengthy lists of loved ones to mention. Average plonk. Chicken or beef. Kill me now.

But not any more. The British have found a better way.  

Legions of pommy farmers united recently to deliver the Farmer’s Weekly magazine gongs in a format that detonates the old paradigm.

They’ve put the sex into the sexless.

And like Miranda Kerr in a mumu, it just works.

First you cram more than 1200 black tied, evening gowned farmers into one of London’s swishest hotels (pre-dinner drinks subsidised by EU subsidies - nine quid for a beer. Fourteen for a G&T. Yikes). 

You then crank up the cool by adding host of the popular television series, Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce as MC.

And antiques weren’t on her mind as she followed a troupe of super-exuberant dancers take on the Chicago musical, with her tale of doing the same Chicago musical routine at a function.

All she ended up with was two handfuls of dancer scrotum. Cue the flavour of the night.

Then the awards - and there were plenty. No boring stuff. No sponsor speeches. No life stories.  

The Brits take farming awards to a new level of cool - rock replaces rhetoric as Farmer's Weekly presents a range of awards in a black tie affair that was anything but stuffy.

The Brits take farming awards to a new level of cool - rock replaces rhetoric as Farmer's Weekly presents a range of awards in a black tie affair that was anything but stuffy.

Read out a few nominations and then let rip with fireworks. Literally, fireworks.  

Announce the winner and sparklers erupt from the lucky bugger’s table.

Overlay that with some loud rock. Latest hits; classics cranked up to 11 thanks Nigel.

No, I want louder. Do Marshalls go to 15?

Play known winners like Sweet Caroline. Play Pharell. Watch the crowd erupt. Singalongs, dance on your chair. Scots in kilts smashing it. Then another winner. More music. Louder. Noisier.

And that was the first hour. It got better and better. Louder and louder.

Five minutes after the final gong, the tables are cleared and the real dancing swings in. No crowd enticement needed.

It is insanity to think this could work. But it does.

1200 plus people dressed to the nines, loving it to the max. Mixing it with a couple of Australians. With jaws on the floor.

What exactly happened to the staid old country?

They’ve burned down the house.

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