Sunday 15 December, 2019

Ken Sambury seeks to connect people through concept events

Ken Sambury, founder of EEEmpire speaking at the launch of this year's Barbahol

Ken Sambury, founder of EEEmpire speaking at the launch of this year's Barbahol

If you have ever attended an event by EEEmpire you would know that they are big on concepts.

The event’s entity tries to ensure that the hype around promoting their events are matched by the actual activities at the event.

For Ken Sambury, the founder of Empire...Entertainment...Everything..The EEEmpire, it just cannot be the same old party that you get everywhere.

That was his vision 10 years ago when he founded the organisation.

His impetus was really to bring together all the new promoters who were using Facebook to market their events. But not everyone bought into his vision or were interested in innovating, so he took on the task of doing it alone.

“My First event was Grafitti with the hashtag, write your own history. It was based on the concept of writing on your shirts when you leave school. Myself and my friends were teenagers or in our early 20s so it was something we related to. Everyone wore white and there were markers that you could use to write on everyone’s shirt. We collaborated with graffiti artists to do our t-shirts,” he recalled.

Today EEEmpire does seven concept events: Tropical Luau; Luau Blocko, which is the pre-pump for Tropical Luau; Sekon Sunday, Sekon Sta’s concert; EEEmpire Strikes Back pool party, Beach Lime, Beach Festival, which celebrates all things Trinidad and Tobago; and Barbahol.

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Barbahol, which takes place this weekend, is an event that pits barbeque crews from all over the country against each other for bragging rights. It is an event that Sambury sees as growing to one day become one of the Caribbean’s biggest culinary events and there is already talk of a jerk version in Jamaica. EEEMpire has now expanded to that island where they held their first event, a Beach Lime earlier this year.

A self-confessed extrovert, Sambury, who also owns Define Studios, got into events after he looked at the economy and the state of the oil and gas sector

“My mum was an economist, she used to leave books around so I read a lot. I thought if I invested my time and energy into engineering or into being a lawyer or doctor it would not be sustainable and it would not make me wealthy or be enjoyable,” he said.

As a teen, Sambury gained a reputation for his ability to bring people together for a good time.

“I would always bring people together, I would say let’s go to a party or lime. If someone’s parents were going away they would link me and say I want to have a lime and I would organise the crew. I would be cognisant of the activities people would want to get into. I was nerdy but into athletics, I played table tennis, football,” he said.

Sambury, who revealed that his parents, while supportive in words, were not supportive in action, said he gets a lot of energy from people and associates his happiness from being around his friends.

“That is how I learned life skills, from my friends,” he said.

One of the valuable lessons he learned from friends is networking.

“When I started EEEmpire, I became friends with people who are wealthier than me and just by being affiliated with them I met other people I wouldn’t have access to,” he said.

Connecting people, in the same way, is what he aims to do with EEEmpire.

“My aim is to connect people, be it in Trinidad or overseas,” he said.

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