ElectionFest: the weirdest US election CAN be fun!
The American magazine's ElectionFest successfully combined the hard facts of the US presidential election campaign with heartfelt opinions, hilarious comedy and brilliant Americana music.
The audience enjoyed the all-American ambience, met old friends, made new friends, and had a good look at the new US Embassy building, south of the River Thames in the new 'Diplomatic Precinct' of Nine Elms and right next door to the Embassy Gardens Marketing Suite venue.
The evening got under way with a great 'US Electile Dysfunction' comedy slot from Erich McElroy. Rich Hall's hilarious dissection of the US election, American-style eating and the joys of being married to a Brit had several guests in tears of laughter – you know who your are! (Erich is performing in London soon, and Rich is on tour through the Fall, so check out their websites and go see their full sets!)
Two great presentations by David Beirne from the Federal Voting Assistance Program – who also helped guests register and apply for their ballot through the evening – and MORI's polling guru Sir Robert Worcester, were introduced by our co-host, American writer and voice-over actress Alex Kolton.
The election panel debate was expertly moderated by Bloomberg's (and formerly Newsweek's) Stryker McGuire – who thanked the audience for their interesting questions. The panel consisted of Larry Sanders (Sen. Bernie Sandersí brother and a spokesman for the UK Green Party), Bill Barnard (former Chair of Democrats Abroad UK), Jan Halper (Republicans Overseasí Worldwide Vice-Chair), Anthony Ugorji, Co-Chair of American Citizens Abroad, and broadcaster and journalist Charlie Wolf. All contributed interestingly and forcefully. Did they change anyone's mind about how they're going to vote? Only the audience can tell. But they all helped the guests become much better informed about a perplexing election.
The evening was rounded off with two fantastic music acts – Loud Mountains (expat Americana brothers with beautiful sibling harmonies) who were brought by 'Whispering' Bob Harris' Under The Apple Tree festival, and the New York bluesman the Rt. Rev Swifty LeZarre.
Michael Burland, Director of The American magazine who hosted the event, gave special thanks to all the sponsors (listed below – check them out!) who made it all possible, financially and in some cases tastily (Prairie Fire for their BBQ sliders, Krispy Kreme for their Doughnuts and financial firm Sarasin who were our drinks sponsor). Shinola ran a draw for a fabulous watch which was won by Nicholas Woods.
Thanks to everyone who came. Watch this space for The American magazine's next event!