I remember when I first heard about Valcato way back when, and the first thing I thought to myself was, “What a cool name for a company!” – and now it’s pretty snazzy that I get an email with the name in it too. During my interview, one of my questions for Jay was “Where did the company name come from?” but we got so side-tracked talking about the formal stuff, that I never got to ask. I always knew from starting here that I wanted to do a blog post about the history of Valcato, and so, this week, I finally got the chance to get the answer to my question…
So, Jay, when did Valcato begin?
Valcato as a brand began alllllll the way back in 2002 when I was just 17 and in my final year of college. My first venture was in the online services market; I was busy building various websites at the time and paying a company to host them, I fell in love with the technical nature of the job as well as the customer service side; plus web hosting is paid monthly so the concept of recurring income to a 17 year old student was very appealing! Fast forward to today and ‘Valcato Hosting’, as its now known, has got locations in Milton Keynes, Dallas Texas, Chicago Illinois and Los Angeles California. Not bad for what was originally a student side-hustle!
It was in 2012 that I was leaving a management career in the holiday resort entertainment business and decided to launch two new brands; Valcato Media, a live event video and TV production business, and Valcato Live, an entertainment production business which was a joint venture with my wife Vicky. In 2017 we merged Valcato Media and Valcato Live to create Valcato Entertainment, a one-stop-shop for all things entertainment; from artist management and development to bespoke production consultancy and AV support in the form of live video, visuals, showreels and streaming.
Where did the name ‘Valcato’ come from?
Nowhere! Strangely enough, I was napping in the car (I wasn’t driving!) on my way back from an open day at the University of York; I was interested in their Film, Theatre and Television degree. I was acutely aware at the time that I needed to dream up a unique brand name and so often ran all sorts of words though my head when I had some downtime. ‘Valcato’ actually popped into my head as something I’d heard before somewhere – “what is this word, I’ve definitely seen it” was my initial thought. There were no smartphones those days so I waited until I got home and tapped it into Google. Zero results! Turns out it was a completely made up word.
I have since done some more thorough research as part of our trademark application and I discovered that the closest match is a word in Italian which is the past participle of ‘Valcare’ which is itself an alternative form of ‘Valicare’ which means ‘To Cross, To Overcome, To Surmount’ which, given our 20 year history, I feel is quite apt.
What are some of the biggest achievements Valcato have had?
Over the past 20 years, Valcato Hosting has won scores of accolades from industry experts, we also host websites for customers on every single continent, which I believe is a huge achievement.
Valcato Entertainment is also a multiple award-winning brand in itself; we were absolutely speechless when we were awarded ‘Tribute Agent of the Year’ at the National Tribute Awards, and we were there in person with our wonderful team to accept the award on stage. We’re also equally as proud of our title as Event Production Specialists of the Year in the 2019 Global Excellence Awards.
Awards and trophies are all well and good, but our real achievement lies in the feedback we receive from our clients; there’s no bigger reward for a job well done than hearing the praise that clients have for our dedicated team, our cast and our productions.
Our growth as a business since 2012 has been exponential; we’ve introduced new productions and services each and every season and we’re on track this year to pass a significant milestone; over £1million in bookings since launching. Think about that – it means that in the years we’ve been running, our clients, venues and partners have trusted us to provide spectacular entertainment, AV services and consultancy and have collectively spent £1million, allowing all of the team here to continue working in a job they love. That makes me immensely proud.
When did each act start?
Our first act ‘Little Chix’ was the very first Little Mix tribute on the market and launched all the way back in 2012! Little Mix had barely finished their X Factor appearance when we ran our first auditions in London; we battled with a lot of industry veterans and venue bookers who looked fairly bemused when we ran our initial launch campaign – “What’s a Little Mix?” and “Is it something to do with cement?” were a couple of responses!
Our second show was a pop duo named ‘Capital Blondes’ – it had a great song choice but was also thoroughly entertaining to watch. A lot of people thought we’d scripted bits of the comedy but in reality it was Vicky leading the show and she can be particularly clumsy at times which led to some hilarious moments.
In 2016 we launched one of our most popular production shows; Spice Forever. Me and Vicky are both huge Spice Girls fans so this was a no-brainer. There had been Spice Girls shows before Spice Forever though, and we wanted to get it right – we watched hours of footage, loads of live performances, we watched ‘Spice World: The Movie’ about 6 times and even researched where they had originally recorded their tracks, who made their costumes… all of this went into the show; some of our custom backing tracks were produced using the exact sound profile of Abbey Road studios. That’s the Valcato difference right there.
As we enter our 10th year, we’re in the privileged position to now be able to launch several new shows every season; which certainly keeps our growing Creative team busy. Not just in-house productions either; every season we produce shows, productions and events for a range of clients across the country. No two days around here are the same, that’s for sure!
What are some of the best events Valcato have performed at?
Oh there are so many – we’re so lucky to have been able to work at some iconic venues and events around the UK; our production shows have graced the stage in venues such as the Camden Roundhouse and London’s Electric Ballroom. We’ve performed at events such as The Big Tribute Festival to over 10,000 people, and have also performed around the world at events such as Tribfest in Bahrain and the Heyday Festival in Romania. Our Spice Forever cast have even performed onboard the Marella Explorer as part of their Electric Sunsets 90s cruise.
It’s not just our performers that get all of the fun though; our spectacular video production team have worked at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom and the legendary Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, in addition to various projects destined for TV such as music videos for Clubland TV and a brief stint providing graphics for World Wrestling Entertainment on their NXT UK brand.
Anything else you think may be interesting to note?
We’re incredibly proud of the creative team we’ve assembled here at Valcato Entertainment. Their dedication, passion for the job and can-do attitude is, I feel, unrivalled in the industry. My favourite type of enquiry from a client always begins with “I’m not sure if you can do this, but…” – because guess what? We’ll make it happen – it’s what we do best!
And there you have it folks, a bit of history into our lovely company. 10 years down the line for Valcato Entertainment, we’re bigger and better than ever and we can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store for us!
Ciao for now, Otti x