Insomnia organiser Player1 Events announces new CEO as founder takes on dual role to focus on strategy and reengaging with the community

Player1 Events Logo

Insomnia Gaming Festival organiser Player1 Events (P1E) has announced Neil Gaisford will join as its new CEO on August 15th 2022, just before the latest i69 festival gets underway.

And Insomnia founder Craig Fletcher will become executive chairman. The idea is to give him a dual role, where Craig can spend more time reengaging with a community he’s known since founding the Insomnia festivals and P1E predecessor, Multiplay (which was sold in 2017), and also focus more on corporate development and strategy.

Craig also continues to work closely with Supernova – a private equity firm that bought Insomnia from retailer Game last year, after Game acquired Insomnia and Multiplay for £20m back in early 2015.

Player1 Events’ incoming CEO Neil Gaisford has 20 years of experience at Clarion Events, the last six of which were spent leading the retail technology, furniture, lifestyle and design divisions in the UK and China as managing director.

Neil Gaisford said: “Esports and video gaming present a truly exciting opportunity for the live events space, so when I heard about the opportunity to join Player1 I jumped at the chance.

“What struck me most was the ambition and passion from the Player1 leadership team. Together with Craig’s deep sector knowledge, Supernova’s growing IP – and my experience in building leading events – we are excited about where we can take Insomnia and how we launch to new audiences beyond the UK.”

“Insomnia is the UK’s most influential gaming event, and I’m confident that with this outstanding and experienced team we can continue to expand the event to greater highs and beyond, creating incredible new live gaming experiences and esports tournaments for fans and players everywhere.”

Neil Gaisford, Player1 Events

Craig Fletcher added: “When I joined Supernova, it was to save Insomnia for a community that calls it home. It means so much for those attending to come together, surrounded by like-minded people. Now that we have Player1 and Insomnia back on their feet, it’s time to bring in a big hitter with the experience to drive it to the next level. As exec chair, I’ll be focusing on helping guide the strategy, being an ambassador for the business, and the ‘keeper of the faith’ for the community. I’ll be on the lookout for wider opportunities to bring gamers together and share our passion for play.

“I’m really looking forward to working closely with Neil and, with his tremendous experience, taking the events to new heights and many new locations. With the first event since COVID back in April being a relaunch, i69 is set to really showcase us as being back and firing on all cylinders.”

Insomnia69 will take place at Birmingham’s NEC from August 26th to 29th 2022.

Other i69 announcements

Insomnia LAN 1550x550 1

Alongside Insomnia’s long-standing partnerships with the likes of Overclockers, Sneak Energy and esports org Endpoint, this year the event will be welcoming Intel to the Insomnia Gaming Festival Expo.

i69 also sees the return of the Creator Tavern, after launching at i68. Organisers will also roll out ‘The Battle Royale Zone featuring Fall Guys’, a 60-seater arena for gamers to play full games of Fall Guys all in the same space.

The Cosplay Masquerade and Championship shows are now among the largest cosplay showcases in the UK.

i69 still includes the usual meet and greets, with creators such as Seapeekay, Dangthatsalongname and the chaotic cast of the live D&D show Session Zero.

Insomnia Gaming Festival also of course includes its usual mix of esports tournaments, expo halls and LAN halls for gamers to gather from across the UK.

Further reading: Rocket League returns to Insomnia as organisers announce line-up of i69 BYOC LAN esports tournaments

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